Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos / Edition 1

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Overview

For more than two hundred years, Americans have imagined and described Cuba and its relationship to the United States by conjuring up a variety of striking images—Cuba as a woman, a neighbor, a ripe fruit, a child learning to ride a bicycle. Louis A. Perez Jr. offers a revealing history of these metaphorical and depictive motifs and discovers the powerful motives behind such characterizations of the island as they have persisted and changed since the early nineteenth century. Drawing on texts and visual images produced by Americans ranging from government officials, policy makers, and journalists to travelers, tourists, poets, and lyricists, Perez argues that these charged and coded images of persuasion and mediation were in service to America's imperial impulses over Cuba.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is exactly the kind of book policymakers and the chattering classes ought to be reading--something beyond the ignorant regurgitations of past thinking."--Our Man in Boston

"Brilliant. . . . Illustrate[s] how an avid US self-interest was transformed into selfless moral enactment."--The Nation

"Brilliant. . . . Perez's study--the latest in a series of perceptive books on US-Cuba relations by this prolific historian--illustrate[s] how an avid US self-interest was transformed into selfless moral enactment."--The Nation

"Perez draws on politicians' speeches, newspaper editorials and comic strips published over the century and a half before the revolution to show that Cubans were consistently represented not as agents of their own destiny but as innocent victims."--London Review of Books

"Argues that Cuba was a laboratory of American imperialism. . . . Skillfully analyses how the metaphor of neighbour and neighbourhood was employed to justify U.S. intervention in Cuba in the late 1890s. . . . Includes a remarkable number of pictorial descriptions of Cuba from a wide range of American newspapers and magazines."--Times Literary Supplement

"An indispensable study of U.S. policy towards Cuba. . . . A necessary preface for all other analyses of the subject."--Diplomatic History Review

"A quietly ferocious critique of US foreign policy as seen through the lens of Cuban-US relations."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"[An] excellent and highly recommended study. . . . One of the most important contributions to the debate about US-Cuban relations. . . . Should be required reading for policymakers, Latin Americanists, and Cuban exiles everywhere."--Latin American Review of Books

"In a thought-provoking conclusion, Perez describes how arrogant and infantilizing metaphors from the 19th century continue to shape American policy toward Cuba."--The Chronicle of Higher Education

"The writing is elegant and free of jargon. . . . Anyone interested in self-justifying narratives of empire and especially the place of metaphor in shaping those narratives, should read this seminal contribution to inter-American cultural history. "--The Americas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807832165
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2008
  • Series: Caravan Book Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis A. Perez Jr. is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History and director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the author of many award-winning books, including On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture and To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society (both from the University of North Carolina Press).

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Idea of Cuba
Chapter 1. Metaphor between Motive and Meaning
Chapter 2. Imagining Self-Interest
Chapter 3. Metaphor as Paradigm
Chapter 4. On Gratitude as Moral Currency of Empire
Chapter 5. Shifting Metaphors, Changing Meanings: Representing Revolution
Chapter 6. Through the Prism of Metaphor: Accommodation to Empire
Notes
Index

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