By Rafael Rojas (auth.)
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Additional resources for Essays in Cuban Intellectual History
28 Let us take, for example, the case of Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar, Fernando Ortiz’s most read and commented text. The first edition of the work (Havana, Jesús Montero, 1940) appeared preceded by a “Prologue” by the Cuban historian Herminio Portell Vilá and an “Introduction” by the Polish-British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, who was at that time was a professor at Yale and would remain so until his death in 1942. Both readings of the same text were born from different referential fields and were oriented toward different audiences, without provoking irreconcilable tension.
The defeat of Spain was, for some, the definitive proof of the decline of Hispanic civilization (perhaps even of Iberian civilization) and, in the more extreme opinions, of Latin civilization as a whole. For others, the same defeat signaled the “barbaric” expansionism typical of Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture. 7 The historiography of 1898, both inside and outside Cuba, however, has not taken stock of the extensive proliferation of discourse that the war of 1898 generated in the island’s letters.
Again, it must be insisted, in light of the errors this text has originated, that Ortiz does not find the complexity of Cubanness in the stock, but in its cooking, not in “the sauce, its succulence fresh and synthetic, formed by the fusion of human lineages,” but “in the same complex process of its formation, disintegrative and integrative .
Essays in Cuban Intellectual History by Rafael Rojas (auth.)