On the way to 'duende' (through Lorca's 'Elogio de Antonia Merce, 'la Argentina', 1930)

Roberta Quance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes how Lorca develops the concept of ‘duende’, finding a crucial missing link in the Elogio de Antonia Mercé, ‘la Argentina’ (1930). ‘Duende’ crystallizes around 1929/1930 when the poet explicitly takes into account the art of the dancer in performance. Three aspects of performance are singled out and systematically traced through Lorca's evolving reflections on popular art and the struggle of the modern artist to create the new – from his first lecture on the cante jondo in 1922 to the Arquitectura del cante jondo (1930) and finally Juego y teoría del duende (1933). The conclusion is drawn that it is in the performance and reception of a text – whether it is heard or read – that the artist's agonistic stand between tradition and modernity, repetition and singularity, is played out, in an invitation to the listener or reader to celebrate his or her mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Iberian and Latin American Studies
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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