Ways to write about Havana

HSV's picture
Submitted by HSV on

See the ways that have been constructed representations of Havana is much more closer to the simple listing of the spaces within it. While on one hand it is a physical reality , material, another is a discursive construction , a symbolic , imaginary , subjective representation determined by the affects and effects that causes us to inhabit the experience it and the dissimilar images circulating it and express the ways that has been regarded as narrated , thought .

When doing a trace on these structures, we can see that many are the ways that Cuban art, specifically literature, has understood the city, "realistic", "historic", "fantastic", "nostalgic", "futuristic", "conformist", "celebratory", "paradisiacal", " apocalyptic", "sensationalist" etc. 

The citadina passion of Cuban writers manifests from the colony cobbled Havana , Havana near the sea, the tall, modern buildings, Havana columns, plazas, convents, castles, parks, mansions, solar, rooftop, romantic and glamorous, Havana worn and dirty, etc, is a place to which we return again and again in Cuban literature. The novel Cecilia Valdés o hill Angel (1882 ), written by Cirilo Villaverde, is a vast fresco of Havana, 1832. The timelessness of the issues it addresses, the synthesis of behavior, conduct, morals and very revealing conceptions of our idiosyncrasy has allowed this to be fixed in the depths of our collective consciousness. Dissimilar authors of all time have taken up again and again in spite of the social and historical contingencies. Such examples would include films Cecilia Valdés (1950) Sant Jaime and Cecilia Andrews (1980) Humberto Solas, the "Cecilia 1" plastic recreations and "2" Cosme Proenza, the iconographic book Cecilia Valdés (1982), engravings made ​​by Antonio Canet, the Cecilia novels later, or why Earth? (1984) Felix Mondejar, Knoll Angel (1985) by Reinaldo Arenas and the puppet theater adaptation of The Virgin Bronze (2001) by Norge Espinosa where it becomes not only about the myth of the mulatto but on the same stage of Havana.

It also makes excellent portraits of capital in his chronicles and newspaper articles, Jorge Manach. In Patterns of San Cristóbal (1926) perspective is that of your stroller by ancient and modern city, full of nooks and luminosities . Meanwhile, Alejo Carpentier, in Chronicles of the city [1 ], also enters the city, in the wonder of the everyday describing magic, surreal way.

In the 60s, following the Revolution, political interest, as well as the artist's gaze, moved into the country. The capital now was the emblem of decadence. However, there were works that spoke to us from her longing and nostalgia for Havana 50 . Such is the case of TTT and Havana for an infant deceased (1979), Guillermo Cabrera Infante, where the description of the city adopts a "nostalgic" for leaving her character losing valuable forms of urban life, or simply the past.

The beginning of the 90s mark the return of the capital's literary scene look. But not Havana glamorous. The shift would be toward basements, roofs, parks, solar quartic uninhabitable; marginal areas within a city where the oxide, the abandoned, dysfunctional, obsolete, so rundown, dull, flaking, erosion, wear, physical ruin is symbolic expression of social reality. In this context, framing, among others, the novels Dirty Havana Trilogy (1998), King of Havana (1999) and tropical Animal (2000), Pedro Juan Gutiérrez; Perversions in the Prado (1990), Michael Mejides; Ave and nothing (2002), Ernesto Santana, distant palaces (2002), by Abilio Estévez and Cándido The Wanderer (2001) of Jorge Ángel Pérez.

Other authors have chosen scenarios Havana as their stories. Such is the case of unifying habanero Park G and 23 public space where the main plot of "Toccata and Fugue in four movements, and three respites" (1990), the book Someone is licking all of Ronaldo and Ricardo Méndez develops Arrieta, wolf forest and the New Man (1990), Senel Paz, where Coopelia, University of Havana, the city view from the Morro and Diego apartment, "Lair", acquire a special meaning, in everyday nothingness (1995), Zoe Valdes, the Revolution Square is loaded with significance birth country, its protagonist , the same happens in the flying cat (1999) , Abel Prieto's novel my Life (2001) by Leonardo Padura and water Prisoner (1998), Alexis Diaz- pepper, novels that narrate the encounters and the uncertainty of a generation following the 1989 crisis.

Within Havanastreetview the Grafiar Havana section is intended as a platform for visualization of the texts that have themed the city, either as protagonist or physical background of their stories, and realize the vast and rich literary work on the island in all eras and genres. It will offer, in addition to a critical approach to the texts, images of these publications and fragments thereof. One principle that will handle section establishing intertextual dialogue with other artistic projects: plastic, film, theater, architecture, music also thematize Havana and express consistency in the Cuban artistic discourse. Grafiar Havana enable us to continue the stories, themes, styles, places, issues, languages, situations, performers who gather in the Havana scene and are shared in the artistic creations of Cuban residents in the country or not writers. These photographs are a way to know Havana inside, continue their growth, changes in its appearance, the gradual modernization and the future of its people.

Joanna Castillo

[1 ] Alejo Carpentier : Chronicles of the city , Editorial Letras Cubanas , Havana, 2002.




Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.