Martin Fierro by José Hernandez

North of Oxford

Martin Fierro - Jose Hernandez
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Review by Stephen Page
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In order to delve deeper into the gaucho mind, as research for my poem project, I read José Hernandez’s Martin Fierro.  I have been told by many people that the fictional character Martín Fierro is a model for gauchos.  Argentine children are required to memorize the first part of the poem in grade school, and most everyone in Argentina sees Fierro as a kind of Robin Hood (though I see him as more of a Jesse James or a Billy the Kid).  To help you begin to understand, I translated the first part of the poem for you.  It is in the Criollo vernacular, so it required a lot of reference work.  The epic poem is a novel in verse, with character development and a thick plot. It is over 2,000 lines long, set mostly in six-line stanzas, the 2nd , 3

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2 thoughts on “Martin Fierro by José Hernandez

  1. There is something highly romantic in this book… Fierro is a sort of revolutionary character… A gaucho who aknowledges how unfair life could be, hence he becomes a gaucho matrero (outsider. fuera de la ley). The book still shows criticism towards Domingo Sarmiento´s politics (as a president)—- Same way “El Matadero” was a critic towards Rosas. We can learn so much from this book. Excellent post, an great translation, Stephen… Thank you so much for sharing! 😀

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