José María Heredia in New York, 1823–1825

An Exiled Cuban Poet in the Age of Revolution, Selected Letters and Verse

Edited and translated by Frederick Luciani
Introduction by Frederick Luciani

Subjects: Literature, Latin American Studies, History, New York/regional, Nineteenth-century Studies
Paperback : 9781438479842, 286 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438479835, 286 pages, September 2020

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Table of contents


The Life of José María Heredia
Heredia and Exile
Heredia as Travel Writer
Heredia and Nineteenth-Century Inter-American Literary Relations
The Translations in this Volume

Selected Letters, 1823–1825

Selected Verse, 1823–1825
To Emilia
The Pleasures of Melancholy
Athens and Palmyra
To Washington
The Exile's Hymn
Return to the South

Works Cited

An English translation, with introduction and annotations, of a selection of the letters and verse that José María Heredia (b. Cuba, 1803; d. Mexico, 1839), wrote during his months of political exile in New York from November 1823 to August 1825.


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.

Frederick Luciani is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Latin American Studies at Colgate University. He is the author of Literary Self-Fashioning in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.


"Luciani's volume gives a new life to Heredia's texts, this time in a hemispheric canon." — New York History

"This book is an important contribution to the study and recognition of José María Heredia's life, writing, and significance in the Spanish American literary canon and will help him to be better known in the English-speaking world." — Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas