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Encyclopedia: Generation of '98

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Columbia University Press
Generation of '98
Spanish literary and cultural movement in the first two decades of the 20th cent. It was so named by Azorín (see Martínez Ruiz, José) in 1913 to designate a group of young writers who, in the face of defeat (1898) in the Spanish-American War, proclaimed a moral and cultural rebirth for Spain. Azorín's original list included Valle Inclán, Unamuno, Benavente y Martínez, Baroja y Nessi, Ramiro de Maeztu, Darío, and Azorín himself. It has since been emended to include Ganivet and Antonio Machado, as well as Ortega y Gasset, Pérez de Ayala, and Marañón. Darío is more often considered as the founder of modernismo. The group was concerned with defining the essential quality of Spain, studying its history and culture. In the austere life of Castile many of them discovered the key to the essence of Hispanicism. While they attacked aestheticism and the current adulation of the Austrian satiric poet Karl Kraus, they also represented cosmopolitan trends, including political liberalism. They greatly influenced the work of later Spanish writers.