- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0066
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0066
The antislavery narratives refer to a group of works written in Cuba during the late 1830s under the tutelage of Domingo del Monte, Cuba’s most important literary promoter of the century. A member of the prestigious Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País, Del Monte daringly proposed an Academia Cubana de Literatura, which Spain’s maximum colonial authority in Cuba, Captain General Tacón, suppressed. Instead, Del Monte organized a literary circle from his home, first in Matanzas and later in Havana, where he shared his voluminous library with writer friends and instructed them to write a Cuban-style literature that included, for the first time, the black slave. The antislavery works did not promote violence. Rather, they engaged the reader to question the brutal slavery system and side not with the white master but with the defenseless black slave. These works include those by slave poet Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiografía (written in 1835); Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s novel Francisco (written in 1839); Félix Tanco y Bosmeniel’s short stories Escenas de la vida privada en la Isla de Cuba (written in 1838); and Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés (the original edition was written in 1839; the definitive edition was completed in 1882). Though mild by today’s standards, the antislavery narratives could not be published in Cuba during the time of writing and represented a threat to the island’s sugarocracy. To these works we add Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab (1841). She was not a member of the Del Monte circle, but while living in Spain she wrote a novel with antislavery sentiments.
There are a few full-length studies that focus on the antislavery narrative. Luis 1990 provides information about this important period and the works and studies of the slave figure during slavery, after the abolition of slavery, in the republic, and during the revolution. Williams 1994 studies the same theme but limits the scope to the 19th century. Articles such as Bueno 1988, Friol 1968, and Luis 1981 provide historical and literary context for the antislavery nature of these narratives. Williams 2000 concentrates on the sexual representation of the black and mulatto female character during the antislavery period but also in the 20th century.
Bueno, Salvador. “La narrativa antiesclavista en Cuba.” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 451–452 (1988):169–186.
Useful discussion of the early works that define the antislavery narrative. Corrects misconception of the time in which Manzano wrote his autobiography and situates this work as a precursor of the antislavery narratives.
Cobb, Martha K. “The Slave Narrative and the Black Literary Tradition.” In The Art of Slave Narrative: Original Essays in Criticism and Theory. Edited by John Sekora and Darwin T. Turner, 36–44. Macomb: Western Illinois University Press, 1982.
Comparative study of writings of Manzano with those of Frederick Douglass and Olaudah Equiano.
Del Monte, Domingo. “Dos poetas negros: Plácido y Manzano.” In Escritos de Domingo del Monte. Vol. 2. Edited by José A. Fernández de Castro, 149–150. Havana, Cuba: Cultural, 1929.
Originally published in 1845, discusses the works of Manzano and Plácido. Given Manzano’s slave condition, Del Monte claims that Manzano was the better poet.
Friol, Roberto. “La novela cubana en el siglo XIX.” Unión, La Habana 6.4 (1968): 178–207.
Traces the origins of the Cuban novel, which includes the antislavery narrative.
Luis, William. “La novela antiesclavista: Texto, contexto y escritura.” Cuadernos Americanos 236.3 (1981): 103–116.
Takes into account the context of the antislavery novels.
Luis, William. Literary Bondage: Slavery in Cuban Narrative. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
Provides a periodization of the antislavery narratives, from their inception in the 19th century up to the 1980s. In the early period Luis concentrates on the Del Monte group and the writings associated with his literary circle.
Schulman, Ivan. “The Portrait of the Slave: Ideology and Aesthetics in the Cuban Antislavery Novel.” Annals of the New York Academy of Science 292.1 (1977): 356–367.
Supports realism and the author’s strategies to avoid censorship.
Williams, Claudette. Charcoal and Cinnamon: The Politics of Color in Spanish Caribbean Literature. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2000.
Discusses the changing role of black and mulatto women in Cuban literature portrayed through a European lens.
Williams, Lorna V. The Representation of Slavery in Cuban Fiction. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994.
Studies the works of Manzano, Gómez de Avellaneda, and Suárez y Romero, then adds Antonio Zambrana y Vásquez’s El negro Francisco (Havana, Cuba: Letras Cubanas, 1978) and Martín Morúa Delgado’s Sofía (Barcelona: Linkgua Ediciones, 2009), and all articulate an emerging discourse. Lacks bibliography.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Ancient Andean Textiles
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Andean Music
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Brazil, The
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Atlantic Creoles
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial Legal History of Peru
- Colonial New Granada
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Dependency Theory in Latin American History
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500–1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Dutch in South America and the Caribbean, The
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Economies from Independence to Industrialization
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- From "National Culture" to the "National Popular" and the ...
- Gaucho Literature
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guaraní and Their Legacy, The
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Guatemala (Colonial Period)
- Guatemala (Modern & National Period)
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Indigenous Voices in Literature
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- José María Arguedas and Early 21st Century Cultural and Po...
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Magical Realism
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Nationalism
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Pastoralism in the Andes
- Paz, Octavio
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Ponce de León
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in 19th-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-conquest Mesoamerican States, The
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Puerto Rican Literature
- Religions in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Santo Domingo
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Slavery in Brazil
- São Paulo
- Spanish American Arab Literature
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Spiritual Conquest of Latin America, The
- Telenovelas and Melodrama in Latin America
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Venezuelan Literature
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas