Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



In this dissertation I study the poetry of the Tzántzicos, an Ecuadorian cultural movement that in the 1960s intended to subvert the social order and assert the role of literature in the destabilization of the capitalist society. I analyze the poetry of Ulises Estrella, Raúl Arias, and Humberto Vinueza as a biography of a generation of leftist intellectuals engaged with the Revolution, and as a meaningful moment in the history of Ecuadorian modernity. I identify two moments in the continuum of this poetry across the decades from the 1960s to the present: enthusiasm and disenchantment. The moment of enthusiasm registers an unwavering faith in the revolutionary utopia. Through politically engaged poetry, the Tzántzicos express their enthusiasm for the creation of a non-capitalistic modernity in the model of the Cuban Revolution. The moment of disenchantment is codified by a poetry that does not prioritize propaganda and political content, evidencing the poets recognition that revolutionary utopia is out of reach. It is the time when the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism seems to erase the Revolution from the horizon of politics. My research incorporates Octavio Paz's theory of analogy and irony to elucidate the transition from enthusiasm to disenchantment in the poetry of the Tzántzicos as a historically specific instance of modernity in Latin American letters. By examining the Tzántzicos' iconoclastic attitude and its shifts, I demonstrate that this generation of poets modernized Ecuadorian poetry as well as the figure of the politically engaged or public intellectual.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Rebolledo, Tey Diana

Second Committee Member

Rivera, Susana

Third Committee Member

Ramos, Julio




Poetry, Irony, Modernity, Latinamerican Revolution, Ecuador, Tzaíntzicos

Document Type