The spirit of Martí in the land of Coaybay

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This article analyzes a shift in Republican-era Cuban literature from a preoccupation with romantic notions of sovereignty to concerns with neocolonial status and consumption, as read through representations of José Martí's relics and spirit. Examining works by José Antonio Ramos, Bonifacio Byrne, and José Lezama Lima, among others, I argue that Martí's ghostly return in post-1902 literature may be attributed to multiple, but related factors: (1) his prophetic measures were stymied in neocolonial Cuba; (2) the nation as such - even Martí's re-imagination of it - remains haunted by what it excludes; and (3) Martí's status as a specter, a material form of the immaterial, mirrors a Republican Cuba whose sovereignty and territory were eviscerated by foreign capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-266
Number of pages22
JournalHispanic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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