The Politics of Citing: José Martí, Oscar Wilde, and the Renaissance of Author Photography

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Abstract

My article reexamines two chronicles by José Martí in which the Cuban intellectual discusses Oscar Wilde’s arrival in New York and his first public lecture there. I take a suspicious approach to these chronicles, proposing a critical reading of Martí’s decision to blindly cite the eccentric Irish dandy. Martí’s first chronicle about Wilde, which appeared in Caracas on 21 January 1882, can be read as an artifact that emphasizes the relevance of author photography. I argue that the photographs of Wilde that Napoleon Sarony took in New York City and the legal and other controversies that developed around them constitute a renaissance of author photography as a self-figurative vehicle and attempt at material autonomy by a new kind of writer in the public sphere. Photography composes a luminous skin that can not only operate on the materiality of the author but also respond to the lustful eyes that look at it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-447
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Latin American Cultural Studies
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

Keywords

  • Author photography
  • José Martí
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Sylvia Molloy
  • dandy
  • gay writers

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