Writer of novels, memoirs, and trip writings, Maria de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, larger referred to as los angeles Condesa de Merlin (1789-1852), is arguably one among Cuba's most tasty authors; but beforehand her works have long past principally ignored.
Born in colonial Havana to an aristocratic Creole relatives, the long run countess of Merlin left Cuba for Spain at an early age. Later, her marriage to the French count number Antoine Christophe Merlin and the invasion of French Napoleonic troops triggered one other circulate to France, the place she turned one of many belle dames of Paris and commenced her literary profession. She lower back just once to Cuba after the loss of life of her husband in 1840, a trip that produced Viaje a l. a. Habana. Upon her go back to Paris, Merlin improved this into La Havane, an bold three-volume account of the political, social, and fiscal association of the island.
From the perspective of feminist and psychoanalytical thought, Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba brilliantly explores the various ways that problems with gender have contributed to Merlin's digital absence from the canons of literature and from the discourses on Cuban nationwide identification. Merlin's double identification as either Cuban and French is symbolic of the Cuban exiled , a truth taken up via modern exiled Cuban writers who see the countess as an alter-ego.
Mendez Rodenas seeks to revive Merlin because the first lady author in Cuban literary historical past to articulate a feeling of nationwide id, in addition to being Cuba's first woman historian. She specializes in Merlin's trip writings simply because they learn such matters as slavery, independence, nationhood, the function of ladies, schooling, and native literature. jointly her writings build another, gendered background of nineteenth-century Cuba that has to be said as either practical and authentic.
By situating Merlin on the intersection of the discourses of gender and nationalism, Mendez Rodenas unearths not just her pioneering function but additionally the necessity to extend present serious different types to account for the specificity of the Latin American literary culture. within the strategy of restoring Merlin to her applicable position within the canon of Latin American literature, she broadens our knowing of colonial Cuban historical past and expands our wisdom of the ways that commute writing can impact a country's nationwide literature .