José Martí, Cuban Patriot

By Richard Butler Gray | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
MORAL AND SOCIAL IDEAS

THE IDEAS OF JOSÉ MARTÍ are disorganized and contradictory. The task of running down and bringing order to this mass of data is beyond the scope of this study.1 At most, perhaps, one is limited to a judicious selection of Martian thoughts which can be considered most representative of Martíí, with the uneasy reservation that in such an enormous and undigested amount of data better selections might have been chosen to point up similar conclusions, or worse still, to arrive at opposite ones. There is no denying that the prolixity of Martí's writings has resulted in his becoming "all things to an men." The most that one can do is to recognize that fact and then proceed to discover in what ideas Martí seems to have been most consistent. Clearly his ideas on every subject can not be considered. An attempt will be made in this chapter to touch upon the most important ones, and to emphasize those areas of his thought which may be shown later to have had a bearing on his impact upon the Cuban people. These ideas will in turn furnish points of departure for discussion in later chapters. An attempt will be made to follow Martí's ideal of methodology in this respect: "Isolated facts should not be cited -- the easy way of a light and useless erudition -- rather, facts in order, of a solid whole, knit together and certain."2

Martí wrote that one's best ideas did not issue from meditation, but from improvisation. He believed that ideas broke out in conversation in an unexpected and spontaneous fashion, even involuntarily. Some of these ideas he elaborated upon, arranged, contrived, and polished, but he admitted that these were poorer than the ideas that burst forth fully finished. He wrote, "Others go to bed with their mistresses; I with my ideas."3

-35-

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José Martí, Cuban Patriot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Forward v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Biography 1
  • Chapter 2 - Moral and Social Ideas 35
  • Chapter 3 - Political Ideas 59
  • Chapter 4 - Transfiguration in the Plastic Arts 83
  • Chapter 5 - Symbolism in Social Groups 110
  • Chapter 6 - The Apotheosis of José Martí 132
  • Chapter 7 - Symbolism in Politics 148
  • Chapter 8 - The People Speak 196
  • Chapter 9 - Aftermath of the Revolution 229
  • Chapter 10 - Summary and Conclusions 245
  • Notes 263
  • Bibliography 285
  • Index 299
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