The Imagined Island: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hispaniola

The Imagined Island: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hispaniola

The Imagined Island: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hispaniola

The Imagined Island: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hispaniola

Excerpt

What we have before us is an attempt to write not a factual history,
but rather a sacred one, a narrative in which life must confirm Scripture.

Raúl Dorra, Profeta sin honra (Mexico City, 1994)

History is probably our myth. It combines what can be thought, the
“thinkable,” and the origin, in conformity with the way in which a society
can understand its own working.

Michel de Certeau, The Writing of History (New York, 1988)

The twentieth century was a cornucopia of stories, a kaleidoscope of interpretations. The very abundance of these narratives seems to contribute to those “fin de siècle terrors” that today beleaguer even the most venerable interpretations. And yet certain historical narratives continue to permeate our collective life, like stubborn stains that won't wash out. The trappings may be academic or profane, but the “truths” appear eternal, immune to the ravages of time. In the Dominican Republic this lore, these narratives, stand majestically in the landscape, as much a part of the scenery as the Torre del Homenaje, the Cathedral, and the Alcazar de Colón. Their very antiquity is prestige enough; they need not demonstrate their validity by modern standards. Lent authority by the stature of their advocates, they have become dogma. Those who hold to them, in “holding the threads of the narrative, preserving the development of the plot,” help justify the tradition. Thus canonized, the content and discursive structures of these narratives . . .

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