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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cathy L. Jrade, a Vanderbilt University professor
and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has been awarded
a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to write a book on
Delmira Agustini, the first major female poet of twentieth-century
The award, which was announced on Feb. 9, carries a stipend of $40,000.
NEH fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that
contributes to scholarly knowledge or the general public’s
understanding of the humanities.
Agustini (1886-1914) was born in Uruguay and is one of the youngest
poets belonging to the literary movement known as modernismo, the first
Spanish-language movement to originate in the Western Hemisphere.
Agustini began her career quite young and immediately garnered favor
among contemporaries. In her personal life, she cultivated a reserved
if not childish image, which coincided with expectations for middle-
and upper-class women of the time. In contrast, her writing grew
increasingly erotic and defiantly sexual. Her death at age 27 at the
hands of her ex-husband, whom she had taken as her lover, contribute to
the mystery and myth that surround her.
“My book will show that more than simply coming to affirm in her poetry
her sexual nature and rejecting the limitations placed upon her by
traditional views of women, Agustini chooses a sexual model to combat
the sense of weakness and ineffectuality suggested by artistic
imitation,” Jrade said. “By reading Agustini’s erotic verse as a
poetics of a new female self, my study will reveal previously unnoticed
statements about art, love and creation and will reach conclusions
applicable to many other female poets.”
Professor Jrade earned a doctorate degree from Brown University in 1974
and came to Vanderbilt in 1987 from Indiana University. Her research
centers on Spanish American poetry, and her books include Rubén Darío
and the Romantic Search for Unity and Modernismo, Modernity and the
Development of Spanish American Literature.
Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS