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Castro and the muses: the Cuban revolution and colloquial poetry

Bellis, D.J.J.; (2010) Castro and the muses: the Cuban revolution and colloquial poetry. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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It is argued in this thesis that the colloquial poetry which came to be the dominant poetic form after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution had been largely developed before 1959 and drew on the twin influences of poetry written in the Anglo-Saxon countries and developments from within Spanish-American poetry itself, developments which, before the advent of Nicanor Parra, reached their most mature form in the Spanish Civil War verse of César Vallejo. It will also be argued that, despite its political engagement with the Communist Bloc, there was little in the way of poetic influence on poets associated with the Cuban Revolution from Communist Bloc writers, the main exception to this being Bertolt Brecht. Soviet and Chinese pronouncements on literature are compared with those of the leadership of the Cuban Revolution, a comparison which reflects favourably on the Cubans, whilst not ignoring the shortcomings of Cuban attitudes towards literary freedom. The history of political poetry within Spanish America demonstrates that there were many local antecedents which the colloquial poets could add to what little they took from the Communist Bloc. The way that political viewpoints manifested themselves in the colloquial poetry examined is given consideration, as this helps demonstrate the appropriateness of colloquialism to the politically-charged period after 1959, as does the extent to which a poet might have succeeded in getting his message across in a poem. That colloquialism was not imposed by the Cuban authorities is shown by the fact that poetry written in other styles was published during the period in question; that non-Cuban writers also chose to write colloquial verse; and that writers opposed to the Revolution, notably Heberto Padilla and Reinaldo Arenas, also used colloquialism to convey their message.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Castro and the muses: the Cuban revolution and colloquial poetry
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/20203
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