Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I would like to express my gratitude to the lectores and lectoras, as well as to all those who granted me interviews, without which this book would have been incomplete. I also thank the cigar workers of Cuba, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic...

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Prologue to the English Edition

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pp. xi-xii

Any scholar who has conducted research on Cuba knows how difficult it is to travel to the island and what a great challenge it is to do fieldwork once there, given the difficult economic and political conditions present in the country. Policies of both...

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xviii

In Cuba, in the town of San Juan y Martínez in 2003, I had the good fortune of meeting Santos Segundo Domínguez Mena, an eighty-eight-year-old man. It was in this town that he shared with me his life’s story. For sixty-five years, Mr. Domínguez Mena...

Part One: Reading Aloud in Cigar Factories Until 1900

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pp. 1-58

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One: Cuba

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pp. 3-44

I would like to begin with the eighth stanza of the poem “To Cuba,” which was written in 1924 by a relatively unknown poet, Alberto Castilla y del Busto: "I see the tobacco stretched out in the field in Vueltabajo, a prodigious crop...

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Two: From Cuba to Spain: Reading Aloud in Emilia Pardo Bazán's La Tribuna

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pp. 45-58

When Amparo, the protagonist of the novel La Tribuna (The Tribune of the People, 1882), by prolific Spanish writer Emilia Pardo Bazán, showed up for work for the first time at the cigar factory, there was little she was capable of...

Part Two: "Workshop Graduates" and "Workers in Exile": Reading Aloud in the United States and Puerto Rico, 1868-1931

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pp. 59-153

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Three: Key West

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pp. 61-84

The first cigar workers to come to Key West, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, arrived in 1868, that is, at the beginning of the Ten Years’ War. Since Cuba was in conflict and in chaotic circumstances that did not lend themselves to cigar production...

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Four: Tampa

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pp. 85-142

On the morning of December 22, 1903, two men were having a heated argument in the bar of the Restaurante Lorenzana in Tampa, Florida. The dispute reached such proportions that both drew their guns and fired at each other. The shooting continued...

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Five: Luisa Capetillo: Lectora in Puerto Rico, Tampa, and New York

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pp. 143-153

On July 24, 1915, Luisa Capetillo got dressed as she always did: she put on her shirt, her necktie, her trousers, her jacket, and her narrow-brimmed hat.1 Dressed that way, she stepped out onto the streets of Havana, but she was quickly arrested on Neptuno...

Part Three: Cigar Factory Lectores in Cuba, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic 1902-2005

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Six: Cuba, 1902-1959

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pp. 157-165

In 1903, at the dawn of the twentieth century, Cuba was born as an independent nation, and reading aloud in cigar factories resumed. Víctor Muñoz, El Abogadito [the lawyer], was not an attorney, but, rather, one of the most dynamic and sophisticated...

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Seven: Cuba, 1959-2005

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pp. 166-205

Santos Segundo Domínguez Mena, who was a lector for sixty-five years, said the following about reading aloud before 1959: "First I was a lector in the selection facility, and later in cigar factories. There was a sort of contract...

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Eight: Mexico: The Echoes of Reading

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pp. 206-212

Reading aloud in cigar facilities in Mexico began during the Ten Years’ War in Cuba between 1868 and 1878. It was brought to Mexico by Cubans and Spaniards who were fleeing the war and who settled in the state of Veracruz. In addition to its natural beauty...

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Nine: The Dominican Republic: Reading Aloud and the Future

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pp. 213-220

Thus does José Collado Polanco, a cigar worker from Tamboril, a town situated in the province of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, remember his time in the cigar factory. The region is noted for its idyllic beauty and because...

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Epilogue

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pp. 221-226

Over 140 years have passed since reading aloud became an established practice in cigar factories in Cuba. As we have seen, although the practice was banned several times, especially in nineteenth-century colonial Cuba, the institution remains afoot...

Images

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Notes

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pp. 227-248

Bibliography

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pp. 249-260

Index

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pp. 261-268