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Villaverde, Cirilo


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


A major actor in the anti-colonial politics of nineteenth-century Cuba, Cirilo Villaverde is credited with having written Cuba's first novel El espetón de oro (1838). Born on the Santiago sugar plantation in Cuba on October 28, 1812, he was the son of the estate's doctor who was also a small slaveholder. A lawyer by training, Villaverde soon rejected that profession in favor of journalism and teaching. He became a prolific writer of newspaper articles, textbooks, and creative works that first appeared in periodicals in the first half of the nineteenth century. As a well-known activist agitating for Cuba's independence from Spain, Villaverde was imprisoned in 1848 and sentenced to death for his involvement in the La Mina de la Rosa conspiracy against the Spanish crown. He escaped to the United States the following year where he continued his political activism and writing (including his two essays El señor Saco con respecto a la revolución de Cuba (1852) and La revolución de Cuba vista desde Nueva York (1969). Villaverde remained in the United States for the rest of his life except for a brief return to Cuba in 1858. He died in New York City on October 24, 1894. Although he is known to have authored at least three other novels – La joven de la flecha de oro (1840), Dos amores (1843) and El penitente (1844) – Villaverde is best known and remembered as the author of Cecilia ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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