Introduction
I will walk again the streets
of what once was bloodied Santiago
and in a handsome liberated plaza
I will set out to cry for the ones absent
-Pablo Milanes
I
n this book my overall purpose is to study and analyze the inter-
sections of gender, ethnicity, and nation in times of transition to
Modernity in Caribbean narratives written by women. I have chosen
the following transitions: Venezuela's transition at the beginning of the
twentieth century as it is argued in the novel lfigenia: Diario de una seno-
rita que escribi6 porque se fastidia (1926) by Teresa de la Parra; the Cuban
transition in Dulce Maria Loynaz' Jardin (1935); the Jamaican double
transition (1832 and 1962) in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966); the
specter of Guadeloupan transition in Simone Schwarz-Bart's Pluie et vent
sur Telumee miracle (1972) and Ti Jean L'Horizon (1979); and the record
of the Nicaraguan transition in Gioconda Belli's La mujer habitada
(1988)
and Sofia de los presagios (1990). Each of these transitions is signaled by
a major difference: how the nation, and consequently the state, has or has
not been constituted. My purpose is to unravel, expose, and analyze these
differences, and to locate in each of them the assigned gender and ethnic
positions.
In part one, "The Masculine," I work with two transitions to modernity:
the first, at the beginning of the century, is carried out under the ideology of
Neo-Positivism; the second, in the middle of the century, is under the ide-
ology of Marxism. For the first transition, I take as examples of masculine
paradigms the novels of nation-formation, and for the second, testimo-
nialliterature. In part two, "The Feminine," three women from the Latin
American oligarchy-two working within Neo-Positivism and one within
Marxism-speak of their nation; and two women, thinking of the histories
of the transition between slave and free labor, speak of their islands.
Along the way we will discover the insidious presence of the market and
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