SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
THE LIFE OF JOSÉ MARTÍ was an odyssey, a wandering in exile, a life fraught with perennial anguish in its dedication to free Cuba from Spain. Poet, dramatist, political prisoner, pamphleteer, novelist, journalist, teacher, diplomat, filibusterer, and revolutionist -- Martí was all of these and more. Yet he is probably best known for his writings and revolutionary activities. His fevered brain assimilated and converted into fluid Spanish prose some of the currents of social, political, and economic thought of the nineteenth century. He was a graphic reporter of great and little events in Europe, Latin America, and the United States during the 1880's and 1890's. He often wrote with such haste, however, that many of his observations remain in topical settings, where their usefulness is obscured. At worst in his writings he was obtuse, wordy, and flamboyant; at best he was sincere, sensitive, and acute in capturing the essence of the personality of a great man or reporting a human interest story. One can see originality of expression in much of his work, especially his poetry, but on the other hand much of his material, particularly on European affairs, came to him from other sources.
Although Martí is given credit for having started the Revolution on its final journey to success, and therefore in the final analysis is identified with that success, no one element seemed to dominate in the personal history of Martí quite so much as failure. His relations