Skip to main content

Martín Fierro

Martín Fierro

Martín Fierro, the classic poem of Argentine Gauchesca literature, published in two parts (1872 and 1879). The poem contains a strong ethical, social, and political message, which its author, José Hernández, also delivered in his journalism and political life. Hernández sought to depict the destitute existence of a specific social class, re-creating its world view and particular language. He embodied that class in a fictional gaucho, Martín Fierro, who narrates his life before and after he was compulsorily sent to the frontier to fight the Indians—robbed of his family, home, and all his belongings. He escapes from virtual slavery at the fort, lives as a gaucho matrero (cunning outlaw), together with his friend Sargeant Cruz, and finds refuge among the Indians. Upon returning to his "pago" (the region in which he used to live), Martín Fierro finds two of his sons and the one of Cruz. After hearing the father's wise advice the four agree, for reasons not explained in the poem, to lead separate lives.

A vivid depiction of life in the fort and of Indian malones (surprise attacks), of Fierro's humiliating experiences as an unsalaried soldier, as well as of the abuses of his orphaned children, the poem is a denunciation of the profound injustices inflicted on the gauchos. An epic and lyrical piece of 7,210 verses, the poem not only achieved Hernández's sociopolitical purposes, but also won popular acclaim. Martín Fierro has ever since been the archetypical gaucho, symbolizing the "barbaric" inhabitants of the Pampas who were decimated in the name of "civilization."

See alsoGauchesca Literature; Hernández, José; Literature: Spanish America.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Nettie L. Benson, "Martín Fierro at the University of Texas," in Library Chronicle of the University of Texas 8, no. 4 (1968): 13-27.

Ted Lyon, "Martín Fierro: Narrative Fluctuation (as Key to Interpretation)," in Chasqui 1, no. 3 (1972): 26-35.

Nettie L. Benson, "Martín Fierro, Best Seller," in Américas 25, no. 2 (1973): 8-12.

Frank G. Carrino et al., trans., The Gaucho Martín Fierro (1974).

Fermín Chavez, "Martín Fierro: Sus contenidos ideológicos y políticos," in Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 357 (March 1980): 525-540.

Michael J. Casey, "El cantor y el mudo: Speech and Silence in Martín Fierro," in Chasqui 11, no. 1 (1981): 53-57.

Nancy Vogeley, "The Figure of the Black Payador in Martín Fierro," in CLA Journal 26, no. 1 (1982): 34-48.

Rodolfo A. Borello, "La originalidad del Martín Fierro," in Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 437 (November 1986): 65-84, and "El Martín Fierro y la poesía gauchesca," in Boletín de la Academia Argentina de Letras 54, nos. 211-212 (1989): 97-129.

Additional Bibliography

Alposta, Luis. La culpa en Martín Fierro. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1998.

Astrada, Carlos. El mito gaucho. Buenos Aires: Fondo Nacional de las Artes, 2006.

Borello, Rodolfo A. La poesía gauchesca, una perspectiva diferente. Mendoza: EDIUNC, 2000.

Hanaway, Nancy. Embodying Argentina: Body, Space and Nation in Nineteenth-Century Narrative. Jefferson: McFarland & Co. Publishers, 2003.

Hernández, José. Martín Fierro. Nanterre: Allca XX, Université Paris X, 2001.

Martínez Estrada, Ezequiel. Muerte y transfiguración de Martín Fierro: Ensayo de interpretación de la vida argentina. Rosario: Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2005.

Pérez, Alberto Julián. Los dilemas políticos de la cultura letrada: Argentina, siglo XIX. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2002.

Quiroga Lavié, Humberto. Memorias de Fierro. Buenos Aires: Librería Histórica, 2003.

                                Angela B. Dellepiane

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Martín Fierro." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Martín Fierro." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/martin-fierro

"Martín Fierro." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/martin-fierro

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.