José Martí Criticism - Essay

Isaac Goldberg (essay date 1920)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The 'Modernista' Renovation," in Studies in Spanish-American Literature, Brentano's Publishers, 1920, pp. 1-100.

[In the excerpt that follows, Goldberg finds a tight bond between the literary and the political in both Martí's style and his views on aesthetics.]

The resemblances among the more noted exponents of modernism are many; there is the note of growing cosmopolitanism, the morbid tendency, the pale cast of thought, the resurgence of self. From among these figures, however, that of Martí, "the gallant paladin of Cuban freedom," stands out as an exception. True, Martí shared, and even contributed early vigor to, the dominant characteristics of...

(The entire section is 1480 words.)

William Rex Crawford (essay date 1944)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Cubans and Hostos," in A Century of Latin-American Thought, Harvard University Press, 1944, pp. 218-46.

[In the following essay, Crawford reviews Martí's life and thought and the different meanings he has held for different audiences. Ultimately, Crawford describes Martí as "a mystic, but a practical one; a Utopian but at the same time a realist."]

It is significant that even in the Homenaje to Varona about half of the pages are devoted to the man who in a spirit that was all flame and a life that was given single-heartedly to Cuba and to freedom summed up the most generous aspirations of his people. In spite of the forty-two volumes of his...

(The entire section is 2961 words.)

Manuel Pedro González (essay date 1953)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Man of Culture and Ideals," "A Plutarchian Portrayer," and "Interpreter of the Social Panorama," in José Martí: Epic Chronicler of the United States in the Eighties, The University of North Carolina Press, 1953, pp. 14-17, 31-45, 46-55.

[Martí's primary Cuban biographer, González tackles various aspects of Martí's character and work in the three chapters that follow. In the first, González offers his overview of "the multiplicity of mental and spiritual powers in Martí." The second catalogues Martí's essays on "great men" of North Americaa series that brought these figures before many Latin American readers for the first time. The last treats Martí's views on...

(The entire section is 10049 words.)

Roberta Day Corbitt (essay date 1955)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "José Martí's Views on the United States," in Kentucky Foreign Language Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 4, 1955, pp. 152-59.

[In the following essay, Corbitt examines Martí's mixed feelings about the United States; despite his admiration for U.S. democracy, Corbitt argues, Martí was deeply distressed by its preoccupation with wealth and material gain.]

We of the United States have had at our disposal for more than half a century a candid interpretation of ourselves by a Latin American, but because it was not published in English we have failed to utilize it. The celebration in 1953 of the centenary of the birth of José Martí gave momentum to the study of his...

(The entire section is 3075 words.)

Richard Butler Gray (essay date 1962)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Moral and Social Ideas," in José Martí, Cuban Patriot, University of Florida Press, 1962, pp. 35-58.

[In 1962 Gray's book constituted the first significant biography of Martí written in English. In the chapter reprinted below, Gray presents his broad view of Martí and addresses the debate over Martí's status as a philosopher and moralist.]

The ideas of José Martí are disorganized and contradictory. The task of running down and bringing order to this mass of data is beyond the scope of this study.1 At most, perhaps, one is limited to a judicious selection of Martian thoughts which can be considered most representative of Martí, with the...

(The entire section is 9948 words.)

Jaime Suchlicki (essay date 1966)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Political Ideology of José Martí," in Caribbean Studies, Vol. VI, No. 1, April, 1966, pp. 25-36.

[In the following essay, Suchlicki describes Martí's place in Cuban history, discussing the primary influences on his thought as well as his influence on Cuban independence. Suchlicki concludes that Martí's "dedication to the cause of Cuban independence, his love and faith in humanity, and his honest and sincere life, rank him very high among the founders of America."]

From the ideological and organizational points of view, the Cuban War of Independence represented Martí's revolution. His ideas formed the foundation on which the revolution rested, and his...

(The entire section is 5885 words.)

Philip S. Foner (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An Introduction to Major Poems, by José Martí, edited by Philip S. Foner, translated by Elinor Randall, Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1982, pp. 1-21.

[The editor of most English-language editions of Martí's work, Foner has written many essays on Martí's life and writings. In the essay that follows, Foner focuses on Martí's career as a poet, declaring that his "verses announce the birth of a new era in Latin American poetry."]

José Julián Martí y Pérez, "The Apostle" of Cuba, was born on January 28, 1853, in a humble two-story house on Paula Street in Havana. His father, Mariano Martí y Navarro, the son of a poor ropemaker in Valencia, Spain,...

(The entire section is 8407 words.)

Philip S. Foner (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An Introduction to On Art And Literature by José Martí: Critical Writings, edited by Philip S. Foner, translated by Elinor Randall, Monthly Review Press, 1982, pp. 13-33.

[In the following introduction to an anthology of Martí's essays on art and literature, Foner demonstrates Martí's appreciation for groundbreaking art and his belief that American artespecially Latin American artshould have a social and political function.]

In April 1880, José Martí wrote to his friend Miguel Viandi in Havana: "If you could see me struggling to dominate this beautiful but rebellious English: Three or four months more and I shall open a way for...

(The entire section is 7422 words.)

John M. Kirk (essay date 1983)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Political System," and "Moral Foundation," in José Martí: Mentor of the Cuban Nation, University Presses of Florida, 1983, pp. 65-85, 86-105.

[In the following essays, Kirk examines two prominent aspects of Martí's thought: the first essay details the republic that Martí envisioned for the Cuban political system; the second describes the new Cuban citizen that Martí believed independence would create.]

Having outlined the origins of Martí's political career and the principal influences on the development of his thought, the type of society that José Martí aspired to introduce into an independent Cuba can be examined in greater detail. Any attempt to...

(The entire section is 17054 words.)

Donald E. Rice (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Definition and Unification of a Revolutionary Movement," in The Rhetorical Uses of the Authorizing Figure: Fidel Castro and José Martí, Praeger Publishers, 1992, pp. 35-73.

[In the following excerpt, Rice looks at Martí as a historical figure in general and as the specific historical figure Fidel Castro drew on to lend authority to his revolutionary goals.]

Most critics agree that movements have beginnings. Most do not agree that they know what a beginning is. They frequently disagree about whether or not there are discernible demarcations of beginnings or stages that may be isolated and analyzed. Yet, somehow, it seems that movements are initiated. We...

(The entire section is 13024 words.)

Agnes I. Lugo-Ortiz (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'En un rincón de la Florida': Exile and Nationality in José Martí's Biographical Chronicles in Patria," in José Martí in the United States: The Florida Experience, edited by Louis A. Pérez, Jr., Arizona State University Center for Latin American Studies, 1995, pp. 9-21.

[In the following essay, Lugo-Ortiz argues that Martí's biographical chronicles in the newspaper Patria presented ideals of citizenship and heroic behavior for Cuban readers to emulate.]

There is an anecdote about the 1895 Cuban war of independence that narrates how, after winning one of the battles, Antonio Maceo's troops seized a printing press from the Spanish army. At the...

(The entire section is 6479 words.)

C. Neale Ronning (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "José Martí, Cuban Independence and the North American Economic, Political and Social Agenda," in José Martí in the United States: The Florida Experience, edited by Louis A. Pérez, Jr., Arizona State University Center for Latin American Studies, 1995, pp. 43-55.

[In the essay that follows, Ronning focuses on Martí's response to the Cuban community located in Florida's Key West. Ronning asserts that in Key West Martí found "proof . . . that Cubans could govern themselves freely."]

Two topics figures prominently in the public and private writing as well as in the speeches of José Martí after his first visit to Key West and the formation of the Cuban...

(The entire section is 5997 words.)