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Havana Letter: 07/15/08
With this entry, I conclude my jaunt through Havana: Tales of a City. The book closes with an 1849 letter by William Cullen Bryant that he later included in his Letters of a Traveller (1850).
Like Maturin M. Ballou, Bryant was fascinated by the ladies of Havana. His description of the ladies in their volantes matches Ballous, though he takes more time to describe how they used them in their day to day activities. He shows how the women would wait in their carriages for vendors to bring their wares out to them, somewhere between modern drive through and the street side service that posher places offer on Rodeo drive.
Of the recent pieces I read in Havana, Bryant's letter and Wallace's poem seemed the most genuine. I think much of that authenticity stems from them being intact, rather than being excerpts lacking the necessary context. Bryant's Letters of a Traveller is part of the Google Books but I think sometime I would like to hold a copy in my hand and curl up in a comfy chair to read it.
Here is the complete list of reviews from Havana: Tales of a City.