IntroductIon
: : :
esta obra ha sido impresa en
una edición de amigos que
consta de sólo veinticinco
ejemplares, numerados del
¹
al 25 y cinco ejemplares
numerados del i al v, con la
firma del autor.
this work has been printed
in an edition for friends
made up of twenty-five copies,
numbered from
¹
to 25 and
five copies numbered from
i to v, with the author’s
signature.1
In 1943, barely a decade into the bloody regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo
Molina, the established editor, poet, and essayist Pedro René Contín Aybar
published the first Dominican novel with a male homoerotic theme: Biel, el
Marino. As far as examples of the genre go, Contín Aybar’s piece is short for
a novel: in fourteen pages, the narrator recounts his relationship with Biel,
a seaman. The specifics of the story and the lyrical prose the author uses
to tell it deserve literary critical treatment, but my interest in Biel resides
in its distribution and the scandal it provoked. As the prefatory comment
above says, an edition of twenty-five copies and five extras, all numbered and
signed by the author to his “friends,” made up the first edition of this literary
work. Nevertheless, the novel and its subject matter titillated the imagina-
tions of many who did not read it. As Andrés L. Mateo explains, “Todavía
en los años sesenta duraba el resplandor del escándalo asordinado que le-
vantó” (The muted scandal it caused lived even into the
sixties).2
Mateo sug-
gests that the scandal was provoked mainly by Biel, a character “que muchos
decían conocer” (whom many claimed to know) and by a piece of writing
that “todos . . . conocía[n] de oído, pocos lo había alcanzado a leer” (many . . .
knew by ear, few had the chance to
read).3
In 1982, an edition of Contín
Aybar’s Poemas was published and edited by Víctor Villegas. A reproduc-
tion of the last of the copies with roman numerals (Ejemplar V ) was made
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