Vitier, Cintio (1921–)

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Vitier, Cintio (1921–)

Cintio Vitier (b. 25 September 1921), Cuban essayist, poet, and literary critic. The son of prominent Cuban educator Medardo Vitier, Cintio Vitier was born in Key West and spent most of his childhood in Matanzas, Cuba. In 1935 he moved to Havana, where from 1942 to 1947 he was editor of the literary journal Clavileño. Although he received a law degree from the University of Havana, he never entered the profession. During his student years he became part of the literary group that revolved around the magazine Orígenes, through which he befriended the founder, José Lezama Lima, as well as the poets Eliseo Diego and Fina García Marruz, whom he married in 1947. Between 1947 and 1961 he taught French and compiled key anthologies of Cuban poetry, including Diez poetas cubanos, 1937–1947 (1948), Cincuenta años de poesía cubana, 1902–1952 (1952), and Los grandes románticos cubanos (1960).

Vitier is best known for his literary analysis. One of his books on this subject, Lo cubano en la poesía (1957, repr. 1970), is still considered an authoritative work defining the Cuban poetic sensibility.

Vitier has edited critical editions of the complete works of José Martí and, along with Fina García Marruz, is the recognized authority on Martí within the island. (He was director of the José Martí wing of the National Library from 1968 to 1973 and a researcher at the Centro Martiano from 1987 to 1988.) He has edited several literary publications, including La Nueva Revista Cubana, Anuario Martiano, and Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional "José Martí." Since 1959 he has represented Cuba at numerous international cultural activities. As of the mid-1990s, he was retired and living in Cuba. In 2002, he won the title of Official of Arts and Letters from France, and the medal of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Benigno Sánchez-Eppler, Habits of Poetry, Habits of Resurrection (1986), deals with the influence of the Spanish Nobel laureate Juan Ramón Jiménez on the work of Eugenio Florit, José Lezama Lima, and Cintio Vitier. See also Arcadio Díaz Quinones, Cintio Vitier: La memoria integradora (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Labrada Aguilera, Agustín. Un paseo por el paraíso: Doce entrevistas con escritores de México y Cuba (1995–2005). México, D.F.: Poder Legislativo del Estado de Quintana Roo, 2006.

Ruiz Bencomo, Ruby. Dedicado a Cintio Vitier. Havana: Instituto Cubano del Libro, 2005.

Salgado, Maria Antonia. Modern Spanish American Poets: First Series. Detroit, MI: Gale Group, 2003.

                                          Roberto Valero