1845: There has been a tendency recently for comparatists to view the Americas as a huge contact zone in which hybridity trumps purity at every turn. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in 1845:
Man is the most composite of all creatures. . . . Well, as in the old burning of the Temple at Corinth, by the melting and intermixture of silver and gold and other metals, a new compound more precious than any, called the Corinthian Brass, was formed so in this Continent, asylum of all nations, the energy of Irish, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Cossacks, and all the European tribes, of the Africans and of the Polynesians, will construct a new race, a new religion, a new State, a new literature, which will be as vigorous as the new Europe which came out of the smelting pot of the Dark Ages. . .
1860: Prominent Mexican intellectual Guillermo Prieto , on his journey through the United States in the late 1860s, devotes little attention to questions of U.S. literature and must rely upon bilingual experts such as Mariscal and Cuban exile Néstor Ponce de León for the information he includes in a chapter of his travelogue consisting of a brief survey of U.S. arts and letters. a chapter of his travelogue consisting of a brief survey of U.S. arts and letters. Prieto lists the names of many memorable and not so memorable U.S. writers in his article of ten or so pages, including: Poe and Longfellow, with whose work he had become familiar on that very journey through the translations of his friend, Cuban exile José Quintero (1993, 117); Cooper, Irving, and Shaw, writers whose works were already well known in Mexico; as well as other writers he knew only by name, including Emerson, Hawthorne, and even Joaquin Miller.
1885: In Mexico, J. M. Altamirano himself wrote the prologue to Joaquín Casasús’s 1885 translation of Evangeline (Evangelina). Altamirano, who did read English and claimed at least superficial familiarity with U.S. literature, praising as early as 1870 the achievements of Irving, Emerson, Cooper, Bryant, and Longfellow (1949, 231), named in his 1885 prologue Longfellow, Whitman, Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and Emerson as “seis patriarcas, seis creadores, seis pontífices del Nuevo culto a la poesía americana” [six patriarchs, six creators, six pontiff s of the new cult of American poetry] (Altamirano 1988, 308).
1925: Emerson’s words seem to presage those of Mexican José Vasconcelos in 1925, when he proposed the construction of four statues in Mexico’s Palacio de la Educación Pública, which would represent “las cuatro grandes razas contemporáneas: la Blanca, la Roja, la Negra y la Amarilla, para indicar que la América es hogar de todas, y de todas necesita.”