The New Man in Cuba: Culture and Identity in the Revolution

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The Cuban Revolution of 1959 not only brought Fidel Castro to power, it transformed Cuban cultural identity, with a new notion of “Cubanness” for men and women that Che Guevara defined as the “New Man.” In Serra’s examination of political speeches and award-winning novels that perpetuated this new identity during the formative years of the Castro regime, she traces the rise and fall of the “New Man,” arguing that writers during this period simultaneously contributed to identity creation while criticizing ...

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Overview

 
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 not only brought Fidel Castro to power, it transformed Cuban cultural identity, with a new notion of “Cubanness” for men and women that Che Guevara defined as the “New Man.” In Serra’s examination of political speeches and award-winning novels that perpetuated this new identity during the formative years of the Castro regime, she traces the rise and fall of the “New Man,” arguing that writers during this period simultaneously contributed to identity creation while criticizing its problematic aspects, even as they appeared to be singing the praises of the regime. The New Man in Cuba is an in-depth discussion of cultural politics and the politics of culture emerging--evidenced by in the relentless desire of Cuban writers, artists, and intellectuals to create a “New Man” and hold tight to a revolutionary spirit. The authors Serra analyzes professed unconditional support for the revolution, yet their texts contained prophetic insights into the conflicts that the new identity would generate, and influenced recent literary works that deconstruct the “New Man.”  
Grounded in poststructuralist theories, including feminist, gender, and cultural studies, the book focuses on five pivotal works of the period: Volunteer Teacher (1962), Memories of Underdevelopment (1965), The Children Say Goodbye (1968), Sacchario (1970), and The Last Woman and the Next Combat (1971), showing how each of these works responds to a particular campaign, moment of crisis, or ideological process. Further, the epilogue interprets four recent novels by Leonardo Padura Fuentes as openly criticizing the New Man. This is the first monograph to make available to English readers the Spanish literary and political texts that laid the basis for revolutionary culture and identity but were almost ignored because of the Cuban Revolution’s controversial history. Serra’s study of a little explained cultural idea helps elucidate the resilience of the revolution to this day.
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813030722
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Series: Contemporary Cuba
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Ana Serra is assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at American University. Her articles have appeared in Journal of Gender Studies and Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, among others.
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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Acronyms     xiii
Introduction. The Culture That the Revolution Created     1
Speaking at Cross Purposes: The Failed Identification between Teachers and Students in the Literacy Campaign     28
Body versus Mind: An Intellectual's Memoirs Expose His Negative Image     53
Harvesting the Nation: How Cuba Became Unified in the Historical Zafra     87
Frustrated Mothers, Virgin Workers, and Masked Whores: The "New Woman" at Work     109
Toward a Revolutionary Utopia: Fluid Identities in a Child's Account     134
Epilogue. Identity and Its Discontents: Leonardo Padura Fuentes Looks Back at the New Man     156
Notes     177
Works Cited     187
Index     205
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