By Adriana Mendez Rodenas
Writer of novels, memoirs, and commute writings, Maria de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, higher often called l. a. Condesa de Merlin (1789-1852), is arguably considered one of Cuba's most tasty authors; but before her works have long past principally missed. Born in colonial Havana to an aristocratic Creole family members, the longer term countess of Merlin left Cuba for Spain at an early age. Later, her marriage to the French count number Antoine Christophe Merlin and the invasion of French Napoleonic troops brought on one other circulate to France, the place she turned one of many belle dames of Paris and started her literary profession. She lower back just once to Cuba after the demise of her husband in 1840, a trip that produced Viaje a l. a. Habana. Upon her go back to Paris, Merlin increased this into l. a. Havane, an formidable three-volume account of the political, social, and financial association of the island. From the perspective of feminist and psychoanalytical conception, Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba brilliantly explores the numerous ways that problems with gender have contributed to Merlin's digital absence from the canons of literature and from the discourses on Cuban nationwide id. Merlin's double id as either Cuban and French is symbolic of the Cuban exiled , a truth taken up via modern exiled Cuban writers who see the countess as an alter-ego.Mendez Rodenas seeks to revive Merlin because the first girl author in Cuban literary background to articulate a feeling of nationwide id, in addition to being Cuba's first woman historian. She specializes in Merlin's shuttle writings simply because they study such concerns as slavery, independence, nationhood, the position of girls, schooling, and native literature. jointly her writings build an alternate, gendered background of nineteenth-century Cuba that needs to be said as either useful and authentic.By situating Merlin on the intersection of the discourses of gender and nationalism, Mendez Rodenas finds not just her pioneering position but in addition the necessity to extend present severe different types to account for the specificity of the Latin American literary culture. within the strategy of restoring Merlin to her applicable position within the canon of Latin American literature, she broadens our knowing of colonial Cuban background and expands our wisdom of the ways that trip writing can effect a country's nationwide literature .
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Additional info for Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba: The Travels of Santa Cruz y Montalvo, Condesa de Merlin
Whereas Sarmiento's Facundo has acquired the status of an authoritative history, a charting of Argentina's political and cultural destinyhis theory of "civilization and barbarism" has weighed heavily upon Latin American letterswomen's memoirs are deemed to be a secondary, if not outright inferior, mode of discourse, one irrelevant for the most part to the construction of nation. Latin American pronationalist movements, however, were not predominantly male. 14 These critical essays are constructing an archeology of women's writing that, in turn, is prompting new periodizations and generic definitions within Latin American literary studies.
Resisting the way in which traditional literary history has depicted Merlin as merely a foreign intruder in Cuban letters, in chapter 2, "The Return of the Prodigal Daughter: The New World Discovery of La Condesa de Merlin," I provide a psychoanalytic account of Merlin's voyage as a means to inscribe her within Cuban literary history. The feminist contextualization of Merlin's life and works serves the double purpose of introducing a relatively unknown author to modern readers and of reinserting Merlin wholly within Spanish American Romanticism.
If before, "Cuba (with its synecdoche, Mamita) is synonymous with the abandonment of the parents," and "[c]onversely, reunion with the parents is synonymous with the abandonment of Cuba," then Merlin's marriage is synonymous with the loss of Madrid and its promise of attachment to the mother. 26 Over the course of her marriage, from 1813 to 1839, the criolla Santa Cruz y Montalvo transformed herself into one of the leading bellesdames of the Parisian cultural establishment. 30 This contradicts the traditional picture of Merlin as a demure aristocrat with no social concerns (past critics have described Merlin's musical interests as little more than a frivolous indulgence).
Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba: The Travels of Santa Cruz y Montalvo, Condesa de Merlin by Adriana Mendez Rodenas