This article examines the poem “Autumnal,” by the influential Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío, within the literary and iconographic tradition of melancholy. “Autumnal” was one of a four-part series of poems devoted to each of the seasons and appeared in the first edition of Darío’s landmark book, Azul… (1888). The essay begins by identifying the melancholy subtext in the poem through comparison with a broad array of poems and visual artwork. John Milton’s “Il penseroso” proves especially significant in revealing the conclusion of the poem, in which the lyric voice experiences a blissful vision, to be a depiction of inspired melancholy. The article argues that the climatic appearance of Beatrice in the Garden of Eden as described in Dante’s Purgatorio provided the model for Darío’s portrayal of the final ecstatic vision in “Autumnal.” Moreover, it is the symbolism of the veil, which figures prominently in the Purgatorio and “Autumnal,” that allows Darío to interweave the philosophy of Schopenhauer into the discourse of melancholy. The conclusion is thus read as a symbolic portrayal of the piercing of the veil of illusion to disclose a glimpse of the thing-in-itself, while Darío becomes a creative genius of the sort described by Schopenhauer.
McCloskey, Jason. "Schopenhauer in Dante's Garden of Eden: Melancholy and Rubén Darío's "Autumnal"." (2021) : 463-488.