Heredia y Heredia, José M. (1803–1839)

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Heredia y Heredia, José M. (1803–1839)

José M. Heredia y Heredia (b. 31 December 1803; d. 7 May 1839), Cuban Romantic poet. Heredia, born in Santiago de Cuba, was the most important literary figure of Latin American romanticism. His early education was directed by his father, José Francisco Heredia y Mieses, an important politician who traveled extensively in the colonies. Heredia graduated from the University of Havana Law School in 1823 and became an important member of the anti-Spanish movement on the island.

The Spanish authorities transferred Heredia's father to the Audiencia of Mexico in 1819. That year José followed him there and published his first book of poems, Ensayos poéticos, in Mexico. In 1821 he returned to Cuba, married, and published three books: La inconstancia, Misantropía, and El desamor. Also in 1822 Heredia was appointed rector of the Pontífica Universidad de la Habana. The following year he embarked for the United States, where in Boston he met Felix Varela and José Saco, Cuban liberals and advocates of independence. In 1824, he visited Niagara Falls, which inspired one of this best-known poems, "El Niágara." In December 1824 the Cuban government condemned him to perpetual exile for his involvement in revolutionary activities. Heredia died in Toluca, Mexico.

See alsoCuba, War of Independence; Cuba: The Colonial Era (1492–1898).


For the complete works of Heredia, see Poesías completas (1970); Diccionario de la literatura cubana, vol. 1 (1980), pp. 430-438; Emilio Díaz Echani and José María Roca Franquesa, Historia de la literatura española e hispanoamericana, 3d ed., vol. 1 (1982), pp. 741-746.

Additional Bibliography

Altenberg, Tilmann. Melancolía en la poesía de José María Heredia. Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert; Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2001.

Cairo Ballester, Ana. Heredia, entre cubanos y españoles. Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 2003.

Méndez, Roberto. José María Heredia: la utopía restituida. Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 2003.

                                      DariÉn Davis

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Heredia y Heredia, José M. (1803–1839)

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