Walt Whitman and His Caribbean Interlocutors: José Martí, C.L.R. James, and Pedro Mir explores the writings of Whitman (1819-1892) and of three Caribbean authors who engaged with them. These three interlocutors—the Cuban poet, essayist and revolutionary José Martí (1853-1895); the Trinidadian activist, historian and cultural critic C.L.R. James (1901-1989); and the Dominican poet Pedro Mir (1913-2000—all saw in the famous American poet and pacifist a key lens through which to understand North American capitalism and is imperial projections.
Whitman and his Caribbean interlocutors are discussed against the backdrop of capitalist modernity's contradictions, as exemplified by the United States between the 1840s and the 1940s. Bernabe deftly uses Marx's exploration of the liberating and oppressive dimensions of capitalist expansion to frame his discussion of each individual author and of Martí's, James's, and Mir's responses to Whitman.