The Cuban writer Nicolas Guillen has traditionally been considered a poet of mestizaje, a term that, whilst denoting racial mixture, also refers to a homogenizing nationalist discourse that proclaims the harmonious nature of Cuban identity. Yet, many aspects of Guillen's work enhance black Cuban and Afro-Cuban identities. Miguel Arnedo-Gomez explores this paradox in Guillen's pre-Cuban Revolution writings placing them alongside contemporaneous intellectual discourses that feigned adherence to the homogenizing ideology whilst upholding black interests. On the basis of links with these and other 1930s Cuban discourses, Arnedo-Gomez shows Guillen's work to contain a message of black unity aimed at the black middle classes. Furthermore, against a tendency to seek a single authorial consciousness-be it mulatto or based on a North American construction of blackness-Guillen's prose and poetry are also characterized as a struggle for a viable identity in a socio-culturally heterogeneous society.
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Number of pages: 324
Weight: 399 g
Dimensions: 221 x 153 x 20 mm
Uniting Blacks in a Raceless Nation is a fascinating study of the life and art of the national poet of a nation we considered an enemy until recently. This well-researched work sheds light on many unknown dimensions of his life, poetry, and struggle. Equally, it is a study of the black rights movement in Cuba and shows how advanced it was as compared to the United States. It is the best biography of Guillen. It is a required reading for black rights activists and scholars as well as poets and students of poetry. * The Washington BookReview *
After reading this book, I must commend the author for his serious investigations into the development of anxiety in many Caribbean thinkers who reflect on the consequences of the meeting of several races in the Caribbean basin. Further, this book is an excellent contribution to many other books about Afro-Caribbean literature, and it is suitable for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as for academics who work on the complex theme of Cuban identity. [Translated from original Spanish] * Revista Iberoamericana *