JosÚ MartÝ: Selected Writings

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Penguin, 2002 - Literary Collections - 462 pages
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JosÚ MartÝ (1853-1895) is the most renowned political and literary figure in the history of Cuba. A poet, essayist, orator, statesman, abolitionist, and the martyred revolutionary leader of Cuba's fight for independence from Spain, MartÝ lived in exile in New York for most of his adult life, earning his living as a foreign correspondent. Throughout the 1880s and early 1890s, MartÝ's were the eyes through which much of Latin America saw the United States. His impassioned, kaleidoscopic evocations of that period in U.S. history, the assassination of James Garfield, the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, the execution of the Chicago anarchists, the lynching of the Italians in New Orleans, and much more, bring it rushing back to life.

Organized chronologically, this collection begins with his early writings, including a thundering account of his political imprisonment in Cuba at age sixteen. The middle section focuses on his journalism, which offers an image of the United States in the nineteenth century, its way of life and system of government, that rivals anything written by de Tocqueville, Dickens, Trollope, or any other European commentator. Including generous selections of his poetry and private notebooks, the book concludes with his astonishing, hallucinatory final masterpiece, "War Diaries", never before translated into English.
 

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Contents

IV
1
V
3
VI
7
VII
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VIII
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IX
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X
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XII
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LIII
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LIV
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XC
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About the author (2002)

Marti is a symbol of Cuban independence, for he campaigned throughout his life for its liberation and finally died in the war against Spain. He was also an important literary figure and one of the founders of modernism. Rejecting the elaborate aestheticism of many modernists, he wrote in a simpler style based largely on folk poetry, as in "Ismaelillo" and "Versos Sencillos." Much of his poetry deals with the struggle for freedom and his political and emotional exile from his homeland. He was also an accomplished prose stylist in a much more intricate fashion and influenced the later development of the short story and essay. His writings, now collected, many of which were originally published in newspapers, are essential for an understanding of the Spanish American independence process.

Esther Allen has translated Javier Marias, Jorge Luis Borges, Felisberto Hernandez, Flaubert, Rosario Castellanos, Blaise Cendrars, Marie Darrieussecq, and Jose Marti. She is currently a professor at Baruch College (CUNY) and has directed the work of the PEN Translation Fund since its founding in 2003. Allen has received a Fulbright Grant (1989), a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship (1995), and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (2006).

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