The New Man in Cuba: Culture and Identity in the Revolution by Ana Serra

By Ana Serra

 
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 not just introduced Fidel Castro to strength, it reworked Cuban cultural id, with a brand new thought of “Cubanness” for women and men that Che Guevara outlined because the “New Man.” In Serra’s exam of political speeches and award-winning novels that perpetuated this new id in the course of the youth of the Castro regime, she strains the increase and fall of the “New Man,” arguing that writers in this interval at the same time contributed to identification construction whereas criticizing its challenging facets, at the same time they making a song the praises of the regime. The New guy in Cuba is an in-depth dialogue of cultural politics and the politics of tradition emerging--evidenced through within the relentless wish of Cuban writers, artists, and intellectuals to create a “New guy” and carry tight to a innovative spirit. The authors Serra analyzes professed unconditional aid for the revolution, but their texts contained prophetic insights into the conflicts that the recent identification may generate, and encouraged fresh literary works that deconstruct the “New Man.”  
Grounded in poststructuralist theories, together with feminist, gender, and cultural experiences, the booklet makes a speciality of 5 pivotal works of the interval: Volunteer Teacher (1962), Memories of Underdevelopment (1965), The young children Say Goodbye (1968), Sacchario (1970), and The final lady and the subsequent Combat (1971), exhibiting how every one of those works responds to a selected crusade, second of challenge, or ideological strategy. extra, the epilogue translates 4 fresh novels by means of Leonardo Padura Fuentes as brazenly criticizing the recent guy. this can be the 1st monograph to make on hand to English readers the Spanish literary and political texts that laid the root for progressive tradition and id yet have been virtually missed as a result of the Cuban Revolution’s debatable background. Serra’s research of a bit defined cultural concept is helping elucidate the resilience of the revolution to this day.
 

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The closeness of events to the time of writing and the need for critics as well as writers to demonstrate political commitment hamstrung the analysis of literature produced in the first thirty years of the Revolution. For instance, Rogelio Rodríguez Coronel claimed that an essential characteristic of any criticism of literature written during the Revolution should be its partidismo or commitment to the Marxist ideology that in his view inspired the literature of the Cuban Revolution (17). Ineke Phaf ’s Novelando La Habana demonstrated the influence of sociological approaches to literature in an attempt to make literary criticism more “objective”: her book reads the corpus of novels written during the Revolution as a survey of life in Havana, providing a scrupulous compilation of the details of daily existence in the city but disregarding theoretical and textual concerns of these novels.

While in terms of freedom of form and themes the current era might seem more interesting than the early years, my interest lies in the revolutionary discourse that was foundational to the Cuban Revolution as it was originally conceived, not as it has evolved after the fall of the Soviet bloc. Thus, though the epilogue refers to the Special Period, it is aimed at connecting this phase of the Revolution with the discourse of the early years. From “Words to the Intellectuals” (1961) to the speech at the closing of the The Culture That the Revolution Created 17 First National Congress of Education and Culture, these landmark speeches delineate the development of cultural policy in the first years of the Revolution, which proved to be defining for the following two decades.

Reprinted by permission of Grupo Nuevo Milenio, Havana, Cuba. literacy teacher and peasant student. The poster that proclaimed this formula illustrated an additional aspect of this relationship, as it depicted two hands locked in a handshake: the white hand was labeled “literate” and the black one “illiterate” (see Fig. 1). Following the racial motif that the poster portrayed, Che Guevara revealed his idea of education at the University of Havana in these terms: “I have to ask it [the university] to paint itself black, to paint itself mulatto, not only among students but also among professors; let it paint itself the color of workers and peasants, let it paint itself the color of the people, because the university is not the property of anybody, it belongs to the people of Cuba” (“Que la Universidad,” Nuiry Sánchez 11).

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