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Detective Fiction in Cuban Society and Culture

Stephen Wilkinson

This book examines Cuban society through a study of its detective fiction and more particularly contemporary Cuban society through the novels of the author and critic, Leonardo Padura Fuentes.
The author traces the development of Cuban detective writing in the light of the work of twentieth century Western European literary critics and philosophers including Raymond Williams, Antonio Gramsci, Terry Eagleton, Roland Barthes, Jean Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Jean François Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard in order to gain a better understanding of the social and historical context in which this genre emerged.
The analysis includes discussion of the broader philosophical, political and historical issues raised by the Cuban revolution. The book concludes that the study of this popular genre in Cuba is of crucial importance to the scholar who wishes to reach as full an understanding of the social dynamics within that society as possible.

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2. Nationalism, Marxism and sacrifice: Cuban revolutionary ideology and the Cuban state 33

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33 Chapter 2 Nationalism, Marxism and sacrifice: Cuban revolutionary ideology and the Cuban state On visiting Cuba in 1960, barely a year after the rebels’ triumphant entry into Havana and over a year before Fidel Castro announced that the revolutionary programme would be Marxist-Leninist, Jean-Paul Sartre (whose ideas will be discussed at length in chapters 7–10) declared that what surprised him above all was the ‘ausencia aparente de ideología’ (1960: 4).1 On asking various people in Havana what they thought the ideology of the revolution was they told him, he says, ‘a thousand times’: ‘La Revolución es una praxis que forja sus ideas en la práctica.’ (1960: 4)2 Sartre noted the way in which the ideology of the revolution was actually being formed from day to day as the Cuban people responded to attacks, including of a political and a physically violent nature, emanating from the United States.3 He concluded that it would only be a matter of time before the revolution would become more radical. He and his partner, Simone de Beauvoir, were present in Havana when the French cargo ship La Coubre exploded killing hundreds of workers. The explosion was blamed on counter-revolutionary sabotage and resulted in the leadership taking the decision to mobilize 1 The revolution was declared Socialist on 16 April 1961, the day of the Bay of Pigs invasion. 2 Sartre published 16 articles on his visit to Cuba in the French daily newspaper France-Soir. They were translated and...

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