The generally intelligent and well-informed essays in this book underscore the difficulties in trying to salvage the work of the Cuban José Martí for our times in any other domain save that of literature. To read Martí as anything other than one of Spanish America’s greatest writers, that is, to read him as a social commentator, or as an analyst, and even a theorist, of hemispheric affairs, is a melancholic exercise in belated recognition. Martí’s life and works, it is true, foreshadowed many quintessentially “modern” experiences: among others, the artist’s alienation from the masses, the plight of exiles and “stateless people” all over the world, and the rise of U.S. imperialism. However, as several of the essays in this collection show, he was not unique in this respect. The essays by Rosaura Sánchez, Beatriz Pita, and Brenda Gayle Plummer remind us that other contemporaries, such as the californiana novelist Amparo...

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