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The 19th century: The Cuba of José Martí

Literature in Spanish: José Martí

The nineteenth century marked the end of the Spanish empire overseas and Independent colonies began early on during this century after a series of uprisings against the Spanish rulers. At the end of the century, the Spanish Empire had two colonies in America: Cuba and Puerto Rico and one in Asia, the Philippines.

The emancipation movement in Cuba was led by a writer and politician, José Martí (1853-1895), now known by the nickname "The Apostle." Marti devoted his life to Cuban independence, both ideologically and actively taking part in the struggle, until he died in combat in 1895. His dream came true three years later during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Marti began to write poetry, essays, journalistic genre, letters and oratory and became one of the most prolific writers of Latin America, and also the most read.

In poetry, his most important work is Ismaelillo (1882), one of the masterpieces of literature in Spanish and founder of modern Latin American Literary. José Martí also named his son Ismaelillo, who was the inspiration behind the poems in the volume, and thus in a sense, the volume became the poet's child, in the manner in which he lovingly cared for it until it was released. This book also marks the transition from Romanticism to Modernism in Latin America.

In 1878 he wrote the poetry collection Versos Sencillos, which, however, would not be published until 1891. They are the best example of the increasing literary maturity of José Martí and all his ideas and all the poems emphasize a mastery of rhythm, especially his poem " Yo soy un hombre sincero." These were simple poems, which avoided the typical analysis and interpretation and are very similar to oral poetry.

In 1913, his poems Versos Libres were published posthumously and is a work that fails to enter fully into Modernism, appearing much more experimental.

In this essay he stresses Nuestra América (1891), and it is systematized towards the authors entire political-humanist agenda. This book also demonstrates the need for the emergence of new Being of America: "ya no podemos ser el pueblo de hojas, que vive en el aire, con las copa cargada de flor, restallando o zumbando, según lo acaricie el capricho de la luz, o la tundan o talen las tempestades; ¡los pueblos se han de poner en fila, para que no pase el gigante de las siete leguas!. Es hora del recuento, y de la marcha unida, y hemos de andar en cuadro apretado, como la plata en las raíces de los Andes" which marks the before and after the vision that Latin America has of itself.

Marti's vision which is scattered throughout his work is crucial in modernizing Latin American politics, and should also be a factor in the humanism vision today, through his modern ideals and the freshness of his thoughts about freedom and human.