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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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10. From existentialism to postmodernity: the aesthetic of doubt in Vientos de cuaresma and Paisaje de otoño 251


Chapter 10 From existentialism to postmodernity: the aesthetic of doubt in Vientos de cuaresma and Paisaje de otoño — ¿Qué tú escribes? — ¿Yo? Pues cuentos — Que interesante. ¿Y eres posmoderno? El Conde miró a la muchacha, sorprendido por aquella disyuntiva estética imprevista: ¿debía ser posmoderno? —Más o menos —dijo, confiando en la posmodernidad y en que ella no le preguntara cuánto más y cuánto menos. (Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Máscaras: Tusquets, Barcelona, 1997: 141) In The Postmodern Condition (1984) Jean-François Lyotard, argues that postmodernity is characterised by a crisis in the status of knowledge in Western societies expressed as ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ and ‘the obsolescence of the metanarrative of legitimation’. (1984: xxiv) As noted in Chapter 7, he discusses in detail the problem of the legitimation of knowledge in the face of a collapse of what he calls the grands récits or metanarratives that have been used in the past to justify the quest for knowledge and the importance of science. He defines two main metanarratives. In the first, the narrative of emancipation, the people are the subjects of scientific endeavour. Thus it is argued that science will eventually lead to the greater wellbeing of the people and therefore must be justified. In the second narrative, knowledge itself in the form of philosophy is the subject. Here the pursuit of knowledge is carried out on the understanding that every advance, no matter how small, will add to the advancement of the totality...

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