New Volumes of José Martis Encyclopedia: Marti in His Own Hand
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- Editorial Articles
- 02 / 23 / 2008
Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, historian and general director of the critical edition of Jose Martis oeuvre, answers our questions on Volumes 10,11,12,14, 15 and 16, which will be launched at the Havana International Book Fair. They contain poems, writings and journalism and, in the case of manuscripts, include all the amendments, deletions and variations in Martis own hand, thus offering an understanding of his creative process.
Perhaps what is more astonishing in Jose Marti is his creative capacity. This peculiar man, full of kindness, intelligence and insight, could write as only gods can a poem full of love and sorrow just as well as a profound historical essay or sharp political manifesto. His complete works still grow lavishly and surprisingly with new volumes comprising an enormous number of journalistic articles, essays, poems, letters, speeches, manifestoes and other pieces and genres. The thought of the man who planned the war of independence against Spanish colonialism in Cuba and set its guidelines, keys, perspectives and the fighting tactics and strategies for future times, is not only deep and defining, but seems to be inexhaustible, endless.
Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, a well-known historian, professor and journalist, a member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, is the general director of the edition of Jose Martis complete works. He especially worked in these six new volumes, 10 to 16, that will be launched at the Havana Book Fair, to be held in February-March this year. He is among those who can speak with more authority about Marti. Few people have spent so many years, an entire life, digging into the most intimate structures and the most hidden manuscripts of the "Maestro," as Marti was called.
These are our questions with answers, exclusively for Cubanow, to the doubts and perhaps the reach of this Marti Encyclopedia the readers, with pleasure and surprise, will soon have in their hands.
What periods, topics and genres are included in the new volumes of Jose Martis work about to be launched?
They are six new volumes. Numbers 10 to 12 gather texts published by Marti between 1881 and 1882 in the Venezuelan newspaper La Opinión Nacional, where he acted as its New York correspondent. Volume 10 and 11 compile his writings on European topics, fundamentally from Spain, France and Italy, and essentially cover the political life of the times, although they also deal with literature and science. Volume 12 contains the notes Marti sent to the Constant Section of this newspaper and deal with a wide range of topics, frequently including his own views, on the most varied issues of the moment. These three volumes show the beginning of Martis maturing process as a thinker and a writer. Volumes 14 to 16 group his entire poetic production, from those he published as booklets -Ismaelillo and Versos Sencillos - to the Versos Libres he never published, and also the poems that came out in newspapers and a large number of incomplete poems or different versions of a poem, many of them never published before.
How do these new volumes contribute to a better knowledge of Martis work?
As with every critical edition, these volumes offer a careful reading and transcription of Martis original manuscripts, of the first editions of his books and of his writings published in 19th century journals. They also include all the amendments, deletions and variations in Martis own hand, thus offering an understanding of his creative process. Many footnotes clarify issues and references they contain for todays readers. Indexes offer valuable information on names and geographical places mentioned by Marti. There is also an index of subjects. The end notes broaden the information on persons and topics intimately linked with Marti, his life and his times. This is a way to present him and his times as a whole in a sort of Marti encyclopedia that is also an encyclopedia of culture in the second half of the 19th century. Thus, readers can see Marti in his vast dimension and fullness.
After this new edition, how has your view on Martis work changed? How has it become enriched? What has it offered you?
This systematic, continued and chronological study of Martis writings has offered me, and the team I work with at the Centro de Estudios Martianos, a deeper, more encompassing and comprehensive knowledge of his work and his ideas. We have learned very much, we continue and will continue to learn every day more of this man and his times, and therefore, our studies and evaluations will be enriched.
What is still left to select and publish from Martis work? Where does the team you head intend to arrive with its work?
We expect to publish no less than three more volumes this year. We are now researching and editing Volume 33, which reaches 1890 in Martis life. We consider very probable that the collection will be of more than 40 volumes, since we are now close to the moment when he became the leader of Cuban patriots and a larger number his writings of this period survive. Since research is still going, texts from periods that have already been published may appear - and actually have appeared. Therefore, there will be a last volume including writings that have been left behind. The present volumes have included more than two hundred unpublished or never compiled texts. We hope more will appear. To that end we are working in Cuba and abroad, in a constant search in archives and libraries, with the collaboration of many friends and scholars who have felt an interest in the ideas and ethics of this morally superior man, who relevantly foresaw the future of the Americas and the world and indefatigably fought for social justice.
Will they be published abroad? Are there negotiations for it to happen? Will they be published in English?
It is too early to enter into that type of negotiations. For the moment, we do not have the possibility to undertake translation into other languages. We still have before us many years of research, study and work in this colossal but indispensable effort for Cuban, Latin American and universal culture. It is our responsibility to fulfill this moral, historical and cultural duty with Jose Marti.
Source: By César Galvez, CubaNow.net