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A World among These Islands

Essays on Literature, Race, and National Identity in Antillean America

Roberto Marquez

Publication Year: 2010

Caribbean literature and culture have all too often been viewed in fragmented terms, without attention to the broader commonalities of the region. In this collection of essays written over many years, Roberto Márquez offers a more encompassing vision, one that respects the individual traditions of particular locales, languages, and cultures but also sees the larger themes that bind the area's literary heritage and history. Márquez begins by making the case for a genuinely Caribbean literary criticism, one that moves beyond the colonial history of fragmentation and isolation and the critical insularity of more conventional approaches. His pan-Caribbean perspective provides a point of departure for the scrutiny of the evolving dramas of race, nationality, nation-building, and cultural articulation in the region. Márquez then focuses specifically on Puerto Rico—its literary and socio—historical experience, the particularities of its "New Creole" incarnations, and the effects of waves of migration to the United States. In the final section of the book, he discusses writers and cultural figures from the other Spanish, Anglophone, and Francophone territories and the ways in which they engage or reflect the defining themes of literature, race, and national identity in Antillean America.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press


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pp. i-iii

Title Page

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p. iv-iv

Copyright Page

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p. v-v

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Originally presented as part of a (1975) conference “effort to rescue literary studies of the Caribbean from its long-standing invisibility and oblivion,” “Beyond a Critical Insularity” was first published in a special (Summer 1983) issue of Ideologies and Literature, edited by Ileana Rodríguez and Marc Zimmerman. The Latino(a) Research Review ...

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pp. 1-9

Foundational site and crucible of the European colonial (and later United States neocolonial) enterprise in the Americas, the Caribbean is also the world pioneering locale of that complex process of trans national globalization and “modernity” that was there first set in motion. It was in this archipelago of isles (rimlands, enclaves, and territories)1 coupled ...

I: Seeing the Caribbean Whole

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Beyond a Critical Insularity

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pp. 13-26

Speaking before a group of translators, literary critics, and teachers of literature gathered at a meeting of the Comparative Literature Association, some while ago now, and to all appearances the only Caribbeanist among this distinguished assembly, I took occasion to address what strikes me still as the obligation more fully to engage the Antillean ...

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Raza, Racismo, E Historia: “Are All My Bones from There?”

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pp. 27-48

It must now surely be apparent to all at the start of a new millennium that the strategies of artful dodging and denial which all too often tend still to meet provocative questions about race, racism, and history such as that lyrically posed by Nicol

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Nationalism, Nation, and Ideology: Trends in the Emergence of a Caribbean Literature

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pp. 49-100

Reading Derek Walcott’s (Saint Lucia, 1930) poetic meditation on the impact and legacy of the Enterprise of the Indies, “Origins,” one is struck by the holistic sweep of a single line: “Lost animist, I rechristened trees.”1 Resonant with multiple reference, it synthesizes as it points to a critical dimension in the historical and cultural evolution of the Caribbean: the continuous process of inventive and creatively adaptive ...

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Seeing Fragments/Whole

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pp. 101-112

Not so very long ago Caribbean literature and literary criticism, in­clusively considered, looked a fractured, balkanized, “orbitally” seg­mented affair. In keeping with what historian Franklin Knight aptly describes as the “fragmented nationalism” evident in the archipelago’s diversity of political arrangements, states, territories, regional sub­...

II: Notes of a ’Nother Rican

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Sojourners, Settlers, Castaways, and Creators: Of Puerto Rico Past and Puerto Ricans Present

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pp. 115-136

The history of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the Post-Indigenous Era, the peculiar character of their association with Europe and with what, with provocative imprecision, the nineteenth-century Cuban writer José Martí liked to call “the Other, Anglo-Saxon America,” properly begins with the second, 1493, voyage of Christopher Columbus. The first of his expeditions actually conceived and organized as a full-fledged colonizing...

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One Boricua’s Baldwin

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pp. 137-158

When the word finally came, it was already dimly half-expected. He had been ill and, the bulletins of radio bemba (word of mouth) had it, the illness was serious, quite possibly life-threatening, nothing to be toyed with. Reports from Amherst—where until recently we had each found a relatively compatible, putatively temporary home—had lately turned ...

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Boricuas, J

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pp. 159-166

Appearing only a year after its English-language original and in the author’s own Boricua “translation,” the Spanish-language version of Esmeralda Santiago’s When I Was Puerto Rican includes a brief fore-word, absent from the American first edition. The new preface explicitly articulates the specific cultural context, process of genesis, and narrative ...

III: Occasions, Views, and Reviews

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“Soul of a Continent”

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pp. 169-179

Writing in 1888 from his exile of more than seven years in New York, the intellectual architect and political organizer of Cuban independence, José Martí, then only thirty-five years old, privately disclosed the broad outlines of an enterprise to which his omnivorous attention was consistently and ineluctably drawn. “Do you know that, after eighteen years of thinking about it,” he confided to his friend and colleague, ...

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A Poet’s Century

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pp. 180-188

The year 2002 marks the centennial anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s internationally acclaimed national poet Nicolás Guillén. Born in the provincial city of Camaguey on July 10, 1902, Guillén was the son of a silversmith turned journalist and newspaper editor who, as a member of the island’s black middle class, became a leader in the local branch of the National Liberal Party. His father’s assassination ...

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The Stoic and the Sisyphean: John Hearne and the Angel of History

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pp. 189-227

Undoubtedly one of the most accomplished, articulate, and distinguished of contemporary writers from the Caribbean, John Hearne is also, after V. S. Naipaul, quite possibly the most controversial and enigmatic. Though he is less internationally celebrated than his Trinidadian colleague, Hearne’s fiction has, nonetheless, been an object of the most ...

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Grenada: History, Neocolonialism, and Culture in the Contemporary Caribbean

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pp. 228-242

Seen in the context of a long progression of imperious intrusions into the archipelago by external metropolitan powers and empire-builders, the invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983, by a final total of approximately 6,000 U.S. Marines, Rangers, and paratroopers supported by heavy artillery, tanks, and the most sophisticated weaponry gives one a rather bluntly palpable appreciation

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El Se

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pp. 243-246

Dominican President Joaqu

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“The Pirate Ambush of Remorse”

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pp. 247-252

Between 1929 and the mid-fifties the Caribbean saw a succession of historic, transitional, sociopolitical, and cultural realignments. Eclipsed by the vigorously imperial presence of the United States after 1898, European hegemony in the region was decisively, if not absolutely, superseded by a neocolonial Pax Americana. Seigniorial economies ...


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pp. 253-264

Back Cover

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p. 265-265

E-ISBN-13: 9781613760291
E-ISBN-10: 1613760299
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558498501
Print-ISBN-10: 1558498508

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: N/A
Publication Year: 2010