Introduction: The “Stranger Relations” of Beat

Todd F. Tietchen

in Cubalogues

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780813035208
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039633 | DOI:
Introduction: The “Stranger Relations” of Beat

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This chapter provides a backdrop of political and cultural stirrings in Fidel Castro's Cuba. Cubalogues emerged in the thick of the cultural and intellectual history—an explicitly political subgenre of Beat travel narrative which included works such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti's “Poet's Notes on Cuba,” Amiri Baraka's “Cuba Libre,” and Marc Schleifer's “Cuban Notebook.” Driven by a profound skepticism concerning the negative portrayal of Castro's revolution within the mainstream U.S. media, each of the Cubalogue writers decided to witness the revolution firsthand. The Cubalogues, in other words, are best understood as a politically engaged form of literary reportage in which stock features of Beat writing were explicitly recast against the backdrop of early revolutionary events. As rhetorical travelogues, the Cubalogues exemplified a mode of descriptive argumentation that Walter Fisher has identified as the “narrative paradigm.”

Keywords: Cubalogues; travelogue; Cuban revolution; Beat travel narrative; literary reportage; Fidel Castro

Chapter.  9288 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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