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Family Matters

Family Matters: Puerto Rican Women Authors on the Island and the Mainland

Marisel C. Moreno
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wrm20
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  • Book Info
    Family Matters
    Book Description:

    Adopting a comparative and multidisciplinary approach to Puerto Rican literature, Marisel Moreno juxtaposes narratives by insular and U.S. Puerto Rican women authors in order to examine their convergences and divergences. By showing how these writers use the trope of family to question the tenets of racial and social harmony, an idealized past, and patriarchal authority that sustain the foundational myth ofla gran familia,she argues that this metaphor constitutes an overlooked literary contact zone between narratives from both sides. Moreno proposes the recognition of a "transinsular" corpus to reflect the increasingly transnational character of the Puerto Rican population and addresses the need to broaden the literary canon in order to include the diaspora. Drawing on the fields of historiography, cultural studies, and gender studies, the author defies the tendency to examine these literary bodies independently of one another and therefore aims to present a more nuanced and holistic vision of this literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8139-3333-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: Family Matters
    (pp. 1-14)

    On September 23, 2009, a group of Puerto Ricans in Hartford, Connecticut, participated in a historic occasion: the unveiling of the first Monumento a la Familia Puertorriqueña (Monument to the Puerto Rican Family).¹ As trivial as this event may seem, its significance in the historical context of Puerto Rican migration to the United States should not be overlooked. Prominently displayed between the Greater Hartford Academic Arts and Performing Arts buildings on Vernon and Washington Streets, José Buscaglia’s sculpture stands as a reminder of the presence of Puerto Ricans in this country and of how they have contributed to shaping U.S....

  5. 1 The Literary Canon and Puerto Rican National Culture
    (pp. 15-50)

    “At its inception national culture is really literary in nature,” asserts the critic Gregory Jusdanis, reminding us of the power of literature to create the illusion of unity among the various and disparate groups that constitute any given nation (xi). Literature is often seen as a “mirror” of the nation, to the extent that it succeeds in generating “stories about [the nation’s] identity” (46). Yet how, we need to ask, do particular works become central to the construction of the nation while others are discarded and rendered nonessential? What are the criteria for the classification of texts as either dispensable...

  6. 2 Our Family, Our Nation: Revisiting la gran familia puertorriqueña
    (pp. 51-89)

    Speaking to a public audience at the University of Puerto Rico in 1934, Emilio Belaval, one of the key figures of thegeneracióndel treinta , remarked, “In my opinion the great problem affecting Puerto Rico at the moment is that we are going through a truly messy period, mainly caused by the fact that we are still in a process of segregation from an extensive ethnic, religious, linguistic fabric, created by the homogeneous Spanish-ness that characterized the splendorous Empire of the Indies.”² The so-calleddesorden(mess), according to him, was partly the result of the identity crisis brought about...

  7. 3 Retrieving the Past: The “Silenced” Narrate
    (pp. 90-129)

    “Toda memoria es siempre una memoria rota, es decir, fracturada, fragmentada” (Every memory is always a broken memory, that is to say, fractured, fragmented), declares Carlos Pabón, echoing the title of one of Arcadio Díaz Quiñones’s most influential essays, “La memoria rota” (The broken memory) (239). Throughout the twentieth century Puerto Rico’smemoriaseems to have suffered multiple fractures, many of which remained neglected until the advent ofla nueva historia, a revisionist current that gave birth to the concept of “history from below.”¹ This impulse of rediscovery led a new generation of historians to challenge dominant versions of the...

  8. 4 Patriarchal Foundations: Contesting Gender/Sexual Paradigms
    (pp. 130-168)

    In addition to the principles of harmony/racial democracy and a glorified past that have been the subjects of the two previous chapters, the claim of unity under an authoritarian, yet benevolent, father figure completesla gran familia puertorriqueña. The myth’s reconceptualization of the hacienda economy as one sustained on the principles of justice and fairness has served to justify the perpetuation of patriarchy in Puerto Rican society. Today, the challenge to this system constitutes the most tangible literary contact zone between the literature of women authors on the island and that of the diaspora, and it demonstrates the benefits of...

  9. Epilogue
    (pp. 169-178)

    In 1957 DIVEDCO issued the bookletLa mujer y sus derechos(Women and their rights), written and edited by René Marqués. Published immediately afterLos derechos del hombre(The rights of man),La mujersought to trace how far the struggle for women’s rights had advanced and how much Puerto Rican women had gained in the process. The emphasis on women’s role in society, including their rights and obligations as citizens, reflected the democratic ideals associated withel muñocismo. From early in his campaigns, Muñoz Marín had stressed the need for women to be “active” participants in the ELA’s construction....

  10. Notes
    (pp. 179-210)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 211-222)
  12. Index
    (pp. 223-232)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-235)