The notion of duende has its source in Hispanic popular culture (first in the ancient traditions of domestic superstition), as a local and particular equivalent of the mythical figure of the goblin. More recently and more precisely, the duende today belongs, in a different sense but derived from this first meaning, to the universe of the flamenco cante and then the bullfighting that borrowed it from him.
The duende is one of those words whose signified and symbolic are so rich or particular in their original language, and whose literary dimension is so overdetermined, that they do not meet any satisfactory equivalent in other languages; they are therefore classified as "untranslatables" and are generally imported as is in other languages, according to the method of linguistic borrowing, a perennial version of lexical borrowing. This is the case for duende, at least in the French and English languages. We can only try to approach and explore the many layers of meaning. But to simplify (to excess), we can nevertheless say that today the duende is used to describe those moments of grace where the flamenco artist, or the bullfighter, take all the risks to transcend the limits of their art, overdrive their creativity at the meeting of a mysterious superior dimension, and thus reach a level of expression really unheard, which proceeds from a sort of trance of enchantment and causes the same enchantment in the viewer.
Federico García Lorca, the great Spanish martyr poet of the first half of the XX century, has invested a lot of this concept as he expresses particularly well according to him the "genius" of the Andalusian people and the Spanish soul.
The term comes from the Latin dominus ("master", "lord", etymology found in the French "dominate"), then 'dómnus', syncopated form of dominus>, and finally duen, which will give in Spanish the word dueño , " master ". With the same etymology, dominus, we also find in Spanish the honorific title of the nobility or certain monastic orders, the words don and doña ("dom" in French), for example don Juan (in French dom Juan) , Don Quixote, Doña Esperanza, Dom Perignon (see article Don). We can also note that "the Latin verb domare (1. taming, taming, taming ...) 2. conquering, reducing, subjugating") also derives from domus> ", therefore in the same lexical family as dominus, and the meanings derived from this verb will be implicit but very present, as we shall see, in the wide range of the metaphorical field opened by the notion of duende.