Friday, September 15, 2006


The idea of a blog is one that would certainly have resonated deeply with José Martí. In fact, he might well be regarded as one of the pioneers of this genré. Of course, he didn't conceptualize it, although he did believe that poets inspired inventors, and that it was possible to find the antecedents of all great scientific theories and inventions in the imaginations of poets before they materialized in the laboratories of scientists. As Martí saw it, poets not only celebrated the great inventions of the age but actually had a part in bringing them about. This is is a decidedly romantic concept and one that would have found many adherents in that age. No doubt the literature of the last 100 years (especially the pulpish kind that is not taught in schools) would reveal many anticipations of the computer and of its potentialities. Whether blogging also has been presaged I do not know.

Martí did pioneer a kind of blogging sans computers during his brief and failed residence in Venezuela in 1881. He was contracted by the newspaper El Nacional to write a continuing series of small digests (we would call them "posts") on a variety of subjects of topical interest. Martí averred that the public literally "ate them up," and such was the popularity of this feature that he was contracted by the newspaper to continue editing it after he had relocated to the United States.