TRANSFIGURATION IN THE PLASTIC ARTS
THE SHORT-LIVED and unequal struggle between Spain on the one hand and Cuba and the United States on the other, the freeing of Cuba, and the subsequent American occupation helped to eclipse the exploits of José Martí from Cuban view. Most of the praise lavished upon him soon after his death came from abroad, from Cubans who had known him in the United States, and from Latin American men of letters. It is often alleged that Martí was forgotten in Cuba for many years after his death. To a certain extent this is true until, roughly speaking, the abrogation of the Platt Amendment in 1934, when the right of the United States to interfere in Cuban affairs ended. No attempt will be made to prove that there was any necessary relationship between the Platt Amendment to the Cuban Constitution and a lack of interest in Martí during this time, although it is logical to assume that the reason for the new look at Martí after abrogation was due to a heightened spirit of nationalism on the part of the Cubans.
It is the purpose of this chapter to look into the biographical works writter in these years to estimate their share in building Martí as a national hero, and to report any statements made to support or refute the generally held thesis that Martí was largely ignored in Cuba up to the early 1930's. This process will involve measuring the volume of literary production from 1895 to 1955, including the collecting and editing of Martí's own works, in and out of Cuba. In addition, the record of Martí as he has appeared in statuary, on stamps, and on coins will also be noted as an indication of progress toward his acceptance by the Cuban people as the National Hero.