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Heredia y Heredia José María
(1803—1839)

Heredia y Heredia José María (1803—1839)

Cuban poet, was born at Santiago de Cuba. He studied at the University of Havana, and was called to the bar in 1823. In the autumn of 1823 he was arrested on a charge of conspiracy against the Spanish government, and was sentenced to banishment for life. He took refuge in [[1825 ]], and then went to Mexico, where, becoming naturalized, he obtained a post as magistrate.

In 1832 a collection of his poems was issued at Toluca, and in 1836 he obtained permission to visit Cuba for two months. Disappointed in his political ambitions, and broken in health, Heredia returned to Mexico in January 1837, and died at Toluca on the 21 May 1839.

Many of his earlier pieces are merely clever translations from French, English and Italian; but his originality is placed beyond doubt by such poems as the Himno del desterrado, the epistle to Emilia, Desengaños, and the celebrated ode to Niagara. In common with a number of Spanish and Latin American Romantics, his intellectual formation was in Neoclassicism, and indeed his poetry is notable for its perfection of form as well as (often) the sincerity and depth of his feelings.

Bello may be thought to excel Heredia in execution, and a few lines of Olmedo's Canto de Junin vibrate with a virile passion to which the Cuban poet rarely attained; but the sincerity of his patriotism and the sublimity of his imagination have secured for Heredia a real supremacy among Spanish-American poets.


Cuba, 1940, Jose Maria Heredia and palms

Cuba, 1940, Jose Maria Heredia and Niagara Falls

Cuba, 1948, Death of Jose Marti

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