This volume offers the most complete English translation to date of the prose and poetry of José María Heredia (b. Cuba, 1803; d. Mexico, 1839), focusing on Heredia's political exile in the United States from November 1823 to August 1825. Frederick Luciani's introduction offers a complete biographical sketch that discusses the complications of Heredia's life in exile, his conflicted political views, his significance as a travel writer and observer of life in the United States, and his reception by nineteenth-century North American writers and critics. The volume includes thoroughly annotated letters that Heredia wrote to family and friends in Cuba, describing his struggles and adventures living among other young expatriates in New York City—fellow conspirators in a failed plot to overthrow Spanish rule on the island. His travel letters, especially those that describe his trip to the Niagara frontier in 1824 along the Hudson River and the Erie Canal, offer discerning reflections on American landscapes, technological advances, political culture, and social customs. The volume also offers translations of the verse that Heredia composed during his New York exile, in which he gave impassioned voice to Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain, and which reflected the emerging Romantic sensibilities in Spanish-language poetry. With accurate, clear translations, this volume serves as an introduction to a figure who is enshrined in the canon of Latin American literature, but scarcely known to Anglophone readers.
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