Paradise Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile

Paradise Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile

Paradise Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile

Paradise Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile

Synopsis

This chronicle of exile is filed not with proclamations or denunciations, but instead with voices of nostaglic reflection, of evocations and secret wishes, visions of return and the anticipation of a fate discerned in the noise of battle as well as in the joy of solidarity.

Excerpt

Furnando Alegría

Exile

Ángel Rama:

When Jose Martí appealed to the fishermen and laborers of Tampa for their indispensable support for the cause of Cuban independence, he set up a model of the cooperative effort linking intellectuals and emigrants devoted to a common cultural and political cause which has benefitted from the survival of the national culture abroad as well as from the experience of a non-colonial way of life that is more democratic than that of the homeland. Thus, a process of subtle transculturation has been characteristic not only of the diaspora in general but of the experience of the individual intellectual, subjected to the same unsettling social experiences and abrupt changes as the Mexican day laborer living on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the Colombian peasant settled in Maracaibo or Caracas and the Paraguayan in Buenos Aires.

Julio Cortázar:

I will refer once again to my own personal experience: if my own physical exile is in no way comparable to that of other writers expelled from their countries in recent years, since I left of my own free will and adjusted my life to new realities over the span of more than two decades, my recent cultural exile, on the other hand, which with a single stroke destroyed the bridge uniting me with my fellow countrymen as readers and critics of my books--a bitter blow for one who has always written as an Argentine and loved all that is Argentine--was not for me an altogether negative trauma. I bounced back from the blow with the feeling that the time had come, that the die was cast, and that now it had to be a fight to the finish. the mere thought of the alienating and impoverishing effect which this cultural exile would have upon thousands and thousands of readers who are my fellow countrymen, as well as upon so many other writers whose works are banned in the country, was enough to cause a positive reaction in me, to send me to my typewriter to get on with my work in support of all the intelligent forms of combat. and if those who have closed off my cultural access to my country . . .

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