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Inscribing African descendant identity in nineteenth century Cuba: The transculturated literature of Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Pettway,Matthew Joseph (Author)
Publication Date:
East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, Blacks, Literature, Cuba, Religion, Afro-Cuban, Transculturation, Manzano, Juan Francisco, Placido
251 p., Explores how Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdés (also known as Plácido) appropriated Hispanic literature to inscribe an African descendant subjectivity in 19th century proto-nationalist Cuban discourse. Revises Mary Louise Pratt's notion of "intercultural texts" and Angel Rama's "literary transculturation", proposing "transculturated colonial literature" to trace the contradictions, re-significations, silences and shifts in the aesthetic and ideological function of Manzano and Plácido's texts. As such, 19th century Afro-Cuban literature is analyzed as an active space of negotiation and exchange disputing racial and religious hierarchies to inscribe an Afro-Cuban religio-cultural subject. The author concludes that both Manzano and Plácido disrupted the aesthetic and ideological norms of the colonial status quo by producing the first instance of literary transculturation in Cuba.