From an itenerant fiction to an ad hoc translation of modernity: cultural vision of cities by Jose Marti

José González

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    In studying the extended writings of the 19th century Cuban thinker José Martí, scholars in Latin American modernity have identified a number of cultural urban narratives. The most important of these narratives is the result of his almost fifteen years of residing in New York. This narrative embedded in his journalism, scrap notes, literature, political speeches, etc.), has also been identified as an unfinished project of modernity for the newly created Hispanic American nations after their political independence from Spain. Martí was, obviously, not satisfied with the way political powers in these countries were masking a replication of the colonial cultural mentality through agency in building their national identities. Despite having a contradictory attitude about modern cities, he clearly identifies the urban space as the logical scenario for the process of modernization. José Martí used his very particular ethical, humanistic code and his ingenuity to reinvent his own desired model of urban culture for the new Hispanic American nations. The rest of the urban cultural narratives (about Ciudad México, Ciudad de Guatemala and Caracas) are connected with his life experience, living in different Hispanic American capital cities before his residence in New York (with the exception of Caracas, which constituted a pause in his North American period). Based on the textual character of the modern city and the concurrent textual character of culture, this paper will compare these previous narratives with that of the final project. It will also compare the narratives between them. The purpose of this is to reflect upon the connections between these different texts. In other words, we will try to observe whether or not these narratives function as previous steps or drafts to each other, evolving through time and experience until the final foundational account, designed to shape modernity for the nations that he called “los países azules” (the blue countries)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-169
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Arts and Sciences
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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