Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

On a cool night in April 2010, Crime against Humanity—a play about “Puerto Rican political prisoners”—was staged at my home institution, Clark University. Written, performed, and produced by the National Boricua Human Rights Network (Chicago Chapter), it offered a hero-...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

I’ve wanted to write this book since I was sixteen, and it would not have been possible without the people who sustained and blessed me with their help. ¡Gracias, mi gente! My dad, Ing. Aníbal Acosta Ayala bravely read the entire manuscript in record time. The book has an introduction thanks to the impressive...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-45

In a world in which Chechen, Catalan, Scottish, and Sri Lankan nationalists, among others, command significant attention calling for national liberation, Puerto Ricans have perplexingly rejected political independence.1 Puerto Rican independence (through political action or by force...

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1. Literary Tradition and the Canon of Independence

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pp. 46-79

His fictional young activists listen to and are inspired by the living dreams of the real-life Juan Mari Brás, the militant pro-independence founder of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. What stands out about this section of the novel is that it crops up as a contrast to Benny, the...

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2. Breaking Tradition

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pp. 80-109

Puerto Rican national culture has been built up by the great works of its literary canon, itself shaped by institutions like universities and cultural centers, by documents like classroom syllabi and anthologies, by the media that promote culture, by activities like literary festivals, by communities of culture that award prizes, etc. The communities that produced...

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3. From the Lush Land to the Traffic Jam

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pp. 110-131

Puerto Rican culture from every era shows a deep and abiding love for the island itself, for the geographic territory (in its olden incarnation), which is more often than not referred to as La Isla; the capitalization is the mark of an exceptionalist conception of the nation. This affection for...

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4. Dream History, Dream Nation

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pp. 132-155

A satisfying and long-standing cultural mechanism for those who regret that independence never came to pass is to rewrite/reinvent Puerto Rican history in order to recycle, reimagine, and reconstitute the bits of the past that relate to (dashed) hopes for an independent nation. From these arise...

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5. Dreaming in Spanglish

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pp. 156-175

If the only Nuyorican writers you have read are the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Esmeralda Santiago—among the most popular and anthologized of Latino writers—you would think all Puerto Ricans everywhere wish for the island’s independence. Nevertheless, there is a divide between writers...

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Conclusion

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pp. 176-178

Culture, as is evident and well-known, is most compelling when it finds stories and tropes that explore, capture, and summarize significant, shared emotions from the personal, sociopolitical, and economic stew from which it arose. The dream nation—the fiction of Puerto Rico as...

Biographical Appendix

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pp. 179-182

Notes

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pp. 183-186

Works Cited

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pp. 187-200

Index

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pp. 201-206

About the Author

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p. 207