• “Havana Reads the Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes, Nicolás Guillén, and the Dialectics of Transnational American Literature”

    Author(s):
    John Patrick Leary (see profile)
    Date:
    2010
    Subject(s):
    African-American popular music, African American literature, Latin American literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6C118
    Abstract:
    This essay reconsiders a famous episode of anti-imperial modernism, Langston Hughes’ collaboration with the Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén. While the episode is often remembered in American literary history as an instance of the more famous Hughes tutoring Guillén in setting popular music in modernist verse, Cuban criticisms of the Harlem Renaissance show how the dynamics of anti-imperial politics, personal competition, and translation shaped hemispheric cultural practice. A comparative reading of the Renaissance and the Afro-Cuban revival underscores the importance in each of vernacular “folk” expression and experimentation. At the same time, English mistranslations of Guillén’s work have meant that his ironic critiques of the Harlem Renaissance—as both a product of American racial segregation and a medium of U.S. cultural imperialism—have been neglected by Americanists who, in emphasizing this case of cross-cultural solidarity, have overlooked the misapprehensions that also produce diaspora culture.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Pub. DOI:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/cls.2010.0007
    Journal:
    Comparative Literature Studies
    Volume:
    47
    Start Page:
    133
    End Page:
    158
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 weeks ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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