Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


Marithelma Costa

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature


Modernismo, Poetry, Puerto Rico


The end of the nineteenth century witnessed an esthetic renewal in Latin American literature. The movement later dubbed modernismo would usher in a profound shift in the ars poetica of Spanish prose and poetry. Yet this revolution did not spread like fire; it coexisted with, and unevenly replaced, earlier artistic notions. José de Jesús Domínguez, a poet and medical doctor who spent most of his life in the city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, was one of the earliest exponents of this trend. His evolution from his beginnings as a romantic poet, his encounter with the French Parnassians, and his early adoption of the elements of what would become the modernismo, followed by the coexistence of multiple styles in his later work, inspire particular critical interest.

Most of the poetry of José de Jesús Domínguez has been out of print since its original publication. This dissertation aims to correct this gap, as it brings together, for the first time, the most complete collection of the poetry of Domínguez. It includes his best known volumes: Poesías (1879), Odas elegíacas (1883), Las huríes blancas (1886), and Ecos del siglo (1892). It also contains lesser-known poems such as "Canto a la autonomía colonial" (1898) and those included in Poetas puerto-riqueños (1879). Furthermore, it incorporates two previously unknown poems: "Un busto" (1885) and "Descubrimiento de América" (1892). All texts have been annotated in order to clarify vocabulary, allusions and symbols that are no longer commonly used. Obsolete spelling and punctuation have been modernized.

Additionally, this dissertation offers an expanded biography of Domínguez, a critical analysis of his work, and a thorough investigation of the esthetic trends in literature, painting and architecture of Puerto Rico at the turn of the twentieth century. The reader will also find an annotated bibliography that documents Domínguez's literary production, a chronology of relevant historical events during the poet's life and a glossary of nineteenth century floral and chromatic symbology.