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Dialogic Aspects of the Cuban Novel of the 1990s

Dialogic Aspects of the Cuban Novel of the 1990s

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 333
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Dialogic Aspects of the Cuban Novel of the 1990s
    Book Description:

    This book examines six polyphonic Cuban novels, published between 1991 and 1999. All the novels studied here, part of the new 'boom' of the Cuban novel in the 1990s, subvert homogenized views of Cuban identity, and this book analyses how, in undermining monolithic representations of reality, these polyphonic texts employ discursive techniques that question absolute truths, defy established boundaries of literary genres and challenge concepts of national, gender and individual identity. In this book, the authors studied (Reinaldo Arenas, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Abilio Estévez, Daína Chaviano, Yanitzia Canetti, and Zoé Valdés) are placed beyond the dichotomy of outside and inside Cuba, to focus on the fluidity and heterogeneity of Cuban culture displayed in its literature. This study establishes similarities and differences in the way these authors create polyphonic texts that question whether notions of country and nation coincide in novels that respond to economic hardship, political and social changes, issues of cubanía, and exile. ngela Dorado-Otero is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Iberian and Latin American Studiesat Queen Mary University of London.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-234-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    This work focuses on six novels: Reinaldo Arenas’sEl color del verano, Leonardo Padura Fuentes’Máscaras, Abilio Estévez’sTuyo es el reino, Daína Chaviano’sCasa de juegos, Yanitzia Canetti’sAl otro ladoand Zoé Valdés’La nada cotidiana. The selected novels were published during the 1990s, and in my view their authors, regardless of their place of residence, are products of the educational system of the Cuban revolution, since even those who left the island to go and live abroad did so as adults. The six novels that occupy my attention in this study share a common territorialization: their spatial...

  5. 1 Carnival and Simulacra in Reinaldo Arenas’s El color del verano
    (pp. 21-46)

    This chapter focuses on an analysis ofEl color del veranoin the light of Bakhtin’s dialogic theory. I shall explore the Bakhtinian concepts of carnival, dialogism and the polyphonic novel, concentrating my analysis on the concept of carnival as reflected in this novel and its various functions within it. Another important aspect of my analysis is the use of the mask as a performance of identity, as it often appears related to the concept of representation, theatre and carnival.

    There has been a boom in the number of critical studies focused on the life and works of Reinaldo Arenas...

  6. 2 Transposed Words: Mapping Intertextuality in Leonardo Padura Fuentes’ Máscaras
    (pp. 47-98)

    In this chapter I shall focus on the Cuban novelMáscarasby Leonardo Padura Fuentes in the light of intertextuality. Most critics, including Stephen Wilkinson (2000; 2006), Carlos Uxó (2006), José Antonio Michelena (2006), Sara Rosell (2006), Clemens Franken Kurzen (2009) and Antonio Aiello Fernández (2010) have focused their attention on how Padura has transformed traditional detective fiction in Cuba. Padura Fuentes himself has contributed to this approach by inserting himself in this tradition when revisiting the detective genre in his article ‘Modernidad y postmodernidad: la novela policial en Iberoamérica’ (1999). Some scholars have also paid particular attention to the...

  7. 3 The Palimpsestuous (Re)writing of the Island as a Dialogic Practice: Literature in the Second Degree in Abilio Estévez’s Tuyo es el reino
    (pp. 99-134)

    As we have seen, there has been a proliferation of the use of intertextuality in recent Cuban fiction, and the process of creation appears as a topic in all the novels studied in this book. This process of creation becomes a mechanism that the characters of the novels use to reach self–knowledge, as a way of creating a collective memory and of resisting established authority.

    While Abilio Estévez has achieved international success with his novels and his writings for the theatre, critical studies of his works have been relatively few and far between. This is possibly a result of...

  8. 4 Erotic Discourse: From the Semiotic to the Symbolic in Daína Chaviano’s Casa de juegos
    (pp. 135-162)

    In this chapter I shall focus on Daína Chaviano’s novelCasa de juegos. I posit that the use of erotic discourse in this novel serves a foundational purpose as the site of a feminine and feminist space in the context of subaltern voices used to subvert patriarchal values and monolithic discourses of power. I start here by differentiating, like Octavio Paz, between eroticism and sexuality. For Paz, in his bookLa llama doble: amor y erotismo, ‘En la sexualidad, el placer sirve a la procreación; en los ritos eróticos el placer es un fin en sí mismo o tiene fines...

  9. 5 (Re)writing the Body as a Feminine Strategy: Yanitzia Canetti’s Al otro lado
    (pp. 163-202)

    One of the most complete and competent studies of Yanitzia Canetti’s work is that of Yvette Fuentes (2002). Fuentes shows how Cuban women writers in the Diaspora display an isolation that challenges patriarchal discourses. She examines the three women writers that I study in this book, though the choice of novel in her study of Chaviano differs (Fuentes selectsEl hombre, la hembra y el hambrefor her investigation). With reference to her analysis of Canetti’sAl otro lado, Fuentes studies the discursive narratives (that is, fantasy, parody and allegory) that Canetti uses to undermine notions of gender and national...

  10. 6 Language Unbound: Zoé Valdés’ La nada cotidiana
    (pp. 203-232)

    Zoé Valdés is one of the best-known Cuban writers of her generation. She was born in Havana in 1959 and left Cuba as an adult. She is well known internationally as an outspoken opponent of the Castros’ regime. As Catherine Davies pointed out shortly after Valdés settled in Europe, she ‘has made a reputation for herself by criticizing the Cuban government and writing novels that some would call erotic and others pornographic’ (1997: 223–4). Valdés is well known for the use of explicit sexual language in her novels. She is actually a pioneer in doing so, and opened...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 233-236)

    I have argued in this study that dialogism is at the core of the Cuban literature produced in the 1990s, having a particular fluidity that had not been seen in earlier decades. I have posited that the decade that I study here represents a narrative junction, in part as a response to the hardship and social changes following the 1980 Mariel boatlift and particularly during the Special Period in the early 1990s. The latter is especially relevant for the writers studied here, except for Reinaldo Arenas who left Cuba during the Mariel boatlift. His response was more politically motivated from...

  12. Appendix 1: First Interview with Leonardo Padura Fuentes (8 March 2004)
    (pp. 237-239)
  13. Appendix 2: Second Interview with Leonardo Padura Fuentes (18 July 2006)
    (pp. 240-246)
    Leonardo Padura Fuentes
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-270)
  15. Index
    (pp. 271-292)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 293-293)