Ateneo de la Juventud

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Ateneo de la Juventud (Spanish: "Atheneum of Youth") was an association of intellectuals, primarily writers and philosophers, in the years surrounding the Mexican centennial of 1910. The majority of the members were indeed young and came to represent a new generation of Mexican scholars, reacting specifically against positivism and its prevalence in the ideology of the regime of Dictator Porfirio Diaz.[1] The group sought a revindication of the humanities as the center of cultural creation.

The "Ateneo"[edit]

The Ateneo officially convened on the 28 of October, 1909.[2] However, its origins are found in the Revista Savia Moderna (New Modern Journal), originally published in 1906 by Alfonso Cravioto and Luís Castillo Ledón.[3] The second major antecedent to the Ateneo was the Sociedad de Conferencias[4] (Society of Conferences), an inchoate form of the Ateneo de la Juventud who took as its goal to display to the public new ideas of education, poetry, the plastic arts, and philosophy. Finally, in the summer of 1909, Antonio Caso organized a series of conferences[5] dealing with the history of Positivism, given at the National Preparatory School, an institution founded on positivist principles and source of Mexican educational since its creation in 1868.[6]

As stated in the official statutes of the club when, in 1912, it took the name Ateneo de México, the principal goal of the association was to promote intellectual and artistic culture.[7] The same document outlines the strategies proposed in this effort. The members held public meetings, discussions, and lectures, and published a journal. The fundamental ideology of the Ateneo was a rejection of positivistic influences on education and culture. Instead, the members of the Ateneo thought, the humanities would be responsible for the revitalization of Mexican culture, the group's ultimate concern. Members of the Ateneo such as Alfonso Reyes stressed the importance of classical scholarship and additionally looked to the works of modern continental philosophers such as Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Bergson, as well as Spanish writers such as Jose Ortega y Gasset, to propound new values for human societies which were contrary to scientific and positivistic trends in thought.[8]

Noteworthy members[9][edit]


  1. ^ Earle, 835.
  2. ^ Pedraza, 25.
  3. ^ Pedraza, 21
  4. ^ Pedraza, 23
  5. ^ Pedraza, 22.
  6. ^ Pedraza, 4.
  7. ^ Pedraza, 26.
  8. ^ Pedraza, 33.
  9. ^ See Pedraza and Curiel
  10. ^ Ramos, xiv


  • Biriotti, Maurice. "Alfonso Reyes." Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature. Ed. Verity Smith. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  • Conn, Robert T. The Politics of Philology: Alfonso Reyes and the Invention of the Latin American Literary Tradition. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corp. 2002.
  • Curiel Defosse, Fernando. Ateneo de la juventud (A-Z). Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, 2001.
  • Earle, Peter G. "José Vasconcelos." Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature. Ed. Verity Smith. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  • Martí, Oscar R. "Mexican Philosophy in the 19080's: Possibilities and Limits." Philosophy and Literature in Latin America. Ed. Jorge J. E. Gracia and Mireya Camurati. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.
  • Pedraza, Jorge. Alfonso Reyes en la generación del ateneo de la juventud. Monterrey: Ayuntamiento, 1985.
  • Ramos, Samuel. Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico. New York: McGraw-Hill Paperbacks. 1962.

External links[edit]