Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined

Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined

Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined

Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined

Synopsis

This study offers a unique perspective in interpreting the cultural politics of Cuba's complex history through an exploration of the country's literature. The book introduces readers to some of Cuba's most eminent and engaging voices by examining some of the historical tropes put forth by major writers. Drawing on an array of interpretive approaches from mythopoetic analysis to phenomenology, West addresses the work of Nancy Morejon, Alejo Carpentier, Virgilio Pinera, Dulce Maria Loynaz, Jose Lezama Lima, and Severo Sarduy. This poetic look at Cuba's rich and turbulent history through the eyes of its writers will be of interest to students and scholars of Latin American history and culture.

Excerpt

Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined

History is the most dangerous product evolved from the chemistry of the intellect. Its properties are well known. It causes dreams, it intoxicates whole peoples, gives them false memories, quickens their reflexes, keeps their old wounds open, torments them in their repose, leads them into delusions either of grandeur or persecution, and makes nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable, and vain.

History will justify anything. It teaches precisely nothing, for it contains everything and furnishes examples of everything.

--Paul Valéry

We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original values as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams. We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of poetry that was lost.

--Gaston Bachelard

Cuba and its history are continuously being imagined. Both from within and afar, by its own people and by interested foreigners, the island has exercised a fascination that spans continents and centuries. Abetted by its strategic geographical location, Cuba has been at different times a focal point for Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. The island has been a magnet for conquerors, profiteers, dreamers, and artists. This kind of . . .

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