Creoleism . Literary movement. The treatment of vernacular themes and motifs related to the peasantry is called in Cuban literature . It manifests itself primarily in the lyric and in the narrative .


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  • 1 Definition
  • 2 Emergence
    • 1 Main characteristics of Criollismo
  • 3 Criollismo in Latin America
  • 4 Expression and customs in Criollismo
  • 5 Literary work: Mirror of Patience
  • 6 Writers who cultivated the literary movement in Cuba
  • 7 Related link
  • 8 Sources


According to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines Creole as:

  • Characteristic of what is Creole: it still retains some trait of Creoleism
  • Set of customs and traditions of the Creoles: their songs always spoke of criollismo
  • Literary movement that emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Latin America, characterized by realism in the description of the life of the gauchos, Indians and blacks. Influenced by the recent independence of the nations of America under Spanish rule.


The “criollismo” is a literary trend that was born in the last decade of the nineteenth century ( 1890 ) and extends until 1929 . Strongly influenced by the relatively recent independence of the nations of America under Spanish rule. This movement seeks to incorporate the world and the feeling of the vernacular through prose and “elevate it to an artistic category.” Local speech will be incorporated into the narrative artwork . Two types of languages ​​coexist: the “cultured or refined” and the “popular”.

The first manifestations of literary criollismo in Cuba occurred in parallel with the emergence of romanticism . It was reflected in an investigation and interpretation of the incipient nationality, in an approach of “Cubanness” on the part of the artists.

The most important prints of “criollismo” were Luis Manuel Urbaneja Achelpohl, Alejo Carpentier , Mario Vargas Llosa , Vicente Leñero, Mariano Latorre, others marked history in literature but did not have as much impact as these. The authors say that the issue of “criollismo” stops at the local level, they go in search of the Vernacular, since “it aspires to deal with Venezuelan matters.”

Main characteristics of Criollismo

1.- The autochthonous predominates

2.- Use dialect idioms, delve into the legends of the town .

3.- It arises as an opposition to modernist exoticism, with its uprooted characters, who thought with the mentality of foreigners.

4.-As a legacy of romanticism, it is close to the local color.

5.-The linguistic aspects of criollismo lie in the deep and spontaneous assimilation of the indigenous language .

6.- His works are not going to be satisfied with the sole artistic purpose but rather aspire to be “sociological documents” of the moment that the country is experiencing.

Criollismo in Latin America

During the “colonial period” a term began to be coined that referred to the children of Spaniards born on American soil . This term began to gain relevance during the era of emancipation, as it was used by the insurgents to differentiate themselves from the troops loyal to the king. However, at present, this term is usually associated with the Chilean identity as a whole, especially with the peasant traditions of the central zone of the country.

The «literary criollismo» was a movement that was born with the purpose of portraying the popular customs, with the types and in the language of the lower town, especially the “peasant”. It motivated the development of ” regionalist literature “, which reflected the political, human, economic and social reality of a given space and thus created an “original literature” based on the natural elements of the continent.

Among its exponents are writers of different tendencies: The Venezuelan Rómulo Gallegos who wrote the novel of the plains ” Doña Bárbara ” ( 1929 ); the Colombian José Eustaquio Rivera, with his jungle novel “La vorágine” ( 1924 ); the gaucho novel “Don Segundo Sombra” ( 1926 ) written by Ricardo Güiraldes. It is even possible to include Mariano Azuela with his novel of the Mexican revolution “Los debajo ( 1915 ).

Expression and customs in Criollismo


Literary Creole

Speaking of “criollismo” it is known that its characters are located in a certain region, with their customs , beliefs, jobs and ways of life . This is their primary location.

It was characterized by epic and foundational works, fighting against the ravages of nature or against some hierarchical system. He tried to capture reality and establish thesis about society .

Literarily, this gradual establishment of the Cuban personality had already manifested itself in the choice of spinel by the peasant as his own form of expression. From the first Creole endeavors, it is glimpsed that the form called to impose itself for the expression of the Creole theme was the decimista , represented by Poveda.

In Cuba, criollismo is closely linked to another movement: siboneyismo . To which practically the same poets subscribe.

Literary work: Mirror of Patience

During the eighteenth century in literature there are traits of identification with nature:

Silvestre de Balboa “Espejo de patciencia”: It is an epic-historical poem , from the Renaissance , written in 1608 , based on a real event that occurred in 1604 where the word «Creole» is used for the first time, to designate the native of the Island , there is a strong religious and cultural syncretism : African, aboriginal rites (fruits are offered to the Bishop by western deities. It expresses the weakness of the Indian and the physical strength of the black.

Writers who cultivated the literary movement in Cuba

  • José Jacinto Milanés . He was born in Matanzas , on August 16 , 1814 . He died on November 14 , 1863 . He studied the first letters in a school in his city, where he revealed his poetic vocation at an early age. Several important publications in Havana and Matanzas collected his poems that were originally written under the aegis of “Criollismo” but later leaned towards “Romanticism.” Verses that are characterized by their sweetness and simplicity.
  • Francisco Poveda Armenteros : Francisco Pobeda, was born in Havana in 1796 . He died in Sagua la Grande in 1881 . He was a sabanero, cattle laborer, dramatic actor , party captain, primary school teacher, employee of sugar mills and coffee plantations. In 1830 , as an actor in Havana, he published his collection of poems “La garland habanera”. He called himself “The Cuban Troubadour” and proclaimed his priority as a singer of “Criollismo”. It was one of the best oral, not anonymous, antecedents of “literary criollismo.”
  • Juan Cristóbal Napoles Fajardo (Cucalambé): El Cucalambé nurtured his literary work with roots of vigor in popular tenths, letrillas, fables , sonnets and epistles. For more than four decades, the “Jornada Cucalambeana” has been held in Las Tunas , the small homeland of Juan Cristóbal Napoles Fajardo. In the book “Nuevo Catauro de Cubanismos”, its author, Fernando Ortiz , considers that the word “cucalambé” refers to a certain black dance. That is, he attributes African origin to the noun.
  • Luis Felipe Rodríguez : Born in Manzanillo the 30 of July of 1884 , his birth name was Luis Francisco Ignacio, which later changed to Luis Felipe. His work overflows the Creole idiosyncrasy and is a genuine reflection of Cubanness in the first decades of the 20th century . He also wrote for the scene “The Comedy of Marriage” and “Turbonada.” In 1930 he won the first prize for Cuban short stories in the contest sponsored by the Havana Magazine with the work “La guardaraya”. Other of his works “Ciénaga”, obtained the award for the best novel in 1937.


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