Ramón Betances and Classical Reception in Puerto Rico
A consistent dimension of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century revolutions was engagement with the classical tradition. France and the United States have been favoured sites of revolutionary classical reception, however, with relatively little attention paid to South America or the Caribbean.1 More generally, studies of classical reception have avoided the hispanophone Caribbean, revolutionary or otherwise, with the possible exception of Cuba.2This article aims to create a foundation for further study of the classical tradition in (revolutionary) Puerto Rico by examining the poetry and cultural milieu of Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827–1898), a prominent Puerto Rican and Pan-Antillean nationalist. I begin by discussing Betances’s life, education, and access to classical literature and languages, and proceed to examine his statements about literature and his interaction with other revolutionary intellectuals interested in the classical tradition. I argue that Betances’s...
I am grateful to the anonymous reviewers at IJCT for their thoughtful comments on this draft. I must also extend my sincere thanks to my friend Mario Morales, who has long supported my interest in Puerto Rican history and classical reception on the island. Finally, I am grateful to the many friends and colleagues who have heard or read full or partial versions of this article. To thank you all by name would render this note far too long, but I appreciate your help and your interest in this research. I dedicate this work to the memory of my grandfather, Manuel Rosado, who inspired this project through his love of learning and love of Puerto Rico.