Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Focus: Caribbean Studies and Literatures

Issue cover
Volume 41 of Mester includes articles of general interest and a special section focused on Caribbean studies and literatures.

Introduction

Introduction

Introduction to the volume 41 of Mester

Caribbean Literatures

The Unwilling Orphan: Trauma and the Decaying Bourgeoisie in Los soles truncos

In “The Unwilling Orphan:  Trauma and the Decaying Bourgeoisie in Los soles truncos,” I argue that traumatized orphans participate in their own alienation because they eschew societal transformations that weaken the colonial class status that they covet.  That is, they further fragment society since they elect precisely not to belong. René Marqués’s Los soles truncos (1958) utilizes traumatized orphans of the decaying bourgeoisie to criticize what the author perceives to be an oppressive U.S. regime in Puerto Rico.  Herein I question Valérie Loichot’s notion that orphans create their own narratives because of their lack of genealogical roots.  Because of trauma, the orphan protagonists in Los soles truncos adhere to a master narrative by favoring an outdated colonial mindset.  Afraid to relinquish their privilege, the criollo protagonists cannot promote racial equality and economic betterment for Afro-Puerto Ricans which exposes the folly of “oneness” in Puerto Rico.  In that vein, Marqués’s orphans function as metaphorical bridges between cultural and personal trauma to engage the reader on an empathetic individual level that expands to a societal level in which solely the bourgeoisie is victimized despite their history as aggressors.  By making the trauma exclusive to one class and race, hatred spreads towards other sectors which results in disjointed sectors sharing an island, but in isolation of one another.

Creating Revolutionary Cuba’s National Hero: The Cultural Capital of the Cimarrón

Through an examination of Cuban sociologist Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón, a ethnographic oral history of the life of an ex-slave, this essay consider the manners in which radical anti-slavery have been remembered and appropriated into national narratives, with attention to who has taken the responsibility of textualizing these memories, and who these memories are purported to represent.  Barnet’s Biografía narrates the life of Esteban Montejo (circa 1860-1973), a man born into Cuban slavery at the end of the nineteenth century, and provides the reader with a transcription of Montejo’s spoken testimony of his experiences as a slave, as a fugitive, as a paid mill-worker, and as a revolutionary independence fighter which was published during his lifetime as a testament to the trajectory of Cuban national identity.  To rescue his story and make it known nationally and internationally represents the hegemonic cultural authorities desire to create a more representative national imaginary through the inclusion of radical black figures.

La Habana de Antonio José Ponte y Pedro Juan Gutiérrez: el mapa de una ciudad marginal

This article traces new maps of Havana that have been marginalized from the official history, as well as from the fiction narratives of the nation in the last decades. Taking as main characters men and women who live outside of the logic of the political discourses, Cuban contemporary narrative deals with their trips to nowhere, a place where the only goal is to survive day after day.

“Tratar de decir lo que la gente no quiere oír:” Una entrevista a Pedro Juan Gutiérrez

Nacido en 1950 en Matanzas, Cuba, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez es periodista, poeta, escritor y pintor.  Entre 1998 y 2003, la casa editora Anagrama publicó sus obras más reconocidas. Éstas, forman parte del llamado “Ciclo de Centro Habana” e incluyen Trilogía sucia de la Habana, El Rey de la Habana, Animal Tropical, El insaciable hombre araña y Carne de perro. La escritura de Pedro Juan Gutiérrez se destaca por representar la vida cotidiana de los habitantes indigentes de Centro Habana y su lucha por sobrevivir en medio de la crisis económica que sufrió el país en los años noventa. La centralidad de personajes marginales en combinación con un estilo sencillo y un lenguaje visceral ha motivado a la crítica a comparar su escritura con la de llamados realistas sucios: Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski y Raymond Carver. Ganador del Premio Alfonso García-Ramos en el 2000 por su novela Animal tropical, el autor divide hoy en día su tiempo entre Centro Habana y Canarias.

Esta entrevista tuvo lugar en febrero del 2011, en la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba en el Vedado, Habana.

General

“Ahora, por ejemplo”: ahora as a discursive deictic in Chilean Spanish

Abstract: According to Silva-Corvalán (Ahora 67), the discourse marker ahora in Chilean Spanish has undergone a process of grammaticalization or subjectification, defined as a part of speech that changes away from objective description of the external situation and towards the expression of the speaker’s internal perspective or attitude (Torres Cacoullos and Schwenter 347). However, according to Silva Corvalán (Ahora 72), a lack of diachronic data makes it difficult to evince a change of this type. The present paper provides evidence for her hypothesis through the analysis of four interview transcriptions of middle-upper class Chilean speakers from El habla culta de Santiago de Chile: one male and one female in their late 20s, and one male and one female in their mid-60s. These interviews were published in 1979, and through an analysis of the data from Silva-Corvalán’s 1999 study as well as the use of ahora by these four speakers, I show that ahora may have already begun to undergo a process of subjectification at that time.

Accounting for Variation of Diminutive Formation in Porteño Spanish

Diminutive formation, although highly productive in Spanish, is not uniform across all dialects; and even within a specific dialect there is a certain degree of variation amongst speakers. The Maximum Entropy model (Hayes and Wilson) is a probabilistic theory that captures free variation by assigning weights to different phonotactical constraints that are applied in a formation process. The data used in this study, 650 diminutives collected from each one of six different Spanish native speakers of Porteño (Buenos Aires) Spanish, were processed using the Maximum Entropy model in order to specify the constraints that restricted their formation process. In addition, the interaction of this process with phonological processes was drawn for the particular case of words ending in /s/. The proposed constraints and interaction with phonology achieved a very significant account for the variation of diminutive formation in Porteño Spanish.

El desafío de publicar una revista trasnacional y bilingüe. Una entrevista a Rose Mary Salum

Mexicana de ascendencia libanesa, Rose Mary Salum sobresale en el ámbito literario dado su incansable esfuerzo por fomentar vínculos entre culturas y naciones tanto en su obra como escritora y antóloga como en su revista trasnacional y bilingüe Literal: Latin American Voices. El 30 de abril de 2012 la organización “Motus Sodalis” y el UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese auspiciaron dos eventos con Rose Mary Salum. El primero fue una lectura y discusión sobre su cuento “Una de ellas.” La conversación giró en torno al tema de la imperfección del lenguaje como modalidad de expresión; un reto al cual se enfrenta Rose Mary frecuentemente como escritora y como editora de una revista bilingüe y trasnacional. Por la tarde, Rose Mary Salum profundizó en este tema durante su charla “Literal Magazine: Connecting Cultures Across Languages,” en la cual expuso el proceso que la llevó a crear la revista, cómo ha evolucionado desde su origen y los numerosos desafíos que conlleva este ambicioso proyecto. Tras su presentación, generosamente me concedió una entrevista en la que continuamos el diálogo sobre Literal.

Reviews

Cortínez, Verónica y Manfred Engelbert. La tristeza de los tigres y los misterios de Raúl Ruiz

In my review I stress the four main contributions of the last monography on Raoul Ruiz' cinema, published by professors Cortinez and Engelbert: the recovery of the contextual framework of late 60s Chilean cinema; the brilliant clarifications about the impact of Literature in his long and short movies; the fully understanding of the director´s main stylistic features; and the complete analysis of "Tres Tristes Tigres", his first motion picture.

Cabrera, Ana Maria. Felicitas Guerrero: "la mujer mas hermosa de la Republica"

A catorce años de su primera publicación vuelve a editarse en versión escolar la novela Felicitas Guerrero de la profesora y escritora argentina Ana María Cabrera. Felicitas Guerrero es una novela histórica que narra el asesinato en 1872 de una joven de alta sociedad a manos de un enamorado despechado. Con evidente conocimiento de la crítica feminista contemporánea, Cabrera destaca temas tan importantes como el matrimonio, el trabajo, la sexualidad, la violencia contra la mujer, la escritura femenina y las disposiciones jurídicas que garantizan su estado de dependencia. Asimismo, la autora provecha la coyuntura que presenta el momento histórico que abarca la vida de Felicitas para vincular el desarrollo de la nueva conciencia feminista con la consolidación de la nación argentina. Tanto en su forma como en su contenido Felicitas Guerrero es una novela que pudo haber sido escrita en el siglo XIX pero que tuvo que esperar 126 años para ser rescatada de entre las cenizas de la leyenda popular.