José Martí and U.S. Writers

Anne Fountain

Foreword by Roberto Fernández Retamar
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"Anne Fountain has produced a sensitive analysis of North American culture at one of its richest moments--and all seen through the eyes of a 19th Century Cuban writer-revolutionary. Insightful, clearly expressed, and well-translated. In so doing she has introduced Marti to a fresh generation of US readers, while also reminding us of the extraordinary quality of U.S. literature of the late 19th century."--John M. Kirk, Dalhousie University

"Marti's observations about the United States became the conduit for the way the rest of Latin America would come to understand this country. . . . [Fountain's] book reveals the great tensions in Marti's life that made him so sensitive, observant, and committed. It creates a vividly humanistic vision of Marti and his contact with North American life, culture, and literature."--Dick Gerdes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Cuba's patriot and most famous writer, Jose Marti, lived in the United States for 15 years and wrote extensively about 19th-century American writers. This meticulous guide to Marti's multiple connections with U.S. literature provides for the first time in English a comprehensive analysis of his critiques of 40 American authors and his translations of American prose and poetry.

Fountain presents an overview of his writing about American authors--from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James to John Burroughs--and documents in Marti's writing previously unidentified translations from American authors. Separate chapters cover Emerson, Whitman, and Longfellow; other authors are grouped under Romanticism and Realism. Drawing on the 28 volumes of Marti's Complete Works, Fountain offers an extensive discussion of the Cuban writer's aesthetic precepts and preferences and demonstrates that his fascination with American authors is central to understanding his views of U.S. culture.

The book includes a sketch of Marti's life, a description of his years in the United States, and his observations about life in North America during the 1880s and 1890s. It also describes how he brought U.S. writers to the attention of a Spanish-speaking public, mainly through his Latin American newspaper articles.

With celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Marti's birth taking place throughout the year 2003, this book presents a timely source of new information about Marti's rich engagement with American literature. Marti scholars and Latin Americanists, as well as those interested in 19th-century American literature, will welcome this important study of a major cultural figure of the Americas.

Anne Fountain teaches Latin American literature and culture at San Jose State University.

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