Ends of Assimilation: The Formation of Chicano Literature

Oxford University Press
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Ends of Assimilation examines how Chicano literature imagines the conditions and costs of cultural change, arguing that its thematic preoccupation with assimilation illuminates the function of literature. John Alba Cutler shows how mid-century sociologists advanced a model of assimilation that ignored the interlinking of race, gender, and sexuality and characterized American culture as homogeneous, stable, and exceptional. He demonstrates how Chicano literary works from the postwar period to the present understand culture as dynamic and self-consciously promote literature as a medium for influencing the direction of cultural change. With original analyses of works by canonical and noncanonical writers--from Américo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros, and Jimmy Santiago Baca to Estela Portillo Trambley, Alfredo Véa, and Patricia Santana--Ends of Assimilation demands that we reevaluate assimilation, literature, and the very language we use to talk about culture.
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About the author

John Alba Cutler is Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jan 2, 2015
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780190210137
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Caribbean & Latin American
Literary Criticism / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Hispanic American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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MANY CULTURES * ONE WORLD
"Boricua is what Puerto Ricans call one another as a term of endearment, respect, and cultural affirmation; it is a timeless declaration that transcends gender and color. Boricua is a powerful word that tells the origin and history of the Puerto Rican people."
--From the Introduction
From the sun-drenched beaches of a beautiful, flamboyan-covered island to the cool, hard pavement of the fierce South Bronx, the remarkable journey of the Puerto Rican people is a rich story full of daring defiance, courageous strength, fierce passions, and dangerous politics--and it is a story that continues to be told today. Long ignored by Anglo literature studies, here are more than fifty selections of poetry, fiction, plays, essays, monologues, screenplays, and speeches from some of the most vibrant and original voices in Puerto Rican literature.
* Jack Agüeros * Miguel Algarín * Julia de Burgos * Pedro Albizu Campos * Lucky CienFuegos * Judith Ortiz Cofer * Jesus Colon * Victor Hern ndez Cruz * José de Diego * Martin Espada * Sandra Maria Esteves * Ronald Fernandez * José Luis Gonzalez * Migene Gonzalez-Wippler * Maria Graniela de Pruetzel * Pablo Guzman * Felipe Luciano * René Marqués * Luis Muñoz Marín * Nicholasa Mohr * Aurora Levins Morales * Martita Morales * Rosario Morales * Willie Perdomo * Pedro Pietri * Miguel Piñero * Reinaldo Povod * Freddie Prinze * Geraldo Rivera * Abraham Rodriguez, Jr. * Clara E. Rodriguez * Esmeralda Santiago * Roberto Santiago * Pedro Juan Soto * Piri Thomas * Edwin Torres * José Torres * Joseph B. Vasquez * Ana Lydia Vega


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Cecilia Valdés is arguably the most important novel of 19th century Cuba. Originally published in New York City in 1882, Cirilo Villaverde's novel has fascinated readers inside and outside Cuba since the late 19th century. In this new English translation, a vast landscape emerges of the moral, political, and sexual depravity caused by slavery and colonialism. Set in the Havana of the 1830s, the novel introduces us to Cecilia, a beautiful light-skinned mulatta, who is being pursued by the son of a Spanish slave trader, named Leonardo. Unbeknownst to the two, they are the children of the same father. Eventually Cecilia gives in to Leonardo's advances; she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. When Leonardo, who gets bored with Cecilia after a while, agrees to marry a white upper class woman, Cecilia vows revenge. A mulatto friend and suitor of hers kills Leonardo, and Cecilia is thrown into prison as an accessory to the crime. For the contemporary reader Helen Lane's masterful translation of Cecilia Valdés opens a new window into the intricate problems of race relations in Cuba and the Caribbean. There are the elite social circles of European and New World Whites, the rich culture of the free people of color, the class to which Cecilia herself belonged, and then the slaves, divided among themselves between those who were born in Africa and those who were born in the New World, and those who worked on the sugar plantation and those who worked in the households of the rich people in Havana. Cecilia Valdés thus presents a vast portrait of sexual, social, and racial oppression, and the lived experience of Spanish colonialism in Cuba.
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