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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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9. Critiques of sexual and political intolerance in the novel Máscaras and the film Fresa y chocolate 217

Extract

Chapter 9 Critiques of sexual and political intolerance in the novel Máscaras and the film Fresa y chocolate Máscaras, like Pasado perfecto, is a carefully chosen title that carries a variety of meanings. Referring to the translations of the word into English might best highlight these meanings. Colin Smith’s Collins diccionario inglés (1987) lists two definitions of máscara and three variations of the first. All are applicable to readings of Padura Fuentes’s novel: Máscara 1 nf (a) mask; — antigás gasmask; — para esgrima fencing mask; — de oxígeno oxygen mask. (b) —s masque, masquerade (c) (fig) mask; disguise; quitar la — a uno to unmask someone; quitarse la — to reveal oneself. 2 nmf masked person. (1971: 363) Thus Máscaras means: ‘masks’ in the sense of the object placed upon our faces and in the sense of ‘masquerade’; a gathering or social event in which people wear disguises, and a ‘masque’, a traditional form of theatre presentation in which the actors wear masks. It is significant that the title of the book is in the plural because had it been in the singular this latter meaning would not be applicable. Figuratively, it can be used to describe fakeness: to remove the mask meaning to reveal the truth about a person or thing. Finally, and most interestingly, the noun can also be used to define a person who wears a mask. This novel continues the theme of hidden or split identity that characterises Pasado perfecto. The cover...

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