Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Revolution, nation-building and the book

This book looks at a much-misunderstood aspect of the Cuban Revolution: the place of literature and the creation of a literary culture. Based on over 100 interviews with a wide range of actors involved in the structures and processes that produce, regulate, promote and consume literature on the island, it goes beyond the conventional approach (the study of individual authors and texts) and the canon of texts known outside Cuba. The book thus presents a historical analysis of the evolution of literary culture from 1959 to the present, as well as a series of more detailed case studies (on writing workshops, the Havana Book Festival and the publishing infrastructure) that reveal how this culture is created in contemporary Cuba. It contributes a new and complex vision of revolutionary Cuban culture.

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Habana Blues and the framing of diasporic cubanía
Susan Thomas

Emigration has marked too strongly the artistic level on our stages. Not only have my colleagues from the university and my contemporaries from the neighborhood left en masse, but Cuban culture has a percentage of its representatives – some would say a majority – outside our borders . (Sánchez, 2010

in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
Par Kumaraswami, Antoni Kapcia and Meesha Nehru

previously been disadvantaged in employment, wages and access to services. Furthermore, in 1959 discrimination was prohibited, and a strategy began to re-value Afro-Cuban culture, rescuing hitherto marginalised dance forms and acknowledging the Afro-Cuban contribution to Cuban history. Although this approach often treated black culture in ‘folkloric’ terms (with those advocating black consciousness being considered politically divisive), Cuba’s greater involvement in Africa and the Caribbean in the 1970s had an impact in re-valorising black Cuba and the African heritage

in Literary culture in Cuba
The role of the Centro de Formación Literaria Onelio Jorge Cardoso and the movement of talleres literarios
Par Kumaraswami, Antoni Kapcia and Meesha Nehru

globalised world. As a consequence, official policy became less concerned with defining Cuban culture in explicitly political or ideological terms. As part of this process of redefinition, cultural producers, especially writers, gained new visibility, while the government embarked on a new campaign to democratise access to cultural consumption and production. It was believed that encouraging the population to participate in cultural and educational activities would re-engage people with some of the Revolution’s core values and institutions. The Centro Onelio project was

in Literary culture in Cuba
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Immigration and music in Cosas que dejé en La Habana
Isabel Santaolalla

). Music, too, plays an important role in adding to the film’s ethnic legitimacy. Neither wholly syncretic nor entirely idiosyncratic, the music in Cosas hovers between these two extremes. From one point of view the almost exclusively Cuban – rather than Spanish – nature of the soundtrack represents the film’s respect for Cuban culture. At the same time, however, composed by José María Vitier (second only in status, as a Cuban

in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
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Par Kumaraswami, Antoni Kapcia and Meesha Nehru

the expected conflict between communist state and intellectual freedom (the caso Padilla (Padilla affair), or Reinaldo Arenas, most typically). Conversely, studies of modern Cuban culture have often tended to consider the Revolution’s political, economic or social transformation as a backdrop to the cultural patterns analysed, as the context for a specific development or as a restrictive environment, creating opportunities but also tensions and conflicts (see Chapter 2). In other words, rarely have such studies seen culture as central to the other transformations

in Literary culture in Cuba
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The years of radicalisation and consolidation
Par Kumaraswami, Antoni Kapcia and Meesha Nehru

UNEAC (Abreu Arcia, 2007: 140). The content of the Congress’s formal declaration has been discussed at length, with special emphasis rightly paid to the discourse of clearing out corrupt and pernicious elements on the basis of sexuality, class, religious belief, participation, contamination by residence abroad, and so on [MY; CL; AAM; PAF; RGZ]. Likewise, ample attention has been paid to the Congress’s effects and consequences for cultural life: the insularisation of Cuban culture; an acritical dependence on Soviet models, including socialist realism; and the

in Literary culture in Cuba
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The years of crisis and reassessment
Par Kumaraswami, Antoni Kapcia and Meesha Nehru

-existing material and because the press’s lack of self-generated funding meant that the production–purchase price correlation was complex and precarious. Unsurprisingly, given the limited textual space available, over the three years, poetry dominated (22.1 per cent), compared with other genres (Soler Cedre, 1997: 23). Tourism, as the immediate response to the crisis, also raised questions for literary culture. While many aspects of Cuban culture, especially performance-based forms, were more easily marketable to tourists, already attracting a minority of visitors, literature did

in Literary culture in Cuba
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Lisa Shaw and Rob Stone

gender and race. Remaining with the Cuban influence, in Chapter 11 Susan Thomas explores the soundtrack of the film Habana Blues (Havana Blues, 2005), by Spanish director Benito Zambrano, in the context of the increasingly transnational nature of Cuban culture provoked by the exodus of young émigrés in the 1990s and early 2000s. She focuses on how the film uses song to contribute to current debates about diasporic Cuban

in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema