Alejo Carpentier was one of the greatest Latin American novelists of the twentieth century, as well as a musicologist, journalist, cultural promoter, and diplomat. His fictional world issues from an encyclopedic knowledge of the history, art, music, and literature of Latin America and Europe. Carpentier’s novels and stories are the enabling discourse of today’s Latin American narrative, and his interpretation of Latin American history has been among the most influential. Carpentier was the first to provide a comprehensive view of Caribbean history that centered on the contribution of Africans, above and beyond the differences created by European cultures and languages. Alejo Carpentier: The Pilgrim at Home, first published in 1977 and updated for this edition, covers the life and works of the great Cuban novelist, offering a new perspective on the relationship between the two. González Echevarría offers detailed readings of the works La música en Cuba, The Kingdom of This World, The Lost Steps, and Explosion in a Cathedral. In a new concluding chapter, he takes up Carpentier’s last years, his relationship with the Cuban revolutionary regime, and his last two novels, El arpa y la sombra and La consagración de la primavera, in which Carpentier reviewed his life and career.
Widely known for his novels El reino de este mundo and Los pasos perdidos, the Swiss-born Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier incorporated music in his fiction extensively, for instance in titles, in analogies with musical forms, in scenes depicting performances, recordings and broadcasts, and in characters’ discussions of musical issues. Chornik’s study focuses on Carpentier’s writings from a musicological perspective, bridging intermediality and intertextuality through an examination of music as formative, as form, and as performed. The emphasis lies on the novels Los pasos perdidos, El acoso, Concierto barroco and La consagración de la primavera, and on his unknown essay Los orígenes de la música y la música primitiva, the repository of ideas for Los pasos perdidos, included here for the first time as facsimile and in English translation. Chornik’s study will appeal to scholars and students in literary studies, cultural studies, musicology and ethnomusicology, and to a specifically interdisciplinary readership.
Situates, for the first time, Breton's personality and work in the context of the Surrealist investigation of language susceptible to communicating the 'true functioning of the mind'. The visual and the verbal aspects of Surrealism are not considered in isolation but within an integrated view of experimental activity pertaining to language/communication in general.
As a philosophical and social concept, alienation covers a broad range of mental states, both normal and abnormal. Correspondingly, a wide range of literary forms has been employed to deal with this important theme. In Three Authors of Alienation, an exploration of the literary expression of alienation, M. Ian Adams discusses the works of three contemporary Latin American authors. The fiction of María Luisa Bombal, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Alejo Carpentier reflects alienation, disgust with life, and a feeling of nothingness arising from the conditions of modern society. However, each author treats the theme differently. In La última niebla, María Luisa Bombal uses poetic imagery to create the emotional life of the protagonist. Juan Carlos Onetti portrays the schizoid extreme of alienation with a complex of symbols based on changes of vision caused by the mental states of his characters. In Los pasos perdidos, Alejo Carpentier presents the problem of the modern alienated artist who attempts to rid himself of his social alienation by changing times and cultures. In his close analysis of the works discussed, Adams considers each literary element in its context and also in terms of its relation to the larger artistic vision of the author. In addition, he places the works of the three authors in the greater perspective of modern social problems by discussing the concepts of social alienation proposed by Erich Fromm and Erich Kahler. His conclusion is that, although disgust with life and feelings of meaninglessness are at the heart of the experiences of the characters of all three authors, only in Alejo Carpentier’s Los pasos perdidos are social conditions the major cause of alienation. In the works of Bombal and Onetti, alienation is a result not of social conditions, but of factors unique to the characters’ personalities and circumstances. Three Authors of Alienation is a solid contribution to criticism of contemporary Latin American narrative. Adams’s projection of a social problem into the realm of aesthetic experience yields intriguing interpretations of both the problem and the literature.
This book offers a richly detailed panorama of contemporary Spanish Caribbean literature and culture, as well as a compelling theoretical exploration of how authors of the Spanish Caribbean (Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico) have incorporated the cultural legacy of Africa into their narrative fictions. The book offers an in-depth analysis of cultural and religious expressions associated with Africa in the Caribbean and of the complex codification associated with the representation of those expressions. Voices Out of Africa explores how literary representations of Africa in the Spanish Caribbean construct a self-referential discourse about Africa in a Caribbean landscape, and examines how Afro-Caribbean practices, rituals, local memories, and belief systems inform such discourse. It is a textual journey through the multiple layers of the region's cultural expressions. It is also a work of scholarship and theory accessible to scholars and to interested laypersons in Afro-Caribbean lore and culture. Julia Cuervo Hewitt is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Pennsylvania State University.