Cuban Literature

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Cuban Literature in the 19th Century

Felix Varela (1787- 1853)

Varela was born in Havana in 1787, he became a Catholic priest and studied at the University of Havana. Padre Varela was a philosophical writer known for his publications in which he advocated for the abolition of the slavery in Cuba.

His patriotic ideas were not accepted by the authorities and Varela was forced to flee to the United States to save his life.

José Maria de Heredia (1803-1839)

De Heredia was born near Santiago de Cuba and of French Creole decent. He was a Cuban romantic poet, known for his poems "Les Tropheés" and "El Teocalli de Cholula". José Maria de Heredia was elected as a member of the Academie Française.

José Marti (1853-1895)

José Marti was a Cuban poet, jounalist, freedom fighter and revolutionary philosopher born in Havana in 1853.

He became a national Cuban hero in the struggle for independence against the Spanish Empire. Marti died in a military operation in 1895.

José Marti is one of the great Latin American intellectuals, he wrote many poems, essays and newspaper articles.

Well known is his poem that later became the lyrics for the song "Guantanamera". Marti is honored as a national hero in Cuba, every city and village has its Marti street, square or statue.

Literature in the 20th Century

Nicolás Guillém (1902-1980)

Guillém was born on July 1902 in Camaguey and was an Afro Cuban poet and writer.

He defended the rights of the poor black population, and spent some time in prison for his opposition against the regime of dictator Gerardo Machado.

He was banned by dictator Batista and later after the revolution welcomed by Fidel Castro and named "National poet of Cuba". He became president of the UNEAC - National Cuban Writers Union. This is the official administrative and cultural center for all Cuban writers and artists.

Fundación Nicolás Guillén this foundation's mission is to study the work of N.Guillén. Address 17th street#351 corner H street Havana Vedado.

Alejo Carpentier (1904 - 1980)

Alejo Carpentier was born in Switzerland in 1904 and passed his youth in Havana. He was an architect, writer and musicologist. Carpentier became one of the most famous Cuban writers of the twentieth century. Had a reputation as style innovator, "El Reino de este Mundo" and "La Música en Cuba" are considered as his major works.

Fundación Alejo Carpentier The mission of the foundation is to study the works of Alejo Carpentier. Address Empedrado street #215 Old Havana.

José Lezama Lima (1910 - 1976)

José Lezama Lima born in Havana in 1910 was a Cuban poet, writer and editor of the magazine "Origenes". The magazine published Cuban literature, the work of the best Cuban writers at that time and exerted a great influence in Latin America. His major work is the novel "Paradiso".

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929 - 2005)

Cabrera Infante, once a supporter of the Cuban regime, felt later into disgrace and went in exile to London where he died in 2005.

He is considered as one of the most important Cuban writers of the 20th century. He received the prestigious Cervantes award for his work

Additional Info:

UNEAC - Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba
Address: Calle 17 #354 entre Calle G y H
Havana Vedado Cuba.


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