Redefining the American revolutionary: Gabriela Mistral on José Martí

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This essay criticizes the historical investment of Martí's readers in a discourse that values conservative, sexually unambiguous femininity and masculinity. The essay grapples with the vituperative register of José Martí's misogyny in order to reveal another version of the American revolutionary. Drawing on one of his earliest feminist critics, Gabriela Mistral, I show how corporeal tropes in Martí's rhetoric betray instances of empathy with emerging alternative practices of femininity and masculinity. Assisted by Mistral's overlooked and overtly gendered critique, this essay limns a tropical Martí - an embodied, sensual, demonumentalized poet who plays with language. In readings of Mistral's several essays devoted to Martí, the essay shows how Mistral's Martí represents an alternative to the heroic masculinism and violent militarism of a longstanding revolutionary American tradition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-264
Number of pages24
JournalComparative American Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • American
  • Feminist criticism
  • Gabriela Mistral
  • Gender
  • José Martí
  • Masculinity
  • Revolutionary
  • Tropical


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