Uniform TitleWhite fears and fantasies: writing the nation in post-abolition Brazil and Cuba
NameNash, Lyle Scott (author), Stephens, Thomas (chair), Marcone, Jorge (internal member), Stevens, Camilla (internal member), Butler, Kim (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectSpanish and Portuguese,
Blacks in literature,
Brazilian fiction--19th century,
Cuban fiction--19th century
DescriptionThis dissertation discusses the literary representations of Afro-descendants in mid- to late-nineteenth century Cuba and Brazil, and how these representations impacted the development of the national narratives and mapped out the future social terrain for blacks and whites in both countries. This work evaluates Doris Sommer’s assertion that novels can serve as attempts to consolidate national identity, and that they help bind disparate groups in the formation of new nations. I use her model of “Foundational Fictions” to analyze the development of the national narratives in Cuba and Brazil, two nations with deeply-rooted histories of slavery, large slave populations, and late abolition of slavery. Novels by Cirilo Villaverde and Aluísio Azevedo were chosen as representative examples because of the dominant roles that Afro-Cubans and Afro-Brazilian play in their narratives. If literary unions symbolized unions between antagonistic social cadres, erasing social distinctions, then testing the model’s ability would be most useful in nations with large Afro-descent populations; the results of the analysis were negative. All unions between whites and Afro-descendants delineated in the novels were marked with tragedy and death, resulting in failures I call “Foundering Fictions.” These novels accentuated differences between Afro-descendants and whites and ideologically informed the nascent social institutions of the new republics. Therein, they served to attenuate the oppression of Afro-descendants in both countries.
This work discusses the deployment of stereotypes in the corpus novels, and the key role they play in the formation of prejudice, by arguing that prejudicial treatment is less motivated by belief than by practical benefits such as power and wealth. It also considers the historical development of race thinking and its relation to the justification of slavery in the corpus texts. Additionally, the thesis focuses on the social role of the mulatto during this period of shifting narrative perspectives discusses the multifaceted representation of the mulatto. Finally, it analyzes the ironic tendency of white writers to depict the white population as victims of slavery and the efforts of those writers to rewrite the history of slavery in order to inhibit the social progress of their Afro-descent contemporaries.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 199-214).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.