LAJSA Book Award Winner, 2017, Latin American Jewish Studies Association As Cuba industrialized in the nineteenth centu
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LAJSA Book Award Winner, 2017, Latin American Jewish Studies Association As Cuba industrialized in the nineteenth cent
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The adventurous woman nicknamed La Belle Créole is brought to life in this book through the full use of her memoirs, con
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Cuba, an island 750 miles long, with a population of about 11 million, lies less than 100 miles off the U.S. coast. Yet
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From one of America's leading legal minds, a riveting look at the U.S.-Cuban relationship seen through the lens of
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Table of contents :
Table of Contents
1. The Notional Jew: Judaizing the Merchant
2. Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions in Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda's Sab (1841)
3. Racial Alchemy and Alejandro Tapia y Rivera's La cuarterona (1867)
4. The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible: Cirilo Villaverde's Cecilia Valdés (1882)
HAVANA The Jew in the Cuban Abolitionist Archive
The Merchant of Havana
THE Merchant of
The Jew in the Cuban Abolitionist Archive STEPHEN SILVERSTEIN
Vanderbilt University Press Nashville
© 2016 by Vanderbilt University Press Nashville, Tennessee 37235 All rights reserved First printing 2016 This book is printed on acid-free paper. Manufactured in the United States of America Frontispiece: Lithograph showing a sugar refinery plant in Cuba. Title: Ingenio Acana propriedad del Señor Dn. J. Eusebio Alfonso // dibujado y litogrdo. por Edo. Laplante ; litografia de L. Marquier. Illustration from Los ingenios : coleccion de vistas de los principales ingenios de azucar . . . de Cuba . . . / por Justo G. Cantero (Habana : Impreso en la litografia de L. Marquier, 1857) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file LC control number LC classification number Dewey class number LC record available at
2016030960 HT1078 .S55 2016 306.3/6209729109/034—dc23 lccn.loc.gov/2016030960
ISBN 978-0-8265-2109-5 ISBN 978-0-8265-2111-8
For Alla and for my parents
1 The Notional Jew: Judaizing the Merchant
2 Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions in Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab (1841)
3 Racial Alchemy and Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s La cuarterona (1867)
4 The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible: Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés (1882) 79
Acknowledgments The Merchant of Havana began and, over several years, developed under the intelligent, patient guidance of Ruth Hill. She is the source of anything that may be worthwhile in this book. I am deeply grateful to my teachers in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. Special thanks go to Fernando Operé, Gustavo Pellón, and Alison Weber. I found valuable support in Asher Biemann and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows of Jewish Studies program at the University of Virginia, which he organized. The Public Humanities Fellowship Program in South Atlantic Studies, sponsored jointly by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, provided a venue to calibrate several of my arguments. Research in Havana was made possible by a Charles Gordon Reid Fellowship from the University of Virginia, as well as by the generous assistance of Ana María González Marfud, Carlos Federico Martí Brenes, Ariel Camejo, and José Antonio Baujín Pérez at the University of Havana. I thank Jorge and Nardy León for their friendship and hospitality. I have exceptionally supportive colleagues in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Baylor University. Heidi Bostic’s counsel and encouragement have been invaluable, and a chapter of this study has benefitted from her insightful reading. Elizabeth Willingham graciously invited me to present some of my ideas at a conference panel she organized. Marian Ortuño provided smart critique of a portion of this book. My friends in the Spanish Division have been generous and kind: Frieda Blackwell, Rafa Climent Espino, Jan Evans, Guillermo García Corales, Baudelio Garza, Karol Hardin, Paul Larson, Fred Loa, Linda McManness, Alex McNair, Janet Norden, Manuel Ortuño, Marian Ortuño, Lilly Souza Fuertes, Mike Thomas, and Beth Willing-
[i x ]
ham. Adrienne Harris and Andy Wisely are real-life superheroes. Roberto Pesce and Serena Dal Pont have made life in the heart of Texas delightful and delicious, as has Stephen Pluháček. Robyn Driskell has advocated for me and supported my research. Two summer sabbaticals and a semester of research leave provided by Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences afforded me the time to complete this book. The Latin American Jewish Studies Association has granted me several opportunities to develop my ideas in dialogue with a community of thoughtful peers. I am especially indebted to my tremendous colleagues Alan Astro, Naomi Lindstrom, and Darrell Lockhart. Rosa Perelmuter has hospitably encouraged my participation on two LAJSA conference panels that she organized. I am very fortunate to have David Foster as a mentor. During the National Endowment for the Humanities’ summer program “Jewish Buenos Aires” (which has sadly been eliminated along with all overseas NEH summer seminars) that Foster led, this project benefitted from his consultation and from that of Charles Heath II, Yitzhak Lewis, Matt Losada, and Yovanna Pineda. It has been a pleasure to work with Eli Bortz on this book. I am grateful to him and to the editorial staff at Vanderbilt University Press. I wish to express my thanks to the anonymous readers; this is a better study thanks to their critiques. Karen Stolley is an excellent colleague and considerate supporter of my work. I adjusted several of the ideas in this book thanks to a stimulating conference panel organized by Agnes Lugo-Ortiz. Tom Finnegan is an especially skilled editor. Tony Cella, Ashley Kerr, Andrea Meador Smith, Faith Harden, David Luis-Brown, and Gillian Price provided incisive readings of portions of this study. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Zach Ludington for his enthusiastic willingness to read the manuscript in its entirety and for his smart commentary. Christopher Schmidt-Nowara passed away during the completion of this book. While our relationship was limited to the exchange of e-mail, this did not prevent him from responding to my queries with enthusiasm and humility. A prior version of Chapter 3 was published in Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, and parts of Chapter 4 were published in “The Cuban Anti-Antislavery Genre: Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s Co
[ x ] The Merchant of Havana
lección de artículos and the Policy of Buen Tratamiento” in Revista His pánica Moderna. I thank the editors of these journals for permitting me to reproduce those arguments here. Lastly, my family has been essential to the writing of this book. Jack, Cayman, Eshu, Grandpa, Lee, How, Jess, Miles, and Skylar—thank you. This book is dedicated to my parents for their enduring support and to Алла, Благодарю тебя за то, что следуешь нашему плану.
acknowledgments [ xi ]
The Merchant of Havana
Introduction In his travel memoir Notes on Cuba (1844), John George F. Wur-
demann, a South Carolina physician convalescing from tuberculosis on the island in the winter of 1843, discusses how “many [Cubans] would linger to look at the Inglesis, as they called us to our faces— when we were absent the term Judios (hudeos), Jews, was applied to us, a generic appellation given to all foreigners.”1 Later, Wurdemann specifies further: “The term judio, jew, is also applied to foreigners, including Spaniards.”2 Before we move to dismiss Wurdemann’s testimony as nothing but the product of his own paranoid imagination, even a cursory review of texts reveals that an anti-Semitic tropology was indeed pervasive in nineteenth-century Cuba. One highly significant example that goes a long way toward making this point is Esteban Pichardo y Tapia’s Diccionario provincial casi razonado de vozes y frases cubanas (Provincial dictionary of Cuban words and expressions), the first American dictionary, published in 1836 and reissued throughout the century, which recommends this definition for Judío: “The demoralized or irreligious, impious person. The common people also demean foreigners by calling them Jews.”3 The Judaized foreigners who invaded the creole imaginary did so in the wake of the island’s first sugar boom, which coincided with the rise of and contest over the framework of Spanish imperial liberalism and was stimulated by what Dale Tomich has described as “a new social-economic form on which an accelerated rhythm was imposed with the introduction of the railroad, the integration of the island’s sugar economy into the world-scale circuits of capital, and the expansion and intensification of slave labor.”4 The forceful transfigurations occasioned by these and other historical circumstances exacerbated the antagonisms and contradictions of a society structured in racial, classbased, and colonial dominance.5 Although certain segments benefited
from the revolutionary realignment of Cuban political, commercial, and social organization, others experienced these processes with profound dread.6 Notions regarding the emblem of society’s new order, the foreign-born merchant, dovetailed with the well-worn lexicon of Jewishness. Owing to the correspondence of these conceits, the figurative Jew emerged as an especially adaptable instrument in a series of “racial projects,” as sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant define them, produced by creoles in the face of modernity’s threatening forces and novel values.7 In broad terms, the notoriously incongruous Jew personified the acute “cognitive dissonance” experienced by nineteenthcentury creoles.8 Further, the Jew was an unwilling textual surrogate for the licentious Spanish Catholic who had fathered children with black female slaves. Transracial sex, or mestizaje, was looked on with deep apprehension by many creoles because, like industrial capitalism and the global rebalancing of trade, it threatened to overturn the established order. To be sure, the discursive practice that looked to restore stability to colonial society and subjectivity through the metaphorical Jew was operative on multiple fronts. At this point, a short proviso is in order. It must be recognized that actual religious convictions are irrelevant to the vitality of the tropes that aligned Cuba’s nineteenth-century merchants with conceptions of Jewishness. The perlocutionary effectiveness of anti-Semitism, as several scholars have indicated, need not have anything to do with whether or not its targets are “those who have historically grounded identities in those material signifiers,” as Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin designate the group of people that for simplicity’s sake, and following Zygmunt Bauman, I will call empirical Jews.9 What did bear on the availability and potency of Judaeophobic stereotypes in nineteenth-century Cuba was how creole understandings of the merchant class coincided with Western traditions of “represented Jewishness.”10 The consonance of these notions enabled creoles to malign those perceived to be behind societal corrosion via the cypher of anti-Semitic discourse.11 What is more, not only can anti-Semitism exist without Jews but, as Bernd Marin has made clear in his study of post-Holocaust Austria, it can proliferate without anti-Semites too.12 Therefore, my basic assertion—that the notional Jew, both implied and expressed, functioned as a psychosocial stabilizing device in late colonial Cuba—should not be discarded out of hand on account of the colony’s lack of a significant Jewish popula-
[ 2 ] The Merchant of Havana
tion throughout most of that century; nor should it be mistaken for the claim that creoles espoused an anti-Semitic ideology.13 This book’s central line of argument begs other questions. How is it that this all-too-apparent phenomenon, so prevalent that it was formally recognized in Pichardo’s dictionary and, as The Merchant of Ha vana seeks to illustrate, is part and parcel of the well-studied Cuban abolitionist genre, has gone overlooked by Latin American cultural studies? Might this omission have allowed other matters to fall between the cracks? What is at stake when our discussion of Latin American racial formations fails to pursue representations of Jewishness?14 Scholarship’s inattention to the imaginary Jew’s prominent presence in nineteenth-century Cuba stems in no small measure from the misunderstanding that, as W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) put it, one’s racial identity is a “separate and unique thing”—a notion he abandoned after visiting the Warsaw ghetto in 1949.15 By no means, then, am I the first to warn that the academy’s tendency to demarcate between the targets of different racisms is not only critically debilitating, but reinforces those same racialized divisions whose deconstruction it purports to undertake.16 Whether our penchant for particularistic thinking is brought on by the “identity politics of separation and the institutional politics of empire-building” that Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus signal, or by what Paul Gilroy has termed the “ontological essentialist view,” or by the “model of competitive memory” that Michael Rothberg looks to overturn, or by some combination of all the above, is a question beyond the purview of this book.17 Still, it should be recognized that the pernicious consequences of our continued deference to these boundaries extend well beyond ignoring the notional Jew’s position at the core of Cuban self-fashioning and involves naturalizing, rather than challenging, racial categories.18 Toward salvaging a history of rhetorical Jewishness in late colonial Cuba, The Merchant of Havana practices a multidirectional consciousness (to combine Rothberg’s and Gilroy’s conceptual frameworks).19 Following Rothberg, this study “seeks to transgress the discourses of separation and uniqueness” by making intersecting interrogations: Was there any transfer between creole understandings of Jewish and mulatto racial ambiguity? Is it possible that discussions concerning Afro-Cuban licentiousness were inflected by representations of the Jew’s ostensible sexual immorality? Did these racialized others serve
Introduction [ 3 ]
as convoluted foils against which notions of a Cuban self were forged? And more widely, might we find disruptions to exclusionary paradigms in permitting a dialogue between critical approaches to seemingly distinct racial formations?20 To these questions and others, The Merchant of Havana responds affirmatively. Through analyses that cut across disciplines, this book brings a dialectics of Jewish and black racialization and exclusion to the fore. The intertwined discursive practices that racialized these Others should also be understood as playing a major part in mapping the “interior frontiers” of a white Cuban self.21 By analyzing in tandem the regimes of racial surveillance that scrutinized Jewish and African bodies, I also mean to show that critical neglect of the true dimensions of anti-Semitic stereotyping in abolitionist thought and writing has skewed our understanding of the representation of blacks in the abolitionist project. The silent half of the story of Cuban abolitionism dramatically alters the other half of the story, the one we thought we knew: the paternal racism toward black slaves, the much-discussed sexual objectification of the Afro-Cuban female, black or mulata (mulattress) or quadroon, and the tragic mulatto trope. The Merchant of Havana dialogues with that scholarship from a novel viewpoint, contending that the rhetoric and images used to conjure the Jew’s racial qualities crucially informed discussions concerning the Afro-Cuban, male and female, and vice versa. To be sure, the figures that constituted the contrasting background against which the silhouette of cubanía, or Cubanness, was traced did not exist in “hermetically sealed historical settings.”22 Rather, a Cuban self-definition was given shape “through creating slaves and monsters,” to borrow from Jean-Paul Sartre, that were thoroughly intertwined with one another.23 Here, it must be stressed that I am not claiming that antiblack and anti-Jewish racisms are equivalent.24 On the other hand, this book should demonstrate that there are valuable critical insights to be gained by recognizing that the construction of cubanía was a much messier affair than previous thought has acknowledged, in which racial discourses intersected, just as they transacted with other subject positions, including those of nationality, class, and sex. And, adopting Fernando Ortiz’s well-known metaphor, it was in this ajiaco of entangled anxieties, exclusions, and desires that Cuban anti-Semitism and Negrophobia came to flavor one another.25
[ 4 ] The Merchant of Havana
As mentioned, the imaginary Jew became a “symbolic receptacle” for nineteenth-century creole distress about political, economic, and social instability, as well as about racial integrity.26 The tensions at play were especially dynamic with regard to slavery, which helps to account for the rhetorical Jew’s commonplace use as a discursive element of the abolitionist genre. This was not, however, the first time the spectral Jew had been located at the center of debates surrounding slavery; nor would it be the last. More recently, the Nation of Islam published The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews (1991), which claims Jews “financed and dominated the slave trade, owned slaves well in excess of any other group, and inflicted cruelty with abandon on slaves.”27 Several scholars have debunked the book’s contentions as, in Harold Brackman’s words, “an anti-Semitic polemic masquerading as history.”28 Still, it was this same canard, rampant in nineteenth-century Cuba, and in combination with the perennial Shylock figure, that made the Jew “a category available and ripe for exploitation” by creole abolitionists and instrumental in “the creation of boundaries, national and other.”29 Although less recognizable today than Shakespeare’s perpetually resurrected character, to which I will return in the next chapter, the Judas-as-slaver myth has been around much longer. Its roots can be traced back a thousand years before Diego Velázquez introduced the first African slaves to Cuba in 1511.30 Brackman has persuasively argued that its origins lie in the numerous church statutes enacted between the years 600 and 1200 that banned Jews from purchasing or possessing Christian slaves.31 Curiously, it was not Jewish participation in the medieval slave economy that prompted the church to pronounce edicts and decrees, year after year, barring Jews from engaging in the slave trade and holding slaves: The motive was not to protect the exploited or punish the ex ploiters. Instead, it was to put into law St. Augustine’s theological doctrine that—for the alleged sin of killing Christ—“The Jew is the slave of the Christian.” A degraded people collectively guilty of deicide, the Jews according to the Church were “perpetual slaves” in the eyes of God. They had to be denied the pride as well as profit deriving from the sale or ownership of Christians who could be enslaved by fellow Christians, but not by Jews who might convert them to Judaism.32
Introduction [ 5 ]
Aspiring to concretize Augustine’s principle of servitus Judaeorum, the church enacted myriad canonical legislations forbidding Jews from participating in slavery. Ironically, the proliferation of these codes led to an exponential increase in the number of “Jewish” slavers, for anyone looking to interrupt a slaver’s commerce, be they competitor or abolitionist, could make recourse to church law by suggesting that the slave trader or holder in question was a Jew.33 To wield the statutes enforcing the doctrine of the “Servitude of the Jews” was a tactic ingrained within the Cuban abolitionist archive since its formation. Some of the earliest antislavery statements in the Cuban context were made by two Capuchin missionaries who made their way to Havana in 1681. There, Francisco de Jaca, a Spaniard, and the Frenchman Epiphane de Moirans were outraged at the iniquity of human bondage. The missionaries preached that slaves should be liberated and denied absolution to slaveholders, for which they were excommunicated, arrested, and jailed.34 During their incarceration, de Jaca and Moirans penned defenses in which they strategically exploited the church’s rulings against Jewish slaveholding.35 In de Jaca’s piece, one reads a lengthy exposition on “Judas vendedor y de los judíos compradores de Cristo Jesús” (Judas the seller and Jews the buyers of Jesus Christ).36 As the section title forecasts, de Jaca’s circular exegesis of canonical doctrine finds Judas guilty of selling Christ and the Jews guilty of buying him. De Jaca’s fallacious argument that Jews trafficked in Jesus Christ is then put into service by the abolitionist to condemn contemporary slave traders by equating them through analogy with the worst sinners of all. Epiphane de Moirans’s Siervos libres o la justa defensa de la libertad natural de los esclavos (Free servants or the just defense of the natural liberty of slaves) goes much further than analogy. Moirans claims that contrary to church law Christian slaves are routinely sold to Jews: “They are sold to Jews after having received baptism, just as they are to heretics or Christians, Catholics, pagans, and infidels. They do not concern themselves with this at all. From which, then, one concludes that Jews publicly possess Christian slaves against ecclesiastical law, as I saw with my own eyes; and Christian servants presented me with their complaints that their Jewish owners did not permit them to attend Church nor hear Mass.”37 Later, Moirans admonishes those Christians who enslave Africans under the pretense of evangelization, for even though “this would be an honorable intention” according to the [ 6 ] The Merchant of Havana
friar, the jailed missionary reports that most slaves fall into the “hands of Jews.”38 In 1685, the two Capuchins pleaded their case in Rome to the cardinals of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda and—proving the efficacy of the Judas-as-slaver trope—won their freedom. Skip ahead two centuries, and the church’s sanctions against Jews owning or dealing in slaves were still being wielded by abolitionists in Cuba. In De la esclavitud en Cuba (On slavery in Cuba; 1866), for example, Francisco de Armas y Céspedes instructs that “the founder of the Jewish people was an owner of slaves, and the Law of Moses informs us of the characteristic circumstances of slavery in that nation. Hebrew slaves were obtained through purchase, a free father being able to sell his children, sometimes to favor the impure designs of the buyer.”39 The church, on the other hand, is portrayed by Armas y Céspedes as an abolitionist force, and one that, quite conveniently, foreswore the variety of emancipation that creoles so dreaded: “Such was the nearly unanimous opinion among men when Christianity began to spread its philanthropic doctrine everywhere. It is understood of course that it was not in the Catholic Church’s intention to destroy the institution of slavery by rapid and violent means. Only by purely moral influences did it begin to combat slavery.”40 To prove both points—that slavery, linked to the Jews’ “impure designs,” was a Jewish activity, and gradual abolition a Christian one—Armas y Céspedes enumerates half a dozen or so medieval church codes that prohibited Jews from owning slaves: To assure tranquility of conscience, and to put an end to the abuses that Jews were committing in the slave commerce, the Third Council of Orleans, in 538, prohibited returning to Jews slaves that took shelter in the church, either because their owners demanded of them things contrary to religion, or because of bad treatment. The Fourth of Orleans, in 541, did not just order observance of the former, but it punished the Jew that perverted a Christian slave with the loss of all his slaves. The First of Macon, in 581, prohibited Jews from acquiring Christian slaves, and with regard to those that already possessed them, it permitted any Christian to rescue them by paying twelve sueldos to the Jewish owner. The Third of Toledo, in 589, dictated the same prohibition, giving free liberty to the slave that was induced into Judaism or owned by a Jew. The Fourth of Toledo, in 633, prohibited Jews from having
Introduction [ 7 ]
Christian slaves entirely. That of Reims, in 625 or 630, prohibited selling Christian slaves to gentiles or Jews, under the penalty of nullity; a prohibition reiterated in a letter from Pope Gregory III in 731, and in the council of Ciptines in 743. That of Chalons, in 650, prohibited selling Christian slaves beyond the territory that spans the kingdom of Clodoveo. And the Tenth of Toledo, in 656, severely reprimanded clerics that sold their slaves to Jews.41
The Cuban abolitionist enlists these prohibitions and in so doing procures much more than the strength of the church; by associating the slave merchant with Jewishness in the nineteenth century, Armas y Céspedes harnesses the awesome power of anti-Semitism. It should come as little surprise that abolitionists would mobilize the same rhetorical gesture in their fictional writings as well.
The vast majority of texts that have come to be known as the Cuban antislavery genre were composed by a circle of liberal ideologues that formed around Domingo Del Monte y Aponte (1804–1853), a Venezuelan-born intellectual, in the 1830s in Havana. The critical importance of these works, which constitute “the origins of narrative literature in Cuba,” has resulted in scholarly interest that can be divided into two main camps, as Sibylle Fischer has outlined.42 At one extreme are readings that characterize these pieces as “critical and subversive” of slavery and of the colonial arrangement that conserved it and that it in turn conserved.43 An opposing strand of criticism signals the nefari ous implications of the abolitionists’ gradualist approach. This mode of thinking explores how the writers of Del Monte’s literary salon advanced the concerns of the liberal white elite, were distressed by the island’s demographic transformation produced by the African slave trade, and often went so far as to promote the continuation of slavery in modified form.44 In analyzing the intersections of sexual and racial coordinates, Vera Kutzinski takes a distinct tack from the two tendencies mentioned above, and Anna Brickhouse and Fischer also have posed nontraditional questions by inquiring into the hemispheric or transAmerican dialogues embedded in the narratives of Cuban abolitionism.45 The Merchant of Havana tells an altogether different story. This book begins with a discussion of the socioeconomic reorganization that took place in nineteenth-century Cuba. Through a delibera-
[ 8 ] The Merchant of Havana
tive analysis of Cuban sugar’s frenzied expansion, which was stimulated by foreign capital, industrialized production methods, and sale in a world market, this first chapter reveals that certain questions were far more central to many of the deliberations and antagonisms of abolitionism than previous studies have allowed. Whereas prior thought has revolved around the debate of whether or not slavery was compatible with a modernizing sugar industry, I aim to demonstrate that this line of inquiry fails to account for the exact mechanism that displaced the creole plantocracy and saw several moneylending merchants become Cuba’s largest planters and its ruling class, which was the relative cost of capital. It was the sugar producers’ dependence on merchants to finance their capital expenditures, moreover, that helps to account for the heightened production of Shylock figures in the Cuban nineteenth century. I will then analyze how through “metonymic displacement and metaphoric condensation” the anxieties roused by social, economic, and racial disequilibria came to be transcribed on the Jew’s body, and how the latter was assigned several points of contact with the ways in which the mulatto was racially conceived and perceived.46 The chapter concludes with readings of several creole-authored texts that look to condense the profuse concerns provoked by the encounter with liberal modernity in the figure of the abstract Jew.47 Born in 1814 and living in Puerto Príncipe (now Camagüey), Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga (1814–1873) was too young and too far east (and presumably of the wrong gender) to have been one of Del Monte’s early disciples. Her friendship with Del Monte has, however, recently been documented.48 Whether it was through this acquaintance or that of José María Heredia, or by way of the many articles penned by Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros that appeared in the Puerto Príncipe media, Gómez de Avellaneda came to share many of the abiding concerns of her metropolitan countrymen, as her novel Sab (1841) lays bare.49 The novel also demonstrates that for Gómez de Avellaneda, as for many others, a convenient tactic for negotiating these crises was to consolidate them in the notional Jew. I begin the series of case studies that constitute this section of the book by reviewing the catalogue of racial markers by which La Avellaneda imbues the villainous English merchants with Jewishness in Sab. Triggered by this analysis, I move to rethink the sea of critical convictions that engulfs this much-studied novel. Whereas conventional readings have welcomed
Introduction [ 9 ]
the eponymous character’s mulatto constitution as, in the words of one formative study, “productive confusion,” I submit that contemporary readers would have received Sab’s racial disorder quite differently.50 Sab’s racial “overcategorization,” in collaboration with Jewish racial ambiguity, embodies the unnerving disintegration of age-old borders and the narrowing of differentiating distances that came about with the collapse of one socioeconomic order and the rise of another.51 Toward protecting Cuban property and Cubanness-as-property against the fissile transformations that were reaching critical mass in the late 1830s, Gómez de Avellaneda manipulates the deep-seated phobias that attached to Jewish and mulatto racial in-between-ness, while blacks and Amerindians (and with them, the brutal realities of plantation slavery and genocide) are hidden from view or made to vanish entirely.52 Chapter 3 opens with an exploration of how and why La cuarterona (The quadroon), by the Puerto Rican dramatist Alejandro Tapia y Rivera (1826–1882), is inflected by the Cuban anti–slave trade discourse that emerged from Del Monte’s tertulia—the circle of young writers that he promoted. This chapter problematizes conventional assumptions by asserting that La cuarterona does not envision a utopia of universal racial inclusion; nor does it promote unconditional abolition of slavery as scholars have insisted. Quite to the contrary, Tapia’s play is a racial project narrowly conceived to bring about colonial reform in Cuba—which, not incidentally, is the play’s setting—as well as in Puerto Rico by mollifying what he considered to be its principal stumbling block, Cuban Negrophobia. I return to the historical stage on which Tapia’s play aimed to perform the political work of promoting Puerto Rican autonomy through refocusing Cuban racial panic away from its black and colored population and onto the peninsular slave trader, for it was the combustible coupling of Negrophobia with an influx of African chattel that served as a primary mainstay of despotic colonialism. The play undertakes this racial project by deploying the bon nègre trope on the one hand, by racially neutralizing the mulatto on the other, and finally by investing the antiblack racial project for Puerto Rico and Cuba with an overdose of Judaeophobia. As socioracial categories were thrown into disarray in nineteenthcentury Cuba, creoles attempted to reconsolidate a sense of self through what Michel Foucault has termed a “deployment of sexuality.”53 Cirilo Villaverde’s (1812–1894) Cecilia Valdés, which has been consecrated as
[ 10 ] The Merchant of Havana
the quintessential Cuban novel, illustrates the manner in which Cuban whiteness equipped itself with a “technology of sex” to shore up the dividing lines that incorporation into “the modern world-system” and mestizaje had blurred.54 Whereas the mulata’s racialized sexuality in the novel has been critically explored, the peninsular merchant Cándido Gamboa’s socially unsettling carnality, which is inscribed within Jewishness, has gone unremarked.55 This fourth chapter, therefore, argues that notions of Afro-Cuban and Jewish sexualities intersected and operated as the imagined obverse to constructions of Cuban whiteness. Looked at from this perspective, it becomes apparent that it is not abolition the novel advances. Rather, Villaverde’s true target is the sugar mill complex, which was the keystone of Spanish colonialism. In stark contrast to the scenes of Gothic horror witnessed on Gamboa’s mechanized sugar mill, Isabel Ilincheta’s pastorally emplotted coffee farm is mythologized as a harmonious and autochthonous economic alternative. The policy of buen tratamiento, or the good treatment of slaves, called for by the Cuban intelligentsia throughout the century and adhered to at Ilincheta’s fictional La Luz, encourages the coerced laborers’ rate of natural reproduction to surpass that of their mortality, which was designed to disentangle the Cuban labor supply from the Crown’s authority in Madrid and Spanish slavers more broadly. Supported by several of the author’s letters, this final numbered chapter not only scrutinizes Villaverde’s portrayal of the slave as a specifically Cuban manifestation of Romantic primitivism but also unmasks the novel’s exemplary pastoralism for what it truly is: propaganda for a program of slave labor reform.56 This study of Cuban abolitionism with the ample work carried out by the metaphorical Jew at its center supplements our comprehension of the Cuban nineteenth century beyond the particular uses of racial logic sketched above. Not a few of the principal conversations of that era have been framed by more recent cultural criticism according to a binary logic: pro or antislavery, slavery or capitalism, liberalism or racism, slave or wage labor, and so on.57 In the same “transgressive spirit” with which this book heeds the urgings of Cheyette and Marcus to “build bridges across supposedly different histories of diaspora,” it looks to complicate these rigid and reductive bipolar assumptions by historicizing certain discussions of the period, which in turn highlights what Tomich describes as their “specificity and complexity.”58 In
Introduction [ 11 ]
recognizing the diversity and fluidity of these questions, a much more accurate and, to my mind, interesting picture of late colonial Cuba emerges.59 Although this theoretical reframing seems quite beside the question of notional Jewishness, it is through recuperating this critically forgotten dimension—the Jew in the Cuban abolitionist archive— that my proposed rereading of nineteenth-century Cuba may be set in motion.60
[ 12 ] The Merchant of Havana
1 The Notional Jew Judaizing the Merchant
In his travel memoir of Cuba, the Frenchman Hippolyte Piron reports having observed a profound hatred of Jews on the Spanish sugar island in 1876: “Jews, according to Cubans, are only good for burning alive.” Piron then rhetorically queries, “Are these not the Jewish dogs who killed Christ?” Such deep-seated antipathy toward Jews, according to Piron, translated into Cubans’ use of the term “Jew” as an insulting epithet that was cast at non-Jews: “When a [Cuban] desires to offend someone cruelly, he calls him Jew.”1 Surely, the anti-Semitic reference rendered the offense that Piron asserts. The discursive practice of labeling certain people “Jews” was, however, much more than an abusive slur in late colonial Cuba. In a society upturned by contact with the forces of liberal modernity, creoles designated the imaginary Jew as a psychosocial stabilizing device.2 At the turn of the century, the engines of finance capitalism and industrialization mixed with imperial liberalism and a constellation of historical events to bring about Cuban economic expansion on an epochal scale. The sugar boom of the 1790s was triggered largely by the destruction of Saint Domingue’s sugar fields in the Haitian revolution (1792) and gained momentum after 1818 with the steam engine’s application to Cuban sugar manufacture. As the sugar industry ramped up, mercantilist monopolies collapsed, giving way to limited free trade and a redefined colonialism. By 1830, Cuba assumed the mantle as the world’s foremost sugar producer, which was facilitated by technological innovation and a multiplication of the acreage under cane cultivation. Mechanized mills swelled in number and in size, while the installation of a railroad network allowed for the sugar zone’s eastward expansion. An influx of foreign capital financed the industry’s growth,
[ 13 ]
and a monumental escalation in slave imports—560,000 in the first half of the nineteenth century—supplied the labor.3 This restructuring, occasioned by the transition from agricultural production and merchant capitalism to industrial production and finance capitalism, did not limit itself to the arena of political economy but reverberated throughout the entire social order. The established creole elite, whose hegemony was founded on landholding and heredity was now challenged by a foreign bourgeoisie and the financial and industrial forces that it commanded. Smaller animal- and water- powered trapiches failed, unable to compete with the large-scale mechanized ingenios, and as sugar plantations extended to the south and east of Havana, other agricultural sectors, such as livestock and coffee, were driven out. The coerced migration of so many thousands of Africans dramatically reshaped the island’s demographic distribution. Race war seemed inevitable as the latter resisted their oppression. The island’s intelligentsia also found itself on shifting terrain, unbalanced by the processes that accompanied Cuban sugar’s sale in a world market and the wealth and land accretion that came about with the lopsided economic expansion that resulted. Their utopian fantasy of an autonomous nation organized around agricultural alternatives to sugar, or Little Cuba, was blocked by the reality of “the Plantation” as Antonio Benítez Rojo characterizes it: a society shaped by the “sugar-milling machine” and the tyrannical colonialism that it underwrote.4 The most noticeable accomplice to Cuba’s economic, political, and social reconfiguration, which a wide spectrum of society experienced as profoundly unsettling, was the merchant. A host of correspondences between the merchant’s curriculum vitae and that of the metaphorical Jew licensed creoles to reject the destabilizing new order by identifying its emblem, the merchant, with Jewishness. But before moving on to study how creoles attempted to mend the tears in the “fabric of Cuban life” by “personifying, capturing, and deflecting” them onto the Judaized merchant, a point made in the Introduction and confirmed in Piron’s L’île de Cuba should be reiterated: actual Jewish nonparticipation in Cuban trade is immaterial to the functioning of anti-Semitic tropes.5 The performative utterances of Judaeophobic diatribe, as several scholars have indicated, need not have anything to do with whether or not its target is empirically Jewish.6 To be sure, anti-Semitism can exist without Jews, as Bernd Marin has shown in the
[ 14 ] The Merchant of Havana
case of post-Holocaust Austria. Through what Marin labels “cultural sedimentation,” “antisemitic concepts and forms of expression” have become fixed in popular “consciousness” and in “ordinary language.” Therefore, in Marin’s words, “the traditional stereotype of Jews starts independently to symbolize and to become a code for certain social functions, abilities and ways of behaviour connected with them.” Much like postwar Austria, post-expulsion Spain, or present-day Japan, nineteenth-century Cuban articulations of Jew hatred were cases of “antisemitism without Jews” and “antisemitism without antisemites.”7 Perhaps it is the other way around, as both Marin and Bauman have suggested—that it is precisely the communities devoid of empirical Jews that find anti-Semitic discourse especially adaptable to their own circumstances, for they lack the experiential reference against which the accuracy of stereotypes might be judged.8 In any case, as notions of the despised merchant corresponded with long-held patterns of imagined Jewishness, and on account of the urgency with which creoles sought to protect the Cuban self and society from the disturbances generated by the colony’s transition to industrial capitalism and its engagement with the world economy, a tropology of Jewishness became both convenient and strategically useful.
Let us now turn to a pair of examples of the merchant’s Ju-
daization in nineteenth-century Cuban written culture. This will help frame a broader discussion of the transfigurations that so drastically altered social relations and that, connectedly, saw Cubans project their concerns and desires onto the notional Jew as they toiled to shore up society’s crumbling boundaries.9 Antonio Bachiller y Morales (1812– 1889), one of the most important intellectuals and reformers of the Cuban nineteenth century, underscores the merchant’s malignancy by making him into a Jew in his undated, unpublished play La venta de un ingenio (The sale of a sugar mill). A few poorly preserved pages located at the National Library José Martí in Havana are all that remain of the drama, in which a widow faces the dilemma of what to do with her sugar mill after her husband’s death. Reminiscent of the peninsular dramatist Manuel Bretón de los Herreros’s play Marcela, o ¿a cuál de los tres? (Marcela, or which of the three?; 1831), three men, representing prudence, naïveté, and greed, offer Doña Francisca their advice on the matter. In the opening scene, Don Judas (signifying greed, natu-
The Notional Jew [ 15 ]
rally) offers to buy the mill, which he plans to then sell at a profit. Don Judas relates to Doña Francisca that in a woman’s hands the mill will be ruined, while in his it will ruin his financial rivals. Doña Francisca questions these motives; Don Judas parodies her concerns by replying with his own rhetorical questions: Francisca: Judas: Francisca: Judas: Francisca: Judas:
And your conscience? And my necessity? And your religion? And my belly? And the tribunals? Ha . . . Ha . . . Ha . . . And the privilege of the law of the Indies?10
Here, Bachiller aligns the merchant’s desire to usurp creole property with Jewishness. In addition to Don Judas’s name, the merchant is Judaized by Doña Francisca’s interrogation of his religion, and these two markers work together to clue the audience that her reference to “the tribunals” (“los tribunales”) may be read as shorthand for the Tribunal of Commerce but also, and more significantly, for the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The last line above portrays Don Judas mocking the privilegio de ingenios (privilege of sugar mills), the oftencircumvented law stipulating that sugar mills were exempt from seizure for debt. The foreign financier’s extralegal confiscation of property for which the atrophied creole gentry had defaulted on debt, explored in detail below, was a decisive element of nineteenth-century Cuban anti-Semitism’s “multiplier condition,” David Theo Goldberg’s designation for the sum of the “exacerbation effects and characterization influences by historicized identity discourses on the precise natures and characters of particular racisms.”11 The practice of tarnishing the merchant and all that he came to stand for with overtones of Jewishness as perpetrated in La venta de un ingenio was ubiquitous in nineteenth-century Cuba.12 Another instructive iteration of the trope is found in the book-length collection of costumbrista sketches Los cubanos pintados por sí mismos (Cubans as drawn by themselves; 1852). In “El maestro de escuela” (The school teacher), José Agustín Millán presents a ne’er-do-well teacher examining his pupils, one of whom is the son of a merchant:
[ 16 ] The Merchant of Havana
Mr. Balandran . . . stand. . . . (to the audience) This is the son of the merchant Don Judas Tadeo, a man of conscience . . . like all merchants. (Aloud) Let’s see, Mr. Balandran. . . . If you found yourself, for example, in the countryside, hunting, and you were to see, sitting on the branches of a mamoncillo tree thirty jews and . . . firing your shotgun, you manage to kill twenty, how many would be left?13
Millán plays on the double entendre of the term judío at once meaning a type of bird common to Cuba (an anti-Jewish reference in itself, named for its long beak) as well as the merchant, who, like Bachiller, he names Don Judas. By virtue of their racialization as Jews, the thirty merchants of “El maestro de escuela” are excluded from the “universe of obligation determining reciprocity and inclusion in the community,” which then permits for Millán’s depiction of their homicidal removal from the body politic.14 Once again we find an author giving voice to the “spite and disdain” with which creoles regarded the merchants, as reported by Manuel Moreno Fraginals, by drawing on the ample cultural repository of notional Jewishness.15 It was in the aftermath of the sugar revolution that creoles refashioned traditional representations of Jewishness in texts such as La venta de un ingenio, “El maestro de escuela,” and so many others. Although a privileged handful enjoyed what Moreno has colorfully designated “the first dance of the millions,” the dance floor was riddled with cracks that widened with the plantation monoculture’s asymmetric expansion.16 One prominent structural fissure that was exacerbated with the economic transition was Cuba’s lack of a financing infrastructure until after midcentury. This source of instability conferred enormous power to the merchant class, uniquely positioned to extend capital to the socially superior mill owners. Hard on the heels of cash, political and social eminence flowed from the creole patrician to the foreignborn bourgeoisie. It also gave rise to the leitmotif in creole-authored texts of suffusing the merchant-moneylender with a vernacular of Jewish usury.
It is no hyperbole to discuss the Jews’ stereotypical connec-
tion with usury as “perhaps the most persistent of all libels.”17 The remarkably durable convention became entrenched within Western culture long before Christopher Columbus introduced sugarcane to The Notional Jew [ 17 ]
the New World, and it continued to resonate through the nineteenth century and beyond. The figure of the villainous Jewish moneylender who ruthlessly demands his pound of Christian flesh has been around since the thirteenth-century Middle English poem “Cursor Mundi,” if not earlier. Versions of the canard increased during the Renaissance and since then have found ceaseless expression in European culture.18 One particularly noteworthy manifestation of the trope is the Spaniard Francisco de Quevedo’s “La isla de los Monopantos” (The island of the Monopants; 1638), in which a congress of rabbis conspires to destroy European civilization through the medium of money power. It has been convincingly argued that this story inspired the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infinitely damaging anti-Semitic text.19 The Jewish usurer is most famously portrayed in the character Shylock from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, probably composed between 1596 and 1598. “Shylock,” Moses Debré observes, “cast [a] giant shadow over the literature of the eighteenth century and that which has followed.”20 Writers of that era presenting Shylock figures include Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, George Sand, and Aleksandr Pushkin, to name just a few.21 The nineteenth century saw Shakespeare’s play translated into more than twenty languages, and adaptations were common.22 The Shylock figure became so deeply embedded in Western culture that, as John Gross has studied, it was often made use of without referring to Shakespeare’s Jewish merchant-moneylender by name. By the early eighteenth century Shylock had become an epithet, and by the end of the nineteenth it had entered the English dictionary as a noun, verb, and adjective.23 Indeed, as Gross puts it, Shylock “is a familiar figure to millions who have never read The Merchant of Venice, or even seen it acted; he has served as an inspiration for hundreds of writers, and a point of reference for innumerable publicists. There are times when one might wish it were otherwise, but he is immortal.”24 The Shylock figure’s perpetual reincarnation was just the most salient of several determinants that had strongly associated the Jew with a materialistic set of values in popular thought by the time the bourgeois revolution made the scene.25 Still, the stereotype’s nineteenth-century refashioning went beyond simply adjusting it to suit the rise of capitalist modernity. Not only was an exclusionary paradigm anchored in religious justifications recast as a racial discourse (a realignment that will be further addressed in Chapter 2) but, as Bauman’s trenchant rethink[ 18 ] The Merchant of Havana
ing of anti-Semitism has laid bare, the transmuted prejudice addressed new anxieties that arose with the profound disorder that stemmed from the making of the modern world. Adding to what other scholars of the Jewish experience had also discerned—namely, that post-emancipation, the “problem” posed by Jews to their host communities was not their purported difference but rather their troubling lack of discernible difference—Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust makes the case that the Jew’s taxonomic ambiguity reflected for many the horrifying classificatory and identitarian confusion that came about with the new age.26 Jews, Bauman argues, “epitomized the awesome scope of social upheaval and served as a vivid, obtrusive reminder of the erosion of old certainties.”27 In “Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern,” Bauman continues his reevaluation of anti-Semitism in these terms. Here, Bauman contends that the “common habit of considering the animosity towards the Jews as a case of heterophobia—the resentment of the different—is again constraining” and instead proposes that “the resentfulness of the Jews is a part of proteophobia,” defined as the apprehension and vexation related not to something or someone disquieting through otherness and unfamiliarity, but to something or someone that does not fit the structure of the orderly world, does not fall easily into any of the established categories, emits therefore contradictory signals as to the proper conduct—and in the result blurs the borderlines which ought to be kept watertight and undermines the reassuringly monotonous, repetitive and predictable nature of the life-world.28
Summarily stated, Bauman asserts that anti-Semitism’s durability can be explained by the correspondence between the “proteophobic anxiety” provoked by the Jew’s “categorical elusiveness” and by the “underdetermination, unclarity, uncertainty—in other words, ambivalence” of modern life.29 On account of this resemblance, the imaginary Jew exposed “a fissure in the world order through which the ultimately invincible chaos is, reluctantly and depressingly, sighted,” and for this he would be made to pay.30 One of this book’s central arguments is that the vocabulary and images used to locate the male Jew’s racial difference decisively inflected discussions concerning the Afro-Cuban. In this regard, it must be emphasized that our affirmative, if not uncomplicated, answer to Sander The Notional Jew [ 19 ]
Gilman’s incisive query “Are Jews white?” is predicated on what he calls the “shift in the perception of the Jewish body” (which has been deftly mapped by Matthew Frye Jacobson) that took place during the twentieth century.31 In the nineteenth century, our ancestors would have responded to Gilman’s question quite differently. Not only was Jewish “a separate and distinct racial category” in that era but what is more, Jewishness was perceived and conceived of as approximating blackness.32 Gilman illustrates that, according to nineteenth-century racial science, “the Jew’s physiognomy was understood to be closer to that of the African than to that of the European,” and on account of the teleological revolutions between racial perception and conception, the Jew’s African physicality would have been read as an outward marker of his “inner intellectual, moral, or temperamental” blackness.33 Thus in his The Races of Men (1850), the Scottish anthropologist Robert Knox noted “the African character of the Jew,” a resemblance that was distinctly visible on the Jew’s body: “The contour is convex; the eyes long and fine, the outer angles running towards the temples; the brow and nose apt to form a single convex line; the nose comparatively narrow at the base, the eyes consequently approaching each other; lips very full, mouth projecting, chin small, and the whole physiognomy, when swarthy, as it often is, has an African look.”34 At the tail end of the century, the racial scientist Houston Stewart Chamberlain put this down to Jewish-African interbreeding during the period of the Alexandrian exile in his The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century.35 Though this modality of seeing and understanding the Jew is alien to us today, Gilman concludes that “the image of the ‘Black Jew,’ the product of crossbreeding Jew with Black, was a powerful one in nineteenth-century Europe.”36 Bryan Cheyette adds a critical caveat to Gilman’s argument: “The point is not that Jews were unequivocally [ . . . ] ‘black’ in Western liberal culture but [ . . . ] that they were ambivalently positioned as both black and white; self and other as both inside and outside Western culture.”37 As discussed earlier, it was this very ambivalence that was at the heart of Jew hatred. If there was a “general consensus” in the nineteenth century that being black and being Jewish were somehow “inexorably linked,” it stands to reason that racial knowledge did not flow in a single direction, but that a dialectics of Jewishness and blackness saw these categories interact with one another.38 In what follows, I intend to show that this was indeed the case in late colonial Cuba—that constructions [ 20 ] The Merchant of Havana
of blackness and Jewishness should be understood as intersecting negative images against which the borderlines of Cubanness were traced. Again, this is not to say that motifs of Jewishness and Afro-Cubanness have functioned in exactly the same way—only that it is productive to consider how these discourses were in dialogue. In broad terms, I find that both the mulatto and the Jew inhabited an in-between space in the creole imaginary.39 In terms uncannily similar to those with which Bauman sketches the protean Jew, José F. Buscaglia-Salgado discusses the unsettled and unsettling mulatto subject: “a strange kind of social organism whose essence was the production and reproduction of difference ad infinitum, that subject in medias res that in the Manichaean world of Christianity and of the plantation was from the very beginning hard to place, impossible to figure out, and dangerously unpredictable.”40 By disrupting the West’s dyadic logic, mulataje constituted a subversion to “all the calculations of the coloniality of power.”41 And like the Jew, not only is the mulatto an “unstable locus of subjectivity,” but his or her typological confusion mirrored the overwhelming ambiguity that creoles glimpsed through cracks in the imperial veneer: “the mulatto body became the site that proved the futility of all demarcation, be it religious, national, political, or protoracial.”42 The active intermingling between these two racial categories and others shall be further explored in each of the subsequent chapters. In the nineteenth century, the industrial and middle-class revolutions, world market forces, and liberal democratic thought upended Cuban social, economic, and political formations. Strangers teemed to Cuban shores dreaming of sugar riches; many of them rose to prominence, restructuring societal hierarchies and values.43 Trade traversed colonial borders with increasing frequency and permissibility.44 This, in addition to the loss of its mainland American empire, forced Spain to recalibrate Cuban colonialism.45 The island’s number of black and colored inhabitants soared, and a broadened spectrum of skin color muddled racial divisions. Slave uprisings occurred with increased regularity and potency, shaking the entire Cuban edifice to its foundations. In the tumult, it became clear that the creoles’ social utopia was impossible, and a budding Cuban subjectivity felt itself threatened. To be sure, the mulatto body became “the most prominent site” for engaging with “the tensions and contradictions, the divergences and overlaps” of Cuba’s late colonial situation.46 It is the central thesis of this book that the Jewish body was another. Let us now examine in more The Notional Jew [ 21 ]
depth some of the instabilities that were symbolically negotiated on the “Jewish” merchant’s body.
If Cuban “sugar [was] made with blood”—an aphorism that syn-
thesizes the exacerbated tortures slaves suffered subsequent to the sugar boom, when an artisanal production process was replaced by an industrialized one—another basic ingredient was credit: in the nineteenth century virtually all creole-owned plantations were mortgaged. The planters’ astronomic accrual of debt after the turn of the century was the function of a proportional growth in the capital needed to equip a mill. Now competing in the cutthroat global market, Cuban planters were forced to maximize efficiency. This translated into the sugar mills’ switchover from preindustrial to industrialized production methods. Machinery costs soared, doubling between 1830 and 1859. Technification, moreover, required all production inputs to multiply in size in order to keep up with the increased grinding capacity of the steam engine. The average size of a sugar plantation multiplied several fold, which in turn led to a corresponding escalation in the number of its slaves, for all practical purposes the lone harvesters of sugarcane until at least 1868. And after the initial sugar boom, land, slaves, and all other factors of production for that matter, fetched prices much inflated over those seen in the prior century. Labor, moreover, accounted for a substantial recurring cost. Sexual disproportion, overexploitation, and mistreatment resulted in a mortality rate among slaves far surpassing that of natural reproduction. To replenish their slave crews, planters spent millions.47 These costs and others—the enormous sums that funded the Cuban planters’ extravagant lifestyles should not go unmentioned—were all paid on credit.48 The lack of a commercial bank on the island until after 1857 left planters with no other recourse than to seek loans from merchants, who also served as private bankers and lent at exorbitant interest.49 Whereas the legal rate on loans was 5–6 percent, merchants offered financing at the exacting price of 18–20 percent according to Roland Ely’s and Hugh Thomas’s math; Moreno, Fernando Ortiz, and Louis A. Pérez quote figures as high as 30–40 percent.50 Notwithstanding the clear abuse of lending at such excessive percentages, another factor that drove these numbers up, the privilegio de ingenios, merits attention. Established by a sixteenth-century royal decree and in place
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until 1865, the privilegio de ingenios declared “that in no instance shall the plantations, slaves, machines, animals, or personal property [of a sugar mill owner] be seized or foreclosed for debts or litigations,” leaving only future harvests to be secured as collateral.51 As long as the mill itself and its valuable slaves were juridically exempt from seizure to satisfy debt, the merchant lender faced the moral hazard that an insolvent planter would continue to mount on liabilities that he had little ability to pay back since he never had to fear the confiscation of his property. All too often, this proved to be the case.52 Still, predatory lending practices were widespread. The abusive loan terms further imposed that planters use the hogsheads, boxes, transport systems, and warehouses of the financing merchant, or refaccionista.53 The net result was that even the most profitable ingenios were saddled with monumental debt. Some case examples from midcentury will help convey the planters’ debt crisis. To put the numbers in perspective, a typical hacienda cost some 150,000 Spanish pesos, and the peso was on a par with the US dollar at that time.54 In 1852, Fernando Diago, one of the island’s largest sugar producers, incurred a debt of 2 million pesos that entailed 100,000 pesos a year in interest. During the period 1850–1853, Diago spent 333,185 pesos on interest charges. Diago’s nephew Joaquín de Ayesterán brought the first “centrifugal” machine to Cuba in 1850, which he bought with credit furnished to him by the same firm that financed his uncle, Drake and Company.55 In the years 1850–1853, Ayesterán paid Drake 284,691 pesos in interest.56 It is significant that several of the creole intellectuals who will be discussed shortly, notably Domingo Del Monte, Anselmo Suárez y Romero, and Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, were themselves indebted to merchant-lenders at one time or another.57 As mill owners invariably found themselves trapped in a cycle of increasing debt obligations, creditors fraudulently seized their mills, the property exemption notwithstanding.58 Take, for instance, the ingenio Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Bonifacio González Larrinaga, one of Havana’s biggest moneylending merchants, advanced its owner, José Antonio Bosque, a mere 1,000 pesos. Through scheming and a couple of poor harvests, González Larrinaga became the estate’s owner in 1805 with no further outlay than his meager initial investment.59 If this is an extreme case, the records of the Tribunal de Comercio (com-
The Notional Jew [ 23 ]
merce court) reveal that instances in which borrowers faced amounts payable many times the original credit provided were widespread.60 Travelers to Cuba could not help but notice the astonishing scale of planter debt owed to merchant-moneylenders. The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who made his way to the island at the turn of the century, comments in his The Island of Cuba: “The extraordinary expenditures required by the large sugar plantations [ . . . ] place the landed proprietors in a state of absolute dependence upon the merchants.”61 David Turnbull discusses the proliferation of private debt among landowners in his travel memoir from 1840, Travels in the West: “This estate [La Holanda] I found in a condition not unusual in this island, and certainly not unknown in any of the sugar colonies. It had passed from the hands of the original proprietor into those of the money lender at the Havana, and was said to be in pleito, which signifies to be broken down by lawsuits, or, if the pun may be pardoned, to be in a very miserable plight.”62 At around the same time as Turnbull’s reporting, Wurdemann writes similarly: “The merchants own a large portion of the wealth of the island, in bonds of planters, in whose estates they are thus largely interested.”63 In 1862, 80 percent of Cuban sugar properties were in the process of foreclosure for debt.64 Numerous small and medium-sized ingenios were ruined in this way, and even many large-scale sugar mills, like those of Diago and Ayesterán, could not get out from under their lia bilities.65 Nearly a hundred mills folded between 1792 and 1820, a spectacle that has gone mostly overlooked, Moreno posits, because the clip at which these mills dissolved was overtaken by the breakneck speed at which others were founded, resulting in statistics that indicate a growth of mills in absolute terms.66 The lion’s share of the new mills was controlled by men who had made their start as merchants.67 To be sure, the question of credit is more central to many of the discussions and conflicts of the period than previous studies have allowed. Whereas the creole planters’ ruin is a question that has been scrutinized since Raúl Cepero Bonilla’s Azúcar y abolición (Sugar and abolition; 1948), many studies have done little more than reiterate its view that slavery and industrialized sugar production were incompatible and therefore unprofitable, as Laird Bergad has signaled.68 The most prominent assertion of this argument is expressed by Moreno in his landmark survey of the Cuban sugar system, El ingenio: Complejo económico social cubano del azúcar (The Sugarmill: The social and [ 24 ] The Merchant of Havana
economic sugar complex; 1964), although whereas most others claim that the uneducated slave was incapable of operating industrial technologies, which eventually led to abolition, Moreno’s premise takes on an unfortunate racial dimension.69 Neither variation of the thesis has stood up to the evidence presented in more recent inquiries, which make it plain that slavery was indeed lucrative even at the moment of abolition, and that slaves were fully competent in the running of modern machinery.70 Nevertheless, the regularly misdiagnosed question remains: What blocked so many mills from successfully industrializing, leading to their collapse? As should be clear by now, I am suggesting that the answer is more to do with financing than with slavery.71 The ingenios that began to crop up after the initial boom were incredibly profitable, implemented state-of-the-art processing techniques, and—demonstrating the inaccuracy of Cepero Bonilla’s and Moreno’s theses—relied on slave labor.72 Franklin Knight summarizes the qualitative revolution of the Cuban sugar industry with these statistics: “Only 2.5 per cent of the 1,000 ingenios in Cuba in 1827 were steam-powered. In 1846, 19.8 per cent of the total of 1,422 used steam. By 1861, 70.8 per cent of the 1,365 ingenios used steam, while 29.0 per cent used animal force.”73 The sugar industry’s increased mechanization was not preceded by a shift from slave to wage labor, which we would expect to find if slavery and industrial technology were truly discordant.74 This is because they were not. It was not the mill’s labor organization that impeded industrialization, but rather its capital structure. The old plantocracy financed capital expenditures with debt, making the investment in agricultural machinery (and everything else, for that matter) prohibitively costly. On the other hand, the merchants’ liquid assets allowed them to self-finance. The relative cost of capital was the principal driver of the “total ruin of the old Cuban producing class” and the rise of the merchant-planter.75 As early as 1796, the Real Consulado, a body formed a year earlier in order to advocate on behalf of creole planters, addressed the need for “bank loans for sugar producers to free them from the usurious grip of the merchants.”76 The same complaint was frequently and vociferously lodged throughout the next century.77 Mariano Torrente, a peninsular Spaniard by birth, opens his Bosquejo económico político de la isla de Cuba (Political and economic sketch of the island of Cuba; 1853) with a meditation on the planters’ debt burden:
The Notional Jew [ 25 ]
Determined in our intentions, and consistent in our principles of proposing for the island of Cuba all possible improvements in its various branches, we shall treat that which in our mind surpasses all in opportunity and indisputable benefit: that is, banishing usury from these domains, which has taken on such colossal dimensions that it may well cause agriculture’s ruin, or at least weaken it, especially if prices do not correspond with the scale of production, such that those who dedicate themselves to it cannot see the efforts of their labor and careful planning rewarded except quite imperfectly. For how is it possible for this industry to flourish in a country where the premium on money that is taken to foster it rises, not to 4 or 5 percent as in Europe, but to 18 or 20, save for a few exceptions? And what is the necessary result of such high rewards on capital? That a large part of Cuba’s planters will never see their farms free of obligations, because however great production may be, as it is in effect, one invests greatly not in amortizing the capital of his loans or anticipations, but rather to pay the ballooning interest; for this they cannot shake off the heavy yoke of the moneylenders.78
If prophesying an agricultural apocalypse, Torrente’s audit nevertheless displays a composure that many other commentaries on the question of usury lacked. In these, which I will discuss in detail below, the creoles’ “superb disdain” for the moneylending merchant, as described by Jean Baptiste Rosemond de Beauvallon in 1844, is voiced through discursive constructions of Jewishness.79 Moneylending is the mechanism by which several merchants became the new Cuban saccharocracy.80 It also accounts for the heightened production of Shylock’s progeny in cultural matrices of the Cuban nineteenth century. But the planters’ debt crisis was just one component (if primary) of the “multiplier condition.”81 As was briefly alluded to above, Cuban anti-Semitic diatribe was nourished by the devastating sense of uncertainty experienced by creoles as the emergence of a new order displaced the world they had known. For many, the transgression of traditional boundaries was perfectly reflected in the merchant class’s geographical, societal, and identitarian trespassing. It is in this sense that creoles’ use of anti-Semitism was dictated by both the financial and psychic economies of imperial liberalism.82
[ 26 ] The Merchant of Havana
From the large-scale financier who bankrolled the island’s sugar revolution down to the shopkeeper and ambulatory peddler, Cuba’s “merchant class was composed exclusively of foreign immigrants and their offspring throughout the entire nineteenth century.”83 Whereas US Americans, English, French, Germans, and others participated in Cuban trade, it is significant that the most abundant and powerful group of merchants were peninsular Spaniards, whom, as Wurdemann recalled, creoles also recognized to be foreign.84 For one, this added a political dimension to the already heightened economic and social animosities between planter and merchant, as Moreno has pointed out.85 Further, a surge in the island’s population of peninsular Spaniards, which gained near exclusive control of the colonial bureaucracy and trade, accompanied, and in effect largely precipitated, creoles’ nascent articulations of a uniquely Cuban identity.86 The peninsular Spaniards’ cultural, linguistic, and now physical proximity compromised creole national and self-definitional projects.87 Toward resolving this “cognitive crisis” and more clearly delimiting the boundaries of Cubanness, creoles “establish[ed] an economy of [peninsular] difference” through the durable clichés of Jewishness.88 (Cuban hostility toward the British is beyond the purview of this chapter and will be studied in depth in Chapter 2.) As Knight reviews, “the number of Spaniards rapidly increased after 1762, when the crown decided to station a permanent garrison on the island, and even more so in the nineteenth century, when loyalist refugees of the Latin American wars took up residence” on the everfaithful isle.89 Knight continues, Apart from holding an apparently complete monopoly of the bureaucratic positions, the Peninsular Spaniards dominated the commercial sector. This arose partly because they lacked the original land grants that would have made them a part of the landholding group, and partly because this aspect of trade was greatly neglected in the earlier days of restricted, mercantilistic commerce. The Peninsular Spaniards had the necessary contacts in Spain, and the determination to persevere in a socially deprecated enterprise. In the course of time, a number of them made great fortunes from their humble origins, and either joined the prestigious landholding group, or retired to Spain to participate in social life and politics.90
The Notional Jew [ 27 ]
What is more, Madrid, acting in its own financial and political interests, aided peninsular merchants with concessions and conveniences and by imposing certain protectionist policies on the colony. With such assistance from the metropole, ships flying Spanish colors carried the preponderance of nineteenth-century Cuban trade.91 The free cash flow from these commercial operations, as already discussed, was invested in financing the sugar industry. The merchant’s return on investment yielded nothing less than the industry itself.92 In the first instance, the continuous displacement of profit from the creole producer to the peninsular refaccionista tipped the scales of financial capital.93 Social capital followed in its wake. Faithful to a blueprint that was reprised in fact as much as it was in fiction, the nouveaux riches merchants looked to cleanse the stain of their humble origins by buying their way into the upper class. “Socially,” as Hugh Thomas underscores, the newly affluent merchants were “jumping into the ranks of the oligarchy”: It was possible to become a marquess by paying $45,000 (£10,000), a count for $25,000 to $30,000 (£6,000 to £7,000). In this way Nicolás Martínez de Campos became Conde de Santovenia in 1824; José Ramón de Alfonso became in 1834 Marqués de Montelo; Carlos Pedroso became in 1832 Conde de Casa Pedroso; the regidor decano of Santiago de Cuba, Bartolomé Portuondo, a great slave dealer and scandalous judge of the Mixed Court set up in fact to ban slave trafficking, became Marqués de las Delicias in 1832; the parvenu Drakes became counts (of Vega Mar) in the 1840s. The Montalvos picked up two titles (Condes de Macuriges and Casa Montalvo), the Peñalvers four (Marquéses de Arcos and de Casa Peñalver, Condes de San Fernando and Peñalver), the Calvos two (Marquéses de Almendares and Villalta, Condes de Jibacoa and Fernandina). In the 1840s in Cuba there were thirtyfour marquesses and thirty-two counts; three of these were now grandees of Spain—the Marqués de San Felipe; the Conde de Villanueva (the Intendente, Martínez de Pinillos), his title dating from 1845; and the Conde de Fernandina, dating from 1819 (Gonzalo José de Herrera).94
It could almost go without saying that high society’s prior inhabitants did not receive the newcomers with open arms. The two groups’ in[ 28 ] The Merchant of Havana
versely correlated financial and social prosperity did not help matters. The established plantocracy came to view the merchant as directly responsible for its dispossession of money and property and attendant downward social trajectory.95 If there was little to be done about its financial fall, the déclassée creole elite might still hope to slow its slipping social privilege by degrading the upwardly mobile merchant class.96 The creole counterattack’s insulting nature was often generated through anti-Judaic rhetoric. If most of the intellectuals who composed the antislavery texts studied below were not themselves members of the Cuban elite, certain circumstances saw their interests converge with those of a handful of creole planters, and a strategic alliance was formed against the peninsular merchant.97 Born in Cuba, María de la Merced Beltrán de Santa Cruz y Montalvo, Countess of Merlin (1789–1852), moved to Europe at the age of twelve, where she spent the remainder of her life. In 1840, the countess visited her native land and composed a travel memoir, La Havane (1844), in which she nicely summarizes the socioeconomic dynamic I have been outlining: Having arrived to the island without property, they [merchants] end up capturing a large part of local fortunes; they begin to prosper by dint of industry and economy, and eventually snatch up the most beautiful hereditary properties, by means of the high interest they collect on their money. However large the properties may be, the huge costs occasioned by the production of sugar, which upon a plantation of three hundred slaves reaches about 150 or 200,000 francs per year (35 to 40,000 dollars), require a preliminary investment of funds that forces the owner to take loans that are repayable after harvest each year. The merchant, who alone can capitalize his profits, makes him considerable loans, at arbitrary interest rates that often amount to two and a half percent per month. As his income, established on such a basis, is safer than that of the borrower, whose crops are, incidentally, subject to varying prices, as well as dependent on the fickleness of temperature and unexpected accidents, it is often the case that the latter finds himself unable to meet his commitments when they come due. The exorbitant interest rates double the debt; the difficult payment becomes impossible, and the lender soon finds himself the owner of a value equal to the
The Notional Jew [ 29 ]
entire property [ . . . ]. Encouraged by the success of the abuse, the usurer allows his greed to rise unchecked, undermining or destroying fortunes.98
Foreign and lowborn, the merchant’s material achievement is won by leeching off the native planter. For this catalogue of sins, the countess appeals for “punishment for usury on the one hand; on the other, a severe law of expropriation, protective and enacted with the interest of the conservation of fortunes, in accord, in my view, with the rights of fairness and morality, and which achieve the goal of public prosperity.”99 Wurdemann’s description of the peninsular trader hits on many of the same themes as Merlin’s: “Five years of privations and a fortune,” is his motto; and not a few of the wealthiest Spanish residents in Cuba may date the commencement of their prosperity from as humble a source. The greater part of the trade with old Spain is in their [Catalan] hands, and they have latterly also extended their correspondence to other countries, and entered into active competition with the resident foreign merchants. The Catalan, moreover, furnishes the planter with all the necessaries for his negroes and plantation; advances moneys for his crops, which he then sells on commission; and often loans to him the requisite sums to erect his costly sugar works, or make his less expensive coffee estate, but all at an interest, ruinous in the present depreciated value of his crops.100
As these contemporary reports indicate, certain segments of the creole populace were disturbed by the bourgeois revolution, now finding their material and symbolic assets encroached on. But much more was at stake. Outweighing the feelings of “contestant enmity” provoked by the triumph of a socially inferior and alien group over the upper-class native creoles was the horror produced by the manner in which it was carried out.101 The fact that merchants had risen to power by virtue of a value system that creoles held in low regard abrogated many of their most essential beliefs.102
As creoles battled for control over social identity and eco-
nomic and cultural capital on one front, they wrestled with challenges
[ 30 ] The Merchant of Havana
to their worldview on another. In these contests, they often deployed preformulated Jewish stereotypes as symbolic weapons. We encountered this much in La venta de un ingenio and “El maestro de escuela,” in which Bachiller and Millán assail the merchant with an “arsenal of anti-Semitism.”103 Anti-Judaic motives such as these, Wurdemann’s testimony makes clear, were indeed routine: I have said that Spaniards are chiefly the owners of the stores, the Creoles being seldom engaged in commerce. Those containing dry goods belong generally to Asturians, while the sale of groceries and provisions is monopolized by Catalans. These latter, are an industrious, shrewd, economical class; and have, perhaps in consequence of these qualities, received their sobriquet of Spanish Jews, which can only be construed into a compliment to the Israelite. A large portion of the commerce of the island is in their hands, as well as a very great part of its wealth.104
Several other travel memoirs, such as those of Abiel Abbott (1829) and Jean Baptiste Rosemond de Beauvallon (1844), confirm Wurdemann’s observation that creoles made the island’s merchants into Jews; they are cited as “Jews” in the first and “Israelites” in the second.105 In Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés o La Loma del Ángel (1882), a novel that I will return to in Chapter 4, the narrator describes “the shops of certain retail merchants, called knickknack dealers, or properly speaking, vendors of miscellaneous articles, who, without exception, were Spanish, usually highlanders.” Sentences later, a creole character says of the same peninsular merchants, “The truth is that those Spaniards remind me more of Jews than of gentlemen.”106 In 1863, a sugar industry worth 300 million pesos carried interest charges of 200 million.107 In that same year, the satirical magazine Don Junípero, edited by the painter Victor Patricio de Landaluze, caricatured the types who frequented the Escuariza saloon in Havana in several letrillas, one of which reads: And that wicked Jew, diphtheria of poverty, persecutor of misery, Where is he going with such exuberance? Where is he going to bury
The Notional Jew [ 31 ]
the product of usury that blinds and magnetizes him? To Escuariza108
In another satirical letrilla, this one written by Juan Martínez Villergas in 1857, the audience is offered a chance to delight in the Judaized parvenu’s failure:109 Signs of bad omen are these on my life: Don Judas who yesterday made a show of being a haughty man . . . Why does he go about today so human, With so much “I kiss your hand” And so with much “I kiss your feet”? I don’t know.110
Others found less humor in the subject. In his costumbrist article “El usurero” (The usurer; 1871), Mariano Ramiro y Corrales sketches the private banker, a figure that the author declares should not be unfamiliar to the reader: You all know well that in society there exists a noteworthy number of individuals, which endowed with the instinct of the magpie, charitably dedicate themselves to exploiting their neighbor by all the legal means produced by a calculus founded on the prostitution of the law. Beings that grow in the condition of birds of prey, are all birds of calculation, which the world resentfully calls usurers, that is to say, descendants of Cain, souls of Judas and the devil’s making, who [the devil] in the end will profit from their [the usurers’] work.111
Ramiro y Corrales assumes that disgust with the Judaized usurer is shared with his audience. But if the sentiment was fairly ubiquitous, it is its intensity in Ramiro y Corrales’s “El usurero,” displayed later in fifty-two lines of antonomasia and amplification, that is indeed noteworthy:
[ 32 ] The Merchant of Havana
You, insolent enemy of him that does not have money, superb moneylender, a true vampire, an amputator of wages, and salary restrictor, encyclopedia of laws, confectioner of surcharges, champion of the courts, leader of lawsuits, merchant of conscience, candidate of hell, goblin of city hall, father of such and such a percentage, leech of wallets, serpent in human form, a stash of rules and prohibitions, kidnapper of sustenance, epidemic of man, calamity of peoples, redactor of promissory notes, archive of documents, apostle of foreclosures, artisan of a thousand entanglements; he that exploits the good people, he that skins the foolish, ... more Jew than those who mocked Jesus112
One need not analyze this pejorative series line-by-line to decipher Ramiro y Corrales’s attitude toward the greedy, parasitic, legalistic merchant, though another passage from the article should not go unremarked.113 Following the ballad, Ramiro y Corrales reveals the extent to which his expressed hatred toward the usurer goes beyond monetary concerns and is a cypher for articulating the proteophobic unease discussed above.114 In the paragraph coming after the poem there is a noticeable transition in the article’s predominantly sardonic tone as
The Notional Jew [ 33 ]
the narrator approaches the theme of societal flux, announcing that the latter is surely the more compelling crisis that Ramiro y Corrales negotiates through the “projective mechanism” of the notional Jew:115 And so, according to evil tongues, the usurer is a social ill that grows by the hour, expands each minute and that has done us the favor of making himself endemic to our privileged soil, without a doubt due to that very privilege; his principal character is that of a contagious plague that puts the insolvent in imminent danger, and whose injurious influence attacks the individual even in the moral order; he is guilty of the destruction of the family, the corruption of customs, and the off-balancing that will ruin the social edifice.116
The concluding line of Ramiro y Corrales’s “El usurero” signals that instability is the authentic trauma here. The negative Jewish stereotypes that he wields serve as much in the battle for communal- and self-identity as they do in any group-based rivalry with merchant-moneylenders. In the nineteenth-century remodeling of the imperial architecture, many creoles saw their political ambitions, economic interests, and social standing crumble. There was one group in particular, however, that was prospering: the merchant class. What is more, the merchants seemed to be doing so at their expense. That creoles conceived of the merchants in terms approximating notional Jewishness made antiSemitic statements possible, while the force of their concerns drove their frequency. Creoles’ use of Jewish stereotyping far exceeded expressing resentment and aggression toward their socioeconomic rivals, however. On account of the Jew’s “Midas touch in reverse,” everything he came into contact with turned to dung, including the new order of things that he represented and that plagued the Cuban self with profound unease.117 This psychosocial dynamic, and its “metaphoricmetonymic displacement” in the figure of the Jew, are central, if overlooked, features of the period which I shall now explore in case studies of some of its most important texts.118
[ 34 ] The Merchant of Havana
2 Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions in Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab (1841) Much ink has been spilled over Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga’s Sab, “the first fully developed Cuban novel.”1 Still, there is a significant aspect to Sab that has been largely ignored: its subplot, in which the villainous English merchants Jorge and Enrique Otway swindle the Bellavista sugar mill from a moribund Don Carlos de B . . . , thus depriving his children, its legitimate creole owners, of their inheritance.2 In depicting the foreign merchants’ misappropriation of creole property, Gómez de Avellaneda reprises a theme that was writ large on the island, as we saw above in texts such as Bachiller y Morales’s La venta de un ingenio and Merlin’s La Havane, among others. It is no accident that in her take on this motif, Gertrudis the Great should also reproduce its primary discursive element, the fictional Jew. Yet in Sab, it is not the disruptive peninsular merchant that is Judaized, as considered in Chapter 1, but the Briton. There were two pressing optics through which La Avellaneda and many like-minded creoles perceived the English with deep unease toward 1841, the year the novel was published: (1) the role played by British capital in Cuba’s socioeconomic reorganization, and (2) Albion’s efforts to curtail the transatlantic slave trade to the Spanish colony. These were the more distressing concerns that, as this chapter shall explore, are staged in Sab on the Jew’s racialized body. Attending to the novel’s anti-Semitic dimension will, moreover, provide a much more complex picture of its mulatto, black, Amerindian, and white characters, and of the work as a whole. Granted that the English merchant Jorge Otway is never
designated a Jew by name in Sab, it is still certain that Gómez de Ave-
[ 35 ]
llaneda’s readership would have discerned his Jewish particularity by virtue of a thoroughgoing compilation of racially coded attributes. To be sure, a character’s racialization is not limited to explicit statements of racial taxonomy; a figure may just as well be implicitly racialized by its author, as Ruth Hill has rightly argued. In reference to the textual representation of Jews in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American fiction, Hill finds that “he (and it’s almost always a he) may not be identified explicitly as a Jew in the novel or play. Sometimes it’s necessary to analyze the narrator’s tone and descriptions, together with the Jew’s clothes, bearing, and words, and the dialogues and actions of the characters who surround the Jew, in order to perceive the Jew as a Jew; hence, my distinction between implicit and explicit Jewishness.”3 The implicit Jewishness that Hill draws our attention to is facilitated by the incessant reduplication of explicitly Jewish characters and their assigned traits in Western culture. In the words of Linda Nochlin, Jewishness has been “constituted as a visual [and literary] trope in the modern period.”4 Writers may therefore depict “a Jewish typology which is generally readable as Jewish without resorting” to explicit racial reference.5 Jorge Otway need not be called a Jew by name: his Judaized life history, body, and manner of thinking were more than enough evidence for the nineteenth-century reader’s highly acute racial radar. Utterly steeped in the literary conventions of depicted Jewishness, the narrator introduces us to Jorge Otway: Jorge Otway was one of those many men who swiftly rose from nothing, thanks to the riches of that new and beautiful land. He was English; for some years he had been a peddler in the United States, afterward in the city of Havana, and finally had come to Puerto Príncipe, trading in textiles. [ . . . ] Five years after his arrival in Puerto Príncipe, Jorge Otway, along with two Catalonians, already owned a dry goods shop, in which he and his son waited on customers from behind the counter. Five years more and the Englishman and his partners opened a superb department store with all kinds of fine linens. [ . . . ] After yet another five years Jorge Otway had become the owner of a handsome dwelling on one of the city’s best streets and by himself ran a vast and lucrative business. [ . . . ] If we were to let five more years go by, the reader would observe the rich merchant Jorge Otway, moving in the highest social circles, waited on by
[ 36 ] The Merchant of Havana
slaves, the owner of magnificent carriages, and enjoying all of the prestige of great wealth.6
Jorge Otway is an erstwhile peddler, a Jewish type so common in the English literature that Sab’s author pored over (to be more fully discussed below) that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “it had become in anti-Semitic discourse a primary means by which to identify and describe the Jews in general.”7 Another infamous guise that the Jew has been made to wear is that of usurer, and moneylending is an indispensable part of Jorge’s rise to preeminence, as well as his more recent failures.8 In short, the foregoing biography demonstrates Gómez de Avellaneda’s patterning Jorge Otway on a host of Jewish stock figures: Jorge is the foreign Jew, the errant Jew, the Jewish arriviste, the crafty Jewish businessman, and of course, the Jewish moneylender. Beneath Jorge’s Catholic, parvenu camouflage, the observant detected a Jewish pariah: “although the elder Otway might have declared himself a true apostolic Roman Catholic from the time of his establishment in Puerto Príncipe and had educated his son in the rites of this same church, the abandonment of his former religion had not saved him from being called a heretic.”9 Jorge’s religious conversion, sincere or faked, and irrespective of his prior faith, could not erase his racial Jewishness.10 Indeed, Otway embodies the preoccupations that spurred anti-Judaism to morph into anti-Semitism in the nineteenth century— “now,” Tamar Garb summarizes, “Jewishness came to be conceived not as a matter of belief but as a racial identity.”11 Before then diasporic Jewry was endured by its host communities, to a certain extent, as long as Jews were segregated and retained a subordinate station.12 But as the processes of emancipation and assimilation saw Jews dare to “melt inconspicuously into the crowd,” Jewish difference had to be rewritten, this time in ink indelible to the “awesome eroding power of social and legal equality.”13 As Jews moved out of the shtetl and next door, the bases of their exclusion transferred as well, “from the language of religion to the pseudoscientific mobilization of the category of race in the new nineteenth-century disciplines of anthropology, ethnology, and biology.”14 Hannah Arendt encapsulates this shift in an often-cited dictum: “Jews had been able to escape from Judaism into conversion; from Jewishness there was no escape.”15 Though Jorge may have abandoned Judaism, his Jewishness could not be so easily cast aside.16 Unassailable proof that his Jewish differRacial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 37 ]
ence was biologically determined and, as such, immutable is provided in Otway’s Semitic corporeality. Gómez de Avellaneda draws on the copious archive of European Judaeophobic imagery as she renders the merchant’s body:17 “the gross and repulsive [figure] of the old peddler: bald head covered here and there by tufts of reddish hair now streaked with gray, highly flushed cheeks, sunken eyes, furrowed forehead, thin, clamped lips, pointed chin, and a tall, spare body enfolded in a white, starched dressing gown. [ . . . ] The old man grimaced in an approximation of a smile and continued, rubbing his hands and opening as wide as possible the eyes that were shining with avarice.”18 In a moment I will come back to the power of seeing race—that is, its ability to generate a misrecognition whereby social value is taken for biological fact, as Matthew Frye Jacobson has decoded.19 First though, we should look further into Jorge’s image, which, akin to his résumé, strikes a frighteningly similar resemblance to the Jew as portrayed in European painting and literature. In Oliver Twist, for example, first published in 1837, the year before Gómez de Avellaneda began composing Sab, Charles Dickens construes Jewishness in the character Fagin in this way: “a very old shrivelled Jew, whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown.”20 “His eyes glistened” as he is shown taking out “a magnificent gold watch, sparkling with diamonds [ . . . ] distorting every feature with a hideous grin.”21 The similarities between Dickens’s portrait of the explicit Jew Fagin and Gómez de Avellaneda’s depiction of the implicit Jew Otway have gone critically unnoticed. Still, even a brief examination suggests that the two writers shared ways of perceiving the psychic and somatic imprints of Jewishness. Gómez de Avellaneda’s implicit Jew is “repulsive,” as is Dickens’s explicit Jew. Otway’s eyes are “shining” with avarice, while Fagin’s “glistened.” In Oliver Twist the Jew displays a “hideous grin”; in Sab the “old man grimaced.” Both characters wear a gown that resembles the “Jewish gaberdine” worn by Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and that, in so doing, “establish[ed] a visual code that maintained and grew more significant until the late nineteenth century.”22 Jorge’s and Fagin’s red hair corresponds with portraitures of the “Red Jew,” whose roots run through “an authoritative medieval tradition” that Andrew Colin Gow has examined.23 The Jew’s red hair and beard was a stigmata diaboli, marking his alliance with Satan “for the spiritual and physical ruination of Christendom.”24 Frank Felsenstein instructs that, “in dramatic [ 38 ] The Merchant of Havana
representation, the Judas-figure is made recognizable—and for the audience recognizably Jewish—by the red beard he wears, which can be traced back at least to the thirteenth century. [ . . . ] [T]he red hair, deemed characteristic of Judas, was transferred in the English drama to any villainous Jew-figure. Most notably, Shylock [ . . . ] was invariably portrayed wearing a red beard.”25 This sign of Jewishness is not at all unfamiliar to Cubans; in his Historia de una pelea cubana contra los demonios (History of a Cuban fight against demons), the distinguished scholar Fernando Ortiz finds that “Jews in those centuries were usually considered to be red-headed; as such they were frequently painted by the great artists. In oil paintings of the Passion, the deicidal characters, above all Judas, would appear with red beards and red hair. It was a deeply entrenched custom.”26 Whether or not Sab’s author had read Dickens’s novel is open to speculation. What can be affirmed though is that Jorge Otway’s profile, biographic and anatomical, is outlined along the contours of Jewishness as constructed by Western tradition. Gómez de Avellaneda was a “voracious reader” of French and English Romantic literature.27 It follows that the conceptual blueprint for her depiction of Jorge Otway would have certainly been informed by any one or more of the countless Shylock figures presented throughout the nineteenth century by writers such as Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, and George Sand, several of whom she is known to have read.28 As a Shakespeare enthusiast, it is also probable that Gómez de Avellaneda had read The Merchant of Venice.29 Her predilection for the “Bard of Avon” is evident in Sab; the epigraph to chapter eleven is a quote from Macbeth, while words from Othello are contained in a letter composed by the novel’s eponymous slave hero from his deathbed, in which he proclaims his love for Don Carlos’s daughter, Carlota.30 Now to the second point regarding Jorge’s perceptual Jewishness. It should be recognized that Gómez de Avellaneda’s racial gaze does not simply see visible, empirical markers of phenotype on the English moneylender’s body; rather, Jorge Otway’s Jewish physiognomy hinges on what Jacobson discusses as the “crucial cognitive work of racial perception.” In Jacobson’s chapter “Looking Jewish, Seeing Jews,” he explains that visible Jewishness [ . . . ] represented a complex process of social value become perception: social and political meanings attached
Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 39 ]
to Jewishness generate a kind of physiognomical surveillance that renders Jewishness itself discernible as a particular pattern of physical traits (skin color, nose shape, hair color and texture, and the like)—what Blumenbach called “the fundamental configuration of face.” The visible markers may then be interpreted as outer signs of an essential, immutable, inner moral-intellectual character; and that character, in its turn—attested to by physical “difference”—is summoned up to explain the social value attached to Jewishness in the first place. The circuit is ineluctable. Race is social value become perception; Jewishness seen is social value naturalized and so enforced.31
Race then, as Jacobson makes clear, is as much about the “eye of the beholder” as it is about a contingent assortment of physical traits that are read, at a certain point in time and space, as racial insignia.32 This much is evident in Sab, in which Jewishness lies in the interplay of “the eye that sees” and “the object seen.”33 In the eye of Gómez de Avellaneda, Jorge Otway comes to “look Jewish” through a process by which the “ideologically thick” social conceptions of the English merchant had become so permeated with Judaeophobic conceits and of such urgency that they “translated into an immediate perception of discernible physicality.”34 If we adapt Jacobson’s theorization, La Avellaneda’s mode of seeing Otway’s body is refracted through the lens of her conception of the merchant’s Judaized malevolence. Her disdain, now inscribed on the body, masquerades as natural, nondiscursive confirmation of Jorge’s perverse deviation from Cuban norms and values. The closed hermeneutic circle between racial conception and racial perception makes it appear that Gómez de Avellaneda’s racial project, to borrow from Jacobson, is “not ideologically constructed, but an irreducible fact of biology.”35 The foreign-born merchant became an object of obloquy in the Cuban nineteenth century owing to a confluence of factors that were considered in Chapter 1. Here, I wish to make two further observations regarding mid-nineteenth-century Cubans’ state of alarm that the English provoked in particular. As was reviewed earlier, Cuba experienced a sequence of drastic restructurings during the nineteenth century. Enticed by the destruction of Saint Domingue’s cane fields during the Haitian revolution, Cuban planters amplified their cultivation, and by 1830 their sugar dominated the global market.36 Mercantil[ 40 ] The Merchant of Havana
ist commercial policies lapsed, and the relation between producer and consumer came to be patterned on a template of international economics.37 Cuban sugar’s sale in a world market required manufacturing efficiency, leading planters to pursue lower costs through economies of scale and mechanization.38 Sugar plantations ballooned in size and in number. Following the introduction of steam power to the island in the second decade of the century, animal-powered trapiches were replaced with colossal industrialized factories.39 Those planters that could not afford the steep price tag of the new machines collapsed.40 Mills now produced two or three thousand tons of sugar per harvest, whereas before industrialization, three or four hundred tons was typical.41 Some thirteen thousand boxes of sugar were exported from Havana in 1760; nearly eight hundred fifty thousand boxes left Matanzas and Havana in 1844.42 To keep up with the industrialized mill’s elevated pace of grinding, the number of slaves in sugar production’s labor-intensive agricultural division increased exponentially.43 A sugar monoculture developed that was financed by overseas capital.44 Significantly, this remodeling of the Cuban sugar industry, which Fernando Ortiz has neologistically described as its “capitalist foreignization,” was an outgrowth of Great Britain’s rise to global ascendancy.45 Eric Hobsbawm has shown that, “though the British population rose fast, it was originally too small to maintain an industrial and trading apparatus of the size actually developed.” Thus toward the nineteenth century, Britain began to look for “overseas markets for products and overseas outlets for capital.”46 English military might backed its expansion across the bounds of empire, which altered the shape of classic colonialism.47 New models of trade developed in which British “capital, shipping, banking, insurance,” and manufactured goods were exchanged for “foreign primary products.”48 A world economic order was on the rise, and it was built on the foundation of British credit.49 Even the major commercial relationship established between Cuba and the United States “was linked to and dependent upon the emergent system of multilateral trading organized around the hegemony of British capital.”50 Cuba was especially vulnerable to British penetration because Spain had very little to offer it economically.51 More directly, merchants based in London and Liverpool provided Cuban planters with access to financing and machinery, and in so doing they paved their inroad to the Cuban sugar Eldorado.52 When looked at with this context in mind, Jorge’s Jewishness can be Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 41 ]
read as both a rejection of the ongoing economic, political, and social upheavals promoted by foreign capital and as signaling the need that “colonial policy and market preferences be used to protect [colonial producers] from [ . . . ] British economic power.”53 To misquote Shylock’s phrasing, Tula, as Gómez de Avellaneda was known to friends, vilifies Jorge’s “ill-won thrift”—the finance capital that lay behind the island’s conversion into “the Plantation”—by coupling it with Jewishness.54 In this regard, Gómez de Avellaneda does nothing new. Following an established model, Sab’s author links capitalism to the malevolent and loathsome Jew.55 The stigma affixed to the Jew was intended to permeate the British capital that activated the disorder, and thereby condemn it “as simultaneously alien, unnatural, inimical, dangerous and ethically repulsive.”56 Certain “metaphorical correspondences” between the notional Jew and capitalism reviewed earlier endorsed the connection.57 Then, against Otway’s Judaized financial capitalism, La Avellaneda is better able to frame Don Carlos’s preindustrial agriculture, and the social order that it had maintained, as authentically Cuban. Sab’s author instrumentalizes the “Jew,” therefore, as a luckless effort to override the liberal moment and restore the landed aristocracy’s lost agrarian paradise, which the merchant class, abetted by the financing of London banks, had destroyed.58 Turning now to the second point regarding Tula’s anti-British sentiment, it is paramount to recognize the depth of the anxieties excited by London’s increased pressure on Madrid to curtail the interloper slave trade to Cuba in the years leading up to Sab’s publication. Others have discussed Albion’s interest in ending Cuban slave labor.59 More pressing for this study is the terror that this campaign provoked among the island’s white population. If creoles, as well as peninsular Spaniards for that matter, were vexed at British interference in their affairs when Spain gave in to English coercion and signed the 1817 Treaty of Madrid, which banned the transatlantic slave trade, these feelings gave way to alarm with the passage of a second, more muscular bilateral treaty in 1835.60 Hard on the heels of the 1835 treaty, London openly deliberated a plan to compel the manumission of all slaves that had been introduced to Cuba illegally—in other words, of the many thousands of Africans who had been conveyed to the island since the first ban went into effect in 1820. Given the explosion of illegal trading and the reduced life expectancy of rural slaves—once arrived, they might live for just eight to ten years—the proposal was accurately interpreted by creoles to augur [ 42 ] The Merchant of Havana
sudden emancipation, their most deep-rooted fear.61 Hysteria ensued as creoles envisioned a sequel to the Haitian revolution on their own island, and that the British, for their overt or covert influence, would be to blame.62 Perfidious Albion’s sinister determination was confirmed for many in its naming of prominent abolitionists to key appointments in Havana, notably Robert Richard Madden to superintendent of liberated Africans in 1836 (a post established by the 1835 treaty), and David Turnbull in 1840 to the combined position of superintendent of liberated Africans and British consul to Cuba.63 Miguel Tacón y Rosique, captain-general of Cuba from 1834 to 1838, discusses the treacherous machinations of British abolitionists on the island in several of his correspondences with the Spanish secretary of state. On August 31, 1836, for example, Tacón writes: “In [my communication from August 31 of last year] I made apparent with justifying information and documentation the incessant work of the Methodist associations and others that call themselves philanthropists, of their intentions for the island of Cuba, and of the means by which they avail themselves to accelerate its ruin, even if it were to precede a horrible catastrophe.”64 This and other dispatches make clear Tacón’s conviction that, as Murray summarizes it, “the British government was using the Methodists as agents to destroy Cuba by fomenting slave rebellion.”65 Even Tacón’s nemeses, the creole intelligentsia, took this to be an article of faith. José Antonio Saco (1797–1879), who was forced into exile by Tacón in 1834, explains the viewpoint of his contemporaries: “On the other hand, they all considered abolition to be a calamity, an iniquitous method used by the English to destroy the sugar and coffee trade of the Spanish Antilles.”66 According to Saco, the Anglo-Hispanic bilateral treaties demonstrated to many on the island that “the English cabinet had no other intention than to ruin the Spanish colonies, and particularly Cuba, in order to acquire a monopoly on sugar and coffee in the East Indies, in its Antilles and in Brazil, which it considered its own colony.”67 Domingo Del Monte’s panic that the British were conspiring to overtake the island through the revolutionary emancipation of its slaves is similarly and fervently expressed in many letters. His correspondence with the North American diplomat Alexander Hill Everett, who served as special US envoy to Cuba in 1840, merits particular attention.68 In his letters to Everett, Del Monte repeatedly outlines an English plot to foment slave rebellion in order to turn Cuba into a “Black military republic, under immediate British protection,” as he Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 43 ]
put it in 1842.69 Others have made a convincing case that these inflammatory missives played no little part in a brutal affair known as the Conspiración de la Escalera (Ladder Conspiracy) which saw CaptainGeneral Leopoldo O’Donnell’s colonial authority avert a large-scale slave revolt through the torture, incarceration, deportation, and killing of hundreds of slaves, free people of color, and whites in 1843–1844.70 It is worth citing one more allegation against England for fostering slave uprisings, that of the Countess of Merlin, given its author’s “literary sisterhood” with Gómez de Avellaneda.71 Merlin’s La Havane, discussed earlier, was translated from French into Spanish by none other than Sab’s author, who also penned an introductory biography of the countess. In another piece, “Les Esclaves dans les colonies espagnoles” (Slaves in the Spanish colonies; 1841), written around the same time as Sab, Merlin explains that “it is a rare slave revolt on the island that has not been instigated by British agents.”72 A merging Anglo- and Negrophobia “reached a fever pitch” just as Gómez de Avellaneda composed Sab, which the novel both displays and manipulates.73 On a family outing to Cubitas, for example, Don Carlos compels Sab not to speak of slave revolution: “ ‘Enough, Sab, enough,’ interrupted Don Carlos with some annoyance, for the Cubans, always in a state of alarm after the frightful and recent example of a neighboring island, could never hear without fear any words in the mouth of a man of that unfortunate color which made patent the feeling of his abused rights and the possibility of recapturing them.”74 The “spectre of Haiti,” after Hugh Thomas, hovers menacingly over Gómez de Avellaneda’s narrative, indeed.75 Later in the novel, Sab clandestinely meets with Teresa to inform her of the pecuniary incentives behind Enrique’s betrothal to Carlota, her cousin.76 In this scene, Teresa demonstrates the same terror of immanent slave insurrection: “Sab,” she said with quivering voice, “have you perhaps summoned me to this place to reveal some plan of a conspiracy among the blacks? What danger threatens us? Are you one of the—?” “No,” he interrupted her with a bitter smile, “calm yourself, Teresa, you are not threatened by any danger. The slaves patiently drag their chains: in order to break them they might only need to hear one voice which cries out to them ‘You are men!,’ but I assure you that voice will not be mine.”77
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Gómez de Avellaneda has Sab retract the option of slave revolt just after she advances it, assuaging Teresa’s and the reader’s fears of revolutionary abolition.78 But this sense of security proves itself provisional, undermined only moments later when the slave reactivates Negrophobia: “It is true that I am most unhappy,” he replied in a dark voice, “but you do not know everything: you don’t know that there have been moments when desperation has almost made me a criminal. Yes, you have no idea what guilty desires I have thought of, what dreams of cruel happiness have sprung from my feverish head . . . to snatch Carlota from her father’s arms, to tear her away from this society which comes between the two of us, to flee into the wild bearing in my arms that angel of innocence and love . . . Oh, and that is not all! I have also thought of arming the chained hands of their victims against our oppressors, to fling the terrifying cry of freedom and vengeance into their midst, to bathe in the blood of the whites, to trample their bodies and their laws under my feet and perish among the ruins.79
In these passages, Sab fluctuates between reason and irrationality, a reflection of the putative racial instability that nineteenth-century race thinking attributed to the mulatto.80 As Tula’s intended readers would have had it, “the mulatto is caught in an existential conundrum that is a coupling of two divergent tendencies within one and the same movement.”81 Post-Haiti, white Cubans obsessively feared that the mixedbreed population’s precarious balance of biologically imparted (white) rationality and (black) savagery would, under the least provocation, tend toward its barbarous side.82 The mulatto, Buscaglia-Salgado instructs, was an “unknown quantity that could upset all social balance and lead to the undoing of the colonial and creole orders.”83 The figure’s instability gave rise to profound apprehensions, which Gómez de Avellaneda exploits in order to reinforce her condemnation of British meddling in Cuba. Before Enrique’s arrival at the Bellavista sugar mill, Sab is content in his enslavement, having “many times refused” “the freedom long offered.”84 The half-breed slave unstintingly renders economic benefit to his Cuban mistress, quintessentially metaphorized in the selfless act of secretly switching his winning lottery ticket for Carlota’s losing one, which he hopes will bring her happiness in the form of marriage to the fiscally Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 45 ]
motivated Enrique. Nevertheless, the presence of the English Otways pushes this Noble Savage toward rebellion. Applying Gothic conventions, Gómez de Avellaneda describes the nightmarish journey in which Enrique, with Sab as his guide, leaves the mill for Puerto Príncipe, the location of his family business: “Doubtless other more gloomy and more terrible thoughts preoccupied the soul of the slave. [ . . . ] At last the storm broke. [ . . . ] The Englishman turned to his companion with a gesture of terror.”85 In the frightful storm, Enrique falls hurt, “bloodied and unconscious, in the deepest part of the forest.”86 Sab nearly murders Enrique, but the thought of Carlota stays his hand: Unconscious, dying! Tomorrow they would mourn Enrique Otway, dead of a fall, victim of his own rashness. No one could ever tell if his head had been shattered by the fall or whether the hand of an enemy had finished the deed. [ . . . ] Sab gnashed his teeth and with a powerful arm he lifted up the young Englishman’s slender and delicate body as though it were a weightless piece of straw. But at that instant a sudden and inexplicable change took place in his soul.87
Sab’s abundant physical strength can be used to save Enrique’s life or extinguish it, suggesting the planters’ double bind, at once dependent on slave bodies for labor yet ever threatened by their destructive potential. Here again Gómez de Avellaneda excites white fears of black rebellion and, as Sab gnashes his teeth, hints at Caribbean anthropophagy, both topoi of the American Gothic.88 What drives Sab to descend into the darker side of his unstable mésalliance, as nineteenth-century race thinking would have it, is the idea of Enrique Otway’s mercantile designs for Carlota, as he explains to Teresa: “Can you understand just how hideous this union of Carlota and Enrique’s souls is? It would be like joining the eagle to the serpent, or a living being to a corpse. And she must vow love and obedience to that man! She will surrender her heart, her future, her entire destiny! She will make it her duty to respect him! And he, he will take her to wife like a piece of merchandise, calculatingly, for profit, transforming into shameful speculation the most holy bond, the
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most solemn pledge! She, who will give him her soul! And he will be her husband, the one who possesses Carlota, the father of their children! Oh no, no, Teresa! This thought is hell . . . you see, I cannot bear it . . . it’s impossible!” And so it was, for an icy sweat ran over his forehead, and his distorted eyes expressed his loss of reason. Teresa spoke to him tenderly, but in vain, as he was seized by a kind of fit.89
The idea of the Englishman’s illicit possession of Carlota (read: Cuba) results in Sab’s “loss of [white] reason.” According to contemporary understandings, in these instances the half-breed’s savage black blood predominates over his rational white blood and threatens to express itself through combustive rage. The novel’s other English character, Jorge Otway, similarly causes the mulatto’s delicate racial fusion to come undone. The elder Otway provokes Sab’s black depravity and the peril of slave revolution in passages such as this: “One might assume that he [Sab] was intimidated by Jorge’s enraged aspect, were it not for the flush which instantly altered the yellowish whiteness of his eyes and the fire which shot from his jet pupils, imbuing his silence more with menace than respect.”90 Pointedly reminiscent of the fire that black slaves put to Saint Domingue’s plantations, fire shoots from Sab’s black eyes as a patent warning to the Englishman, as well as to the novel’s peninsular and Cuban readers, that British intrusion would lead to Cuba repeating what Gómez de Avellaneda refers to in her autobiography as “the same fate as that of a neighboring island, seized by the blacks.”91 Sab’s death later in the novel assuages white fears. Throughout the text, however, the Otways’ sinister designs for Carlota’s estate goad the naturally submissive slave toward violence, and the narrative veers from Romantic idyll to Gothic terror. It was altogether provocative to depict such scenes at a moment when creoles were exceedingly distressed that British plotting would incite slave revolution in Cuba. Gómez de Avellaneda is, in this sense, a “Gothic ‘terrorist,’ ” playing on her readers’ profound racial anxieties for ideological and political ends.92
The mulatto slave is not the only character whose racial am-
biguity provokes unease in Sab. Enrique’s guise of outward beauty is more deeply troubled and troubling than contemporary literary critics have acknowledged, who mistake it for “pure-blooded whiteness.”93 Undeniably, the younger Otway is not perceptually Jewish. Instead, Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 47 ]
the novel repeatedly calls attention to his “gentle countenance.”94 In this regard, one is tempted to read him as a sort of male version of the “Jew’s Daughter,” a common type in European literature, perhaps most memorably reiterated in Shylock’s daughter Jessica.95 The more compelling divergence from the belle Juive trope is not Enrique’s gender, however, but rather that he offers no “transcendence of the grubby materialism and legalism that have led to [his] father claiming his pound of flesh,” to borrow Bryan Cheyette’s argument from another context.96 Enrique may not have inherited his father’s Jewish body, but there is no doubt that he has acquired Jorge’s Jewish morality, as we read in passages such as this: “for although the young man was as covetous as his father, it was at least much more concealed.”97 Enrique has accomplished what his father, through the processes of conversion, assimilation, and upward mobility, had begun: his Jewishness is outwardly “concealed” and, alas, permits the serpent to enter Carlota’s and Don Carlos’s Eden. With only minor revision, the narrator of the Nazi film Der Ewige Jude (The eternal Jew; 1940) might be warning of Enrique’s perilous infiltration: It is true that their fathers and grandfathers still lived in ghettoes, but there is no trace left now in their external appearance. Here in the second and third generation, the Aryanisation has reached its zenith. In all superficialities they attempt to imitate their hosts. And people lacking in intuition allow themselves to be deceived by this mimicry and regard them as being in truth their equals. Therein lies the dreadful danger. For even these “civilised” Jews remain foreign bodies in the organism of their hosts, no matter how much their outward appearance may correspond to that of their hosts.98
Yet Sab proves capable of seeing Enrique’s secret identity through the facade; the slave notes that gold “is his God,” for example, giving voice to a pervasive anti-Semitic shibboleth.99 For the reader too, Enrique’s Jewishness is made evident, even in the absence of a gabardine, red beard, or other such “Jew badge,” through the “authenticating iconography” of his father.100 When Carlota’s future fortune is lost, Jorge decides that Enrique must end their engagement so that his son may find a moneyed bride.
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Enrique equivocates; thinking of “the joy of possessing her,” he puts sexual desire before mercenary concerns.101 Jorge feels the need, therefore, to reeducate his son in the practices of Jewing: “ ‘Bah, bah!’ interrupted Jorge impatiently, ‘and what does a husband do with all of that? I’ve told you a hundred times, he becomes associated with a firm: for investment, for profit. The beauty and the talent that a man of our class looks for in a woman to marry is wealth and thrift.’ ”102 This passage is suggestive of another stock figure of European visual culture, the “older Jewish man transmitting the traditional wisdom of his people to a younger disciple,” that is to say “the tricks of the trade, the sharp practices characteristic of the race.”103 This image appears earlier in the novel as well, in the narrator’s discussion of Enrique’s childhood: “Trained as he was in the ways of covetousness and speculation, surrounded since infancy by an atmosphere of commerce, he was punctilious and inflexible in carrying out those responsibilities which the interests of his business imposed upon him.”104 Gómez de Avellaneda positions the fully assimilated Jew alongside the still visible Jew; thus, Jorge’s “iconographic function” is that of “a pointed reminder that beneath the veil of emancipation of the modern bourgeois Jew lay an irredeemable Jewish character that was not to be trusted. He was not ‘one of us.’ ”105 It is Enrique’s racial in-between-ness, much like Sab’s, that is so disturbing. His racial difference is “concealed,” which then permits him to transgress societal borders undetected by those in a position to do something about it. The fact that he looks just like the creoles’ muchdesired Northern European immigrant makes him “all the more uncannily strange.”106 And this is the problem, as already discussed, that lies at the heart of anti-Semitism. As Slavoj Žižek has explained it, “Jews are ‘like us’; it is difficult to recognize them, to determine at the level of positive reality that surplus, that evasive feature, which differentiates them from all other people.”107 Bauman writes to the same effect: “They were the opacity of the world fighting for clarity, the ambiguity of the world lusting for certainty. They bestrode all the barricades” and “came to undermine the most basic of differences: the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ ”108 As we saw in Chapter 1, once seemingly fixed and distinct psychosocial categories were displaced and blended in the sugar boom’s wake, and protean Jews like Enrique Otway became convenient sites for creoles to “ ‘de-ambivalentize’ the ambivalence” that resulted
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“by condensing it or focusing on one obvious and tangible object—and then burning it down in this effigy.”109 Gómez de Avellaneda implies that Enrique’s prosopopeian shapeshifting might be stabilized if the state were to restore the draconian statutes of blood purity (Estatutos de limpieza de sangre). The creole author would not have been alone in desiring the reinstatement of these discriminatory legal practices; during that epoch, as Verena Martinez-Alier has indicated, the “metaphysical notion of the blood as the vehicle of lineage equalities was still very much part of popular feeling, a legacy of the much older Spanish concern over purity of blood reinforced by the special socio-economic and ethnic conditions obtaining in the colonies.”110 In response to the societal flux that the circumstances of late colonialism had excited, the concept of blood purity, while waning in Spain, “experienced a revival” in nineteenth-century Cuba.111 In Sab, the lack of blood purity statutes in Cuba is referenced, with bitter irony, by the Jew himself. Jorge Otway expresses gratitude for this omission, as it allows Enrique to penetrate Cuba’s carelessly untended barricades, and pick a wife with deep pockets: “Thanks to Heaven and to my discretion, our bad situation is not generally known, and in this new land the so-called nobility is not yet conversant with the ancient prejudices of the old European aristocracy.”112 Otway’s mention of the “ancient prejudices,” or “rancias preocupaciones,” of the “old European aristocracy” is a rather heavy-handed allusion to blood purity. The same adjective, “rancio,” was used to classify Old Christian bloodlines —in other words, lineages untainted by Jewish ancestry—in terminology such as “apellidos rancios,” “rancias familias,” and “cristianos rancios.”113 In Gómez de Avellaneda’s thinly veiled reference to the Estatutos de limpieza de sangre she insinuates that if the Inquisition were still in place, abolished in Cuba as recently as 1834, nuevos cristia nos or cripto-judíos like the Otways could not have passed the limpieza test.
Jewish and mulatto “racial slipperiness” collaborate in Sab: the
racially ambiguous bodies of Enrique Otway and Sab equally convey the unnerving disappearance of time-honored boundaries that came about with the rise of the new socioeconomic order.114 The author’s “mixophobia” is emblematized in Enrique’s miscategorization, permitting his reprehensible mixed marriage to Carlota, and in Sab’s mes-
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tizaje, which results in the careful observer’s inability, even after four pages of deliberative analysis, to pin down the mulatto slave’s race and class.115 Gómez de Avellaneda’s nostalgia for a stable society in which differences were clearly visible is reflected in these racially in-between characters’ exclusion from Cubanía, Enrique by way of his Judaization and Sab through premature death. Before the eponymous protagonist’s demise purges the fears that he embodies, though, Sab serves as a conduit for highlighting Enrique’s highly unsettling, if inconspicuous, presence. Enrique’s dissonance with the island is drawn against the backdrop of Sab’s congruity, witnessed the night that the two set out for Puerto Príncipe, mentioned above.116 Earlier that evening, Sab displays an intimate knowledge of Cuban nature, reading the sky’s signs foretelling of storm—“familiar to all Cubans,” the narrator announces—which an overweening Enrique fails to heed, signifying the extent of his obtrusion.117 This same night it is to Sab that Carlota entrusts the safety of her fiancé, because, as she tells him, “you know every inch of this country,” which Enrique unmistakably does not.118 Enrique’s fall during the storm, discussed above, is in fact one instance in a pair of slips that demonstrate the Englishman’s utter incompatibility with the island. Later in the novel, Sab again saves Enrique, catching him as he stumbles in the caves in Cubitas.119 In addition to Sab’s consonance with the Cuban environment and Enrique’s dissonance with it, the latter’s invasiveness is underscored by the narrator, who frequently dubs him “the Englishman” and “the foreigner.”120 If Sab is the mechanism that sets the English merchants’ sinister incongruity into sharp relief, it must also be recognized that his mulatto body operates, contrary to most readings of the novel, toward a disavowal of blackness as well. Gómez de Avellaneda’s discursive erasure of blackness begins with her casting of a mulatto rather than a black in the role of hero. Here I follow Catherine Davies, who convincingly argues that the white reader would not have empathized with a black protagonist, and so Sab “had to be ‘whitened’ for sentimental consumption and presented as a mulatto” who was raised in his owner’s house.121 In so doing, the author eschews black subjectivity and elides the violence of rural slavery.122 Davies makes the additional provocative point that “ironically, foregrounding the mulatto suggested that social harmony could only be gained by the absence of black bodies.”123
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Sab’s miscegenation thus mirrors the social stability that many creoles hoped to secure by ridding Cuba of its blacks, either through interracial sexual unions or by removing them from the island and settling them in Africa or both.124 The mulatto protagonist is “made to preside over a terrible contradiction as the enforcer of a process that ultimately implied his own self-effacement and disappearance,” as Buscaglia- Salgado has written in another context, a paradox that is brought to its ultimate consequences with Sab’s death.125 In several modes, then, Sab provides Gómez de Avellaneda the comforting eradication of blackness. What’s more, by virtue of his blanqueamiento, Sab is able to play the Romantic hero without Gómez de Avellaneda’s having to question racially ascribed forms of thought and behavior. As David Haberly has explained with regard to Brazilian abolitionist literature, “the achievements of those of mixed blood could always, in the final analysis, be explained away as the triumph of white genes over African or Indian genes.”126 The nineteenth-century reader could therefore understand Sab’s Romantic sensibility as an expression of his white blood. At the novel’s end, Carlota reads Sab’s letter and realizes the depth of his love for her and may possibly love him as well. Nonetheless, this takes place only after Sab is long dead. In life, as Lorna Valerie Williams has pointed out, Gómez de Avellaneda is at pains to ensure that Carlota’s “egalitarianism is restricted to gestures that do not threaten to undermine the hierarchical social order,” evidenced here in “the author’s reluctance to advance the possibility of the slave’s seductiveness for his mistress.”127 Carlota visits Cubitas for a few months and frequents Sab’s grave there, demonstrating an interracial love that could not threaten either the creole landowning class’s racial integrity or social structures. Their love can be realized only in an incorporeal afterlife, and liebestod precludes carnal consummation, again conserving racial hierarchies as well as “safeguarding white women’s chastity” from the “mythic fear of black male sexuality.”128 The slave class was generous to the landowning class, represented by Sab’s gift of his lottery winnings to Carlota. This should be remembered in the form of history books, indicated metaphorically by Sab’s letter. Nonetheless, blacks must be made to disappear if Cuba is to avoid the fate of its neighboring island, the former French colony of Saint Domingue. The anxious overdetermination of Cuba’s whitening continues as Sab leaves no offspring, while his entire adoptive family (and even their dog!) is
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killed off before the novel’s end. Gómez de Avellaneda’s abolitionism denies blacks and mulattoes a place in post-emancipation Cuba.129 Rather, Sab is safely confined to the Cuban past.
Sab is a distinctly fraught presence in the novel that bears
his name. He is an exclusionary device that, having served his purpose, is himself excluded. On this reading, it becomes apparent that the label “abolitionist” is far too neat to describe Sab and must be qualified. Indeed, as Susan Kirkpatrick argues, Gómez de Avellaneda appropriates the abolitionist genre in order to critique a different form of oppression altogether. Sab’s letter, which he composes to Teresa in the last moments of his life, Kirkpatrick signals, “makes an equation between the destiny of women and that of slaves”:130 Oh, women! Poor, blind victims! Like slaves, they patiently drag their chains and bow their heads under the yoke of human laws. With no other guide than an untutored and trusting heart, they choose a master for life. The slave can at least change masters, can even hope to buy his freedom some day if he can save enough money, but a woman, when she lifts her careworn hands and mistreated brow to beg for release, hears the monstrous, deathly voice which cries out to her: “In the grave.”131
To Kirkpatrick, this passage suggests that “Sab’s discourse on slavery actually has been about women’s destiny.”132 For the Cuban-born Spaniard, slavery certainly functioned as “a mask for feminist protest,” as Kirkpatrick and others have argued.133 But Gómez de Avellaneda produces this iteration of abolitionist discourse for another, unconsidered purpose as well. In Kirkpatrick’s study of Gómez de Avellaneda’s Autobiografía, she finds that the narrating subject is unable to consolidate an undivided sense of self. The author of the Autobiografía fashions a “Romantic self,” an identity that was construed in obverse relation to that of the “woman—defined as frivolous and weak.”134 Tellingly in this regard, Gómez de Avellaneda writes of herself in the autobiography: “Oh! Yes! Unfortunately in me there are these two powerful natures, that of the poet and of the woman.”135 Kirkpatrick posits that “the contradictory forms of selfhood offered by the traditional view of womanhood
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and the new Romantic individualism could not make an integrated whole of the female subjectivity that the autobiographer experienced as victimization.”136 “The rift between the author’s ‘male’ character or subjectivity and her female social identity,” Kirkpatrick concludes, “condemns her to unhappiness.”137 I would like to suggest that the author laments her divided self-image and immerses herself in the suffering that it brought about not only in her Autobiografía but in Sab as well, channeled through an alter ego, the tragic mulatto figure.138 The tragic mulatto trope—“the almost-white character whose beauty, intelligence, and purity are forever in conflict with the ‘savage primitivism’ inherited from his or her [African] ancestors”—is a commonplace of abolitionist fiction.139 This figure, much like La Avellaneda’s autobiographical subject just discussed, experiences an irreparably fractured self that ends in tragedy. As indicated earlier, white blood, “under the sign of intellect and rationality,” and black blood, “under the sign of the body and irrationality,” were understood to “stage a gory civil war in the mind and body of the mulatto.”140 Sab is endowed with just such a racially fissured constitution, and he suffers the tragic consequences. Sab’s Romantic self-identity, patterned on the white European male, and his body, constructed as nonwhite, are repeatedly at odds in the text. He expresses his torn self-image most explicitly in a conversation with Teresa. After describing his love for Carlota, which he conceives of as a noble and therefore, as his remarks make clear, white emotion, he exclaims: “Teresa! Then I remembered that I was the offspring of a defiled race, then I remembered too that I was a mulatto and a slave . . . then my heart, seared by love and jealousy, first began to throb with indignation, and I cursed nature which condemned me to worthlessness and shame.”141 We might view this scene through the lens of Linda Martín Alcoff ’s discussion of racial embodiment. Sab’s white “postural body image” collides with his somatic features, which “prompts him to recognize the incoherence between his own felt body image” and the body image he experiences upon being forced to recall his race and caste.142 On this reading, Sab is Gómez de Avellaneda’s secret sharer: the mulatto who struggles heroically yet tragically with his racially incoherent subjectivity is a site that mirrors the author’s lived self, which never obtains gender consonance, as she probes expressly in her simultaneously written Autiobiografía.143
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There is one final racial exclusion, beyond that of Jews, blacks, and mulattoes, that Sab carries out: those of Amerindian heritage. On the family’s excursion to Cubitas, where they will visit Sab’s adoptive mother, Martina, Don Carlos recalls her: “ ‘I remember old Martina,’ responded the gentleman. ‘Her late son was an excellent person, and she, if I remember correctly, is a bit mad. Doesn’t she claim to be a descendant of the Indian race and puts on ridiculously majestic airs?’ ”144 As Martina welcomes her guests, the narrator too mocks her “parody” of indigenous royalty: “she came out to greet her guests with a kind of ludicrously majestic air, almost a parody of hospitality.”145 Martina is lampooned for a third time during the brief visit: she “once again adopted her ridiculously majestic air, which she believed suitable to the descendant of a chief.”146 Through Don Carlos and the narrator, Martina’s claim to priority on the island—to noble and ancient indigenous ancestry—is derided as ridiculous, and more significantly as a sign of mental illness, which was understood in the nineteenth century to be a malady often caused by métissage.147 Only one physical marker, her complexion, backs her case for indigenous legacy: “This skin color, moreover, was all that supported her pretensions of being Indian, for none of her facial features appeared to match her alleged origin.”148 In spite of her “pretensions,” on the whole her semblance betrays African ancestry, and is “superlatively ugly.”149 In Gómez de Avellaneda’s racial project, Martina’s alleged insanity and ugliness are racially inflected and mutually reinforce her mulataje, undermining her Amerindian birthright. Martina’s ridicule by the narrator and Don Carlos is foregrounded by Carlota’s lament for the long-dead Taíno Indians: “I do cry when I remember an unfortunate people who once dwelt on the lands we live on now, who were the first to see the same sun that shone on our cradle, and who have disappeared from this country, of which they were the peaceful owners.”150 The island’s indigenous population “has disappeared,” Carlota bemoans, and, as Don Carlos and the narrator make clear, anyone claiming such ancestry is insane, which is corroborated by Martina’s degenerate, mulatto body. Doris Sommer’s reading of Juan Zorrilla de San Martín’s treatment of the Charrúa Indians in his Romantic poem Tabaré (1886) is helpful here. During the second half of the nineteenth century, when Tabaré was composed, Indians still lived in Uruguay, just as Taíno villages survived in Cuba into the nineteenth century and beyond.151 Nevertheless, Zorrilla’s “exclusive Racial Prescriptions and Inscriptions [ 55 ]
focus on the lost Charrúas suggests that all Indians had been exterminated.”152 Carlota’s Indianist evocation of the “desaparecido” Taíno functions similarly. The Amerindian is circumscribed to Cuba’s past through the “vanishing Indian” trope, while those claiming indigenous ancestry such as Martina are made out as insane.153 The Indian is dispossessed of any share in the Cuban present and future, which are once more made the exclusive reserve of white creoles.154
The Cuban planter elite’s fall from power was a social crisis that produced enormous anxiety in the island’s white creole population during the first half of the nineteenth century. To protect the Cuban self and the creole oligarchy’s material base and social preeminence against the instability wrought by capitalist modernity’s onslaught, Gómez de Avellaneda deploys the racial project Sab. The author seeks to restore society’s collapsing borders by reaffirming “what race means in a particular discursive practice and the ways in which both social structures and everyday experiences are racially organized based upon that meaning.”155 And what it means to be a Jew, an Afro-Cuban, or an Amerindian is attested to in visual signs on the racialized body, and it is through the racialized body that this meaning then passes for natural, observable fact. The icon and the ideology are mutually reinforcing. Ultimately, Sab may prove incapable of restoring what Gómez de Avellaneda depicts as the landed aristocracy’s authentically Cuban paradise, which foreign merchants had ruined. Even so, it vividly demonstrates an axiom of critical race theory: that, as Buscaglia-Salgado makes plain, “race is a political construct with no scientific or moral validity.”156 For others, such as the Puerto Rican dramatist Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, race also served as a convenient tool to hold social and material privilege, as well as a compelling weapon to deploy in the anticolonial struggle, as we will see in the next chapter.
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3 Racial Alchemy and Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s La cuarterona (1867) Ever since Eugenio María de Hostos’s 1867 review of La cuar
terona (The quadroon), Puerto Ricans have applauded Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s play.1 The aptly designated “Father of Puerto Rican Literature” completed and published La cuarterona in Madrid in the same year as Hostos’s laudatory appraisal, and it debuted August 17, 1878, at the Moratín Theater in San Juan, Puerto Rico.2 In the 1940s, the Tapia Theater in San Juan was inaugurated with the play, which evidences its relevance to Tapia’s oeuvre, and to the Puerto Rican reader and audience member more broadly. La cuarterona remains one of the most widely read Caribbean dramas of the nineteenth century. Confusion over the nature of the play’s racial politics has not deterred literary historians from coming to an agreement on one point: that La cuarterona, whose title refers to its heroine, Julia, and her partial African ancestry, contributed to building a nation in which mulatto subjectivity is a “central component.”3 Yet this rosy-hued portrait leaves out a much less charming aspect of the Puerto Rican racial odyssey that Tapia’s play helps to launch. The alchemical process, after Jacobson, by which La cuarterona “redrew the dominant racial configuration” to include certain nonwhites was contingent on constructing blacks and Jews as unassimilable.4 Indeed, in La cuarterona the mulatto’s “racial inclusion,” to borrow once more from Jacobson, is “profoundly dependent [ . . . ] upon the racial exclusion of others.”5 To put it simply, and contrary to prevailing readings, I want to suggest here that La cuarterona does not envision universal racial inclusion or other racial utopias; nor does it promote the unconditional abolition of slavery.6 Rather, Tapia’s play is a racial project narrowly
[5 7 ]
conceived to bring about colonial reform in Puerto Rico by mollifying what he considered to be its principal stumbling block, Cuban Negrophobia. This racial project is performed in the play by deploying the bon nègre trope on the one hand, by racially neutralizing the mulatto on the other, and finally by investing the antiblack racial project for Puerto Rico and Cuba with an overdose of Judaeophobia. I will also argue, somewhat counterintuitively, that La cuarterona is imbricated in a Cuban discourse: the anti–slave trade genre that emerged from Domingo Del Monte’s famed literary salon. The abundance of critical ink that has been spilled over Del Monte’s tertulia has left Tapia’s presence completely unremarked. This comes as no surprise, for Tapia did not attend a single meeting of the well-documented sessions that took place during the 1830s in Matanzas and Havana. It was in another, now mostly forgotten, collective of Antillean intellectuals that coalesced around the doyen of the colonial reform movement, a decade later and a world away, where Tapia’s political and aesthetic constructs were shaped by the Cuban literary patron. In 1844, Del Monte fled Havana for Madrid and avoided the worst excesses of Cuban Negrophobia, Captain-General O’Donnell’s violent suppression of a coordinated slave uprising, the Conspiración de la Escalera (Ladder Conspiracy), which was mentioned in the previous chapter. Del Monte may have had little to do with the failed rebellion, however this could not be said for some of his acquaintances, such as the British consul and abolitionist David Turnbull, and his aid Francis Ross Cocking. Justifiably concerned that he would be found guilty by association, Del Monte relocated to the Spanish capital.7 In that same year, Puerto Rico’s Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Economic society of friends of the country) proposed creating an institution of secondary education on their island, which it then lacked. In order to provide their future colegio with teachers, the society sent four young Puerto Ricans to Madrid in 1846, where they were to attend university. On arrival two of the students died from smallpox. Román Baldorioty de Castro and José Julián Acosta survived.8 Tapia also made his way to the Spanish capital at midcentury, albeit under a different set of circumstances. In his unfinished autobiography from 1882, Mis memorias o Puerto Rico como lo encontré y como lo dejo (My memories or Puerto Rico as I found it and as I leave it), Tapia tells the story of his 1849–1852 expulsion from Puerto Rico to Madrid: “Due to a duel that I had with an artillery Captain who challenged me, the [ 58 ] The Merchant of Havana
consequence of an encounter on the street in which we fought over the sidewalk, which corresponded to him and not to me, but I did not relinquish it to him for his having demanded it rudely, the Governor of the island ordered my exile.”9 Tapia’s bout with the Spanish soldier and banishment by the island’s captain-general prefigure his investment in the anticolonial struggle, of which La cuarterona is a signal intervention. These events also led to his taking up in Madrid with the two Puerto Rican university students, Baldorioty and Acosta, and to his meeting Del Monte.10 Del Monte’s home in Madrid “served as a meeting place for Antilleans and Spaniards interested in colonial history and politics.”11 Under the Venezuelan-born Cuban’s guidance, Tapia headed a group of Puerto Ricans then residing in Madrid that he branded La Sociedad Recolectora de Documentos Históricos de la Isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico (The society for collecting historical documents of the island of San Juan Bautista of Puerto Rico).12 In Del Monte’s extensive private library and in Spanish archives, society members compiled documents related to their island’s history, which would appear in the Biblioteca histórica de Puerto Rico (Historical library of Puerto Rico), edited by Tapia and published in San Juan in 1854.13 In the opening pages of the Biblioteca histórica, Tapia offers the Cuban exile “my most sincere thanks, whose vast bibliographic erudition, and enlightened critique, as well as the excellence and kindness of his character, have been of great usefulness to me in this undertaking.”14 Tapia again cites Del Monte’s counsel and friendship in the introduction to El bardo de Guamaní (The bard of Guamani), a collection of the Puerto Rican’s works printed in Havana in 1862. While discussing himself in the third person, Tapia recounts: “During his residence in Madrid, from early 1850 through the end of 1852, instructed and encouraged by the distinguished and unforgettable Domingo Delmonte [ . . . ] he gave birth to a legend and some other compositions and he prepared an Historical Library of Puerto Rico for publication, which he later was able to complete upon his return to the island.”15 In Mis memorias, Tapia once more cites the benevolence and, more important, the formation that he and others received from Del Monte in Madrid, writing: “The magnificent and erudite writer and excellent American man of letters Don Domingo Delmonte, a man of exquisite taste, who, exiled from Cuba by Trueva as an abolitionist, resided in Madrid, cultivating relations with the best writers and literary minds, conducting them in an intelliRacial Alchemy and La cuarterona [ 59 ]
gent and amenable circle, encouraged me with reaffirming phrases and affectionate advice.”16 The texts that Tapia produced under Del Monte’s tutelage are clearly modeled after the cultural projects fomented by the latter in his adopted homeland, whose designs were to initiate the construction of a uniquely Cuban identity.17 Though composed later, La cuarterona continues to abide by Del Monte’s instruction. To be sure, the play is markedly inflected by the particular interests that Del Monte championed, over the humanitarian considerations that are reported by its presentday readers. Moreover, it was in Del Monte’s library, or during Tapia’s sojourn in Havana (1857–1863), that he surely read a plethora of Cuban texts in which creole authors Judaize the peninsular merchant. By dint of that exposure, Tapia’s Shylock-Judas figure Críspulo replicates the icon as it was portrayed by Cubans throughout the nineteenth century. La cuarterona dramatizes the peninsular merchants’ moneylending and slave trading and, in keeping with convention, inscribes them within a glossary of Jewishness. In addition to Don Críspulo’s Judaic biography, morality, and body, which shall be further explored below, Carlos, the play’s Romantic hero, explicitly identifies him as “one of the Judases.”18 Though it may appear that the dramatist simply transposes to the Caribbean an admixture of the Shylock and Judas figures that were so prevalent in nineteenth-century European literature and culture, the factors motivating the stock image’s rehabilitation, as well as the response to and interpretation of the icon, vary with the sociohistorical conjuncture.19 To modify Goldberg’s formulation, one could say that “there is no generic [anti-Semitism], only historically specific [anti-Semitisms] each with their own sociotemporally specific causes.”20 Before we turn to Tapia’s particular use of anti-Judaic discourse as an instrument in the contest for colonial reform, it bears repeating once more that empirical Jewish participation in certain activities—in this case, moneylending and slave trading—is not a prerequisite for their condemnation through association with Jewishness. La cuarterona, therefore, confirms Žižek’s point that “the anti-Semitic idea of Jew has nothing to do with Jews.”21 Alternatively, the Puerto Rican playwright used “metaphors of ‘Jewishness’ [ . . . ] in order to articulate preoccupations with secondary issues.”22 These secondary issues, and how they were negotiated on the abstract Jew’s body, are the focus of this chapter.
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Set in Havana, La cuarterona combines Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism to recount the predicament of an unidentified Countess, a landowning and widowed creole of the high nobility. Extensive debt on the Countess’s sugar properties threatens to leave her destitute, reprising a plot tirelessly replayed in fiction and nonfiction alike. To escape impending indigence, she urges her son Carlos to marry Emilia, the arrogant and frivolous daughter of the peninsular merchant Don Críspulo, a nouveau riche who also happens to be the Countess’s largest creditor. Críspulo likewise finds the marriage advantageous, as he desires the title of nobility that the nuptials would bring to his family. Carlos defies his mother’s wishes, however, as he is less interested in the nobility of either ancestry or money than he is in that of the soul.23 He loves Julia, his childhood companion and the daughter of one of the family’s slaves. While Julia reciprocates Carlos’s love, she falsely tells him that she loves another, which she believes to be in Carlos’s and his mother’s best interests. Swayed by this pretense, Carlos reluctantly agrees to his mother’s petitions to marry Emilia. Moments before the ceremony, Emilia discovers the love shared by Carlos and Julia and derides Julia as a “mulata.”24 Julia faints in disgrace, and Críspulo and his daughter abandon the Countess’s house with disdain. Nonetheless, the father’s ambition for a title of nobility and the Countess’s fiscal predicament lead the two parents to reconcile and insist on the wedding. To convince her son, the Countess tells him that Julia is the illegitimate child of his own absent father, and therefore Carlos’s half-sister. In a state of shock, and fearing incest (a commonplace of fiction on interracial unions with tragic mulatto characters that I will return to in more depth in the next chapter), Carlos agrees to marry Emilia. During the wedding, Julia takes a lethal dose of a sleeping aid and dies at the reception. On seeing her dead, the slave Jorge reveals to all Julia’s true parentage: Críspulo is her father, and Emilia her half-sister. As this synopsis reveals, Tapia dramatizes the same social anxieties that compelled nineteenth-century Cuban anti-Semitic rhetoric. Whereas many of the concerns expressed in La cuarterona were shared by Puerto Rican creoles, it is significant that Tapia sets his play in Havana and embeds it within a Cuban discourse.25 Puerto Rico’s political situation was fettered to that of Cuba, and as far as Spain was concerned, Cuba was the only colony of any great importance that it re-
Racial Alchemy and La cuarterona [ 61 ]
tained after the Latin American wars of independence put an end to its mainland empire in the first decades of the century.26 The instructions to the Pearl of the Antilles’s ingoing captain-general in 1859, Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, are a case in point: “The island of Cuba today represents much more for modern Spain than that which all our possessions in the American continent represented for our ancestors . . . today the Captain-General of the island of Cuba is not only the governor of a possession as important as were New Spain, Peru or Buenos Ayres, he is even more than that; he is the forward sentinel of our interests in the new world.”27 Later I will discuss in detail how La cuar terona addresses the struggle for Puerto Rican colonial transformation via that of Cuba, the colony that mattered most to Spain and to which Puerto Rico was tethered, as well as the key question on which Antilleans from these two colonies differed most pointedly.28 But to make sense of that politico-racial project, it is imperative to first review how the play upholds certain racial meanings while contesting others. In Críspulo, Tapia offers a condensed reiteration of the salient statements that formed the Cuban anti-Semitic discursive field. As mentioned, while under Del Monte’s tutelage in Madrid at midcentury or when living in Havana, Tapia certainly read multiple Cuban texts that Judaize the peninsular merchant by means of the same racially charged conceits that establish Críspulo’s Jewishness: foreignness, economic parasitism, and pursuit of social advancement. In an era highly sensitive to perceiving racial stigmata, La cuarterona draws on these signs of Jewishness to demonize a cornerstone of despotic colonialism, the Spanish slave merchant.29 Following a pattern similar to Gómez de Avellaneda’s Jorge Otway and many others, a destitute Críspulo arrives in Cuba, becomes wealthy through slaving and usury, and then brashly attempts to pass for hereditary nobility: “I have to make myself into a count or a marquis so that they forget that I came to America as a stowaway.”30 Críspulo’s ascribed Jewishness, both physical and moral, complement his Judaized life story. His crimson complexion (“a fat and ruddy gentleman; a sort of enormous tomato”31) is an outward sign of Jewishness, which I discussed in some depth in Chapter 2. Reprising a motif that was in wide currency on his neighboring island, Tapia renders Críspulo as another modern iteration of the Red Jew, “a tradition-sanctioned category” that, as Andrew Colin Gow has studied, would portray Jews as having red hair, beard, or clothes as a visible sign of their alliance with the [ 62 ] The Merchant of Havana
devil.32 Críspulo’s diabolism is even less subtle in his business dealings. The dramatist makes it clear that by leeching off authentic Cubans, the foreigner has acquired “more money than the devil.”33 Adding to his demonic and distinctly Judaic credentials, Tapia has Críspulo sell his slave María, Julia’s mother, after impregnating her. Notably in this regard, the Romantic hero Carlos recognizes greed, long associated with Jewishness, as Críspulo’s motivation for trafficking the still-unborn Julia, along with her pregnant mother: “in the vile interest of his greed [ . . . ] he sold her before she was born.”34 It is for this misdeed that Carlos explicitly labels Críspulo a Jew: “I should present her before God saying: Lord, you created her yours, and men have robbed her from you. She who is your daughter, has been sold as You were, by one of the beings that sell their blood, by one of the Judases that exist in the world to exchange souls for money.”35 Tapia thus amalgamates the two most significant anti-Semitic images: Críspulo is both a moneylending scion of Shylock and another flesh-peddling Judas. Críspulo’s analogical correspondence with Judas, the archetype of sin, is further emphasized by way of Julia’s depiction as a Christ figure. Not only is Julia’s mother significantly named Mary (María), but throughout the play the tragic mulata is bathetically associated with Christ by virtue of the martyrdom she suffers at having renounced her love for Carlos. The second act opens, for example, with Julia reading the Bible: “ ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ (Stops reading) Ah! Who could have the serenity in their soul with which the divine prophet of Nazareth issued these words! ‘Those that mourn shall be comforted’! Maybe I am not worthy of comfort, for I seek it in vain. Loving book, my only friend in this lonely existence! Your sweet words would be an effective balm for my soul, if the wound upon it were not incurable.”36 Other mentions of Julia’s agony, appealed to in biblical terms that evoke Christ’s Passion, abound in La cuarterona. At the commencement of Carlos’s and Emilia’s wedding ceremony, Julia soliloquizes: “My God! Since you accept my sacrifice, give me the strength to fulfill it.”37 Her death, with its attendant Christological allusions, is designed to further excite disgust for the Judaized Críspulo, and for Spain’s colonial policies, which are anchored in the exploits of men like this fictional Jewish merchant. As reviewed above, the transfer of material, social, and political ascendancy from the creole plantocracy to the peninsular bourgeoisie constituted a decisive element of Cuban anti-Semitism’s “multiRacial Alchemy and La cuarterona [ 63 ]
plier condition.”38 The propellant of these successive transformations, the creole landowners’ fiscal indebtedness to foreign moneylenders, is depicted in La cuarterona by way of the Countess’s ruination at the hands of Críspulo. When Carlos refuses to marry Emilia, the Countess reminds him of their plight: “I repeat what you know. (Mysteriously) We are almost ruined; the remains of our assets, once considerable, are nearing foreclosure. Emilia’s father is one of our major creditors. We flaunt our nobility before his eyes, the upstart is dazzled, and he agrees to prefer you for a son-in-law over many.”39 The heated discussion over Carlos’s refusal to marry Emilia is interrupted by Julia, who reports that there is a lawyer that has arrived who needs to speak with the Countess “with urgency.”40 The Countess returns from this meeting revealing a writ to seize her last solvent sugar mill. She proclaims to Carlos: “The foreclosure of our best sugar mill; the only free thing we had left.”41 Críspulo, as the Countess’s principal lender, knows of her financial straits and discloses them to his daughter: “She isn’t very buoyant, one could say.”42 The creole proprietors’ burgeoning debt obligations to merchantmoneylenders resulted in financial losses in the first instance. And in the second, the Cuban plantocracy forfeited its symbolic wealth to the rising middle class. It was by way of “elite indebtedness,” Robert Paquette observes, that “parvenus and their offspring penetrated elite families noticeably during the sugar boom, even if profits from the slave trade had helped them to ‘purify their blood’ with the purchase of titles and genealogies. [ . . . ] A wealthy merchant who wanted to break into the highest rank took the proper first steps by setting up a plantation and a baronial townhouse. Another step was a useful marriage.”43 We see this process at work in Tapia’s play. The Countess concocts a misguided plan to avoid bankruptcy by offering her covetous creditor a share of her social capital, her nobility, to which she lays claim irrespective of current financial status. The prospect of overcoming his ascribed station by marrying Emilia to Carlos proves irresistible to Críspulo. But if the upstart moneylender is only too happy to take advantage of both the Countess’s financial woes and the riches he has parasitically won at her expense, his daughter is reluctant to end her flirtatious ways, and she questions why the matrimony is necessary if one could simply buy a title of nobility: “To be called a Countess is something, but as for acquiring genealogies, you yourself have told me
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that it is very easy.”44 Críspulo eschews Emilia’s proposal that he purchase upper-class pedigree, for this would disclose to all that his is new money, whereas he desires to generate an identity of old aristocratic lineage: “No ma’am. The scoffing world distinguishes between the legitimate and the assumed, and therefore the prior are preferable. Such things, even though they appear to be worth little, do not fail to give one a certain importance and are more positive than one thinks.”45 Moments later, Críspulo again makes clear the world of difference between the arriviste and those boasting of ancient hereditary titles, explaining to his daughter, “I want no longer to be the upstart; I would like to be called a Count of the Middle Ages.”46 In a conversation with the Countess, Críspulo once more distinguishes between counterfeit and true gentility, reflecting society’s disdain for the former and his obsession with the latter: “Yes, Don Críspulo,” the Countess repeats back to him, “I am with you on that which you tell me: the newly minted nobles are unbearable, whereas the people of old stock are more agreeable. You see: what is natural in the latter is artificial in the former. Above all the aliases that we have discussed. . . . Yes, because they seem more like nicknames than titles.”47 The Countess concedes the point elsewhere as well, lecturing her son, for example: “Even though he [Don Críspulo] is not unaware of our bad state of affairs, I have made it known to him that, with all his money he is a Mr. Nobody if he does not join his gold with that which is worth its weight in gold: nobility.”48 The play’s repeated differentiation between bogus and authentic ennoblement—a distinction that Críspulo’s passing threatens to undermine—is articulated from a particular historical landscape on which creoles were especially distressed over the merchant–cum–sugar producer’s social ascension. Moreno writes: “Within the ancient feudal superstructure the sugar oligarch appears as a nouveau riche. They are the upstarts. To be rich without being noble, was in fact, something somewhat indecent, because rank is what legitimizes nobility. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, as the sacharocrat has not yet gained full faith in himself, many rush to buy titles of nobility. Havana fills with counts and marquises.”49 By Paquette’s tally, thirty-one of the fiftysix marquis and counts in Havana in 1840 had attained their titles in the nineteenth century.50 “Wealth and connections might make a nobleman but not a gentleman, and in a society so preoccupied with status, the origins of come-latelies with high titles,” Paquette details, was
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“the leading subject of polite gossips.”51 Put otherwise, the legal and social construct of blood nobility was reasserted, and ancestry’s outranking of merit reasserted, through projects such as this play.52 In the same conversation with Emilia considered above, Críspulo states: “As far as I’m concerned, I could just as well become the Count of Bemba or the Marquis of Macagua, but they are new and even obscure lineages.”53 At a time when the newly rich slaver turned sugar magnate with purchased high titles was much maligned in the Antilles, Críspulo would prefer not to publicize the “new” and “obscure” (oscuros, literally, dark) origins of his lineage, meaning his is new money earned in the slave trade. These plurivocal adjectives further suggest that Críspulo could not have passed a blood purity test; lineages tainted by Jewish blood were designated with the same qualifiers and were the opposite of Old Christian blood lines, which were termed “old” and “light.” Tapia overcodes Críspulo’s program of aristocratic self-fashioning with notions of Jewishness, by which the playwright fortifies the boundaries between the legitimate and fraudulent nobility. This parvenu’s grotesque impersonation of a “true” patrician might have made for an untroubling comic opera if not for the horrifying matter of his Jewishness. Although nineteenth-century racial thought saw a resemblance between racial passing and social advancement, the prior was felt to be the more threatening.54 Tapia superimposes racial passing over social maneuverability, creating a passing palimpsest, and thereby marshals all the dread that surrounded miscegenation in order to better secure the creole elites’ unsure footing atop the colonial hierarchy. Thus, and just like Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab, La cuarterona betrays “how race,” as Jacobson puts it, “has served as a powerful instrument for jealously guarding privilege rather than as a neutral, coolly biological basis for understanding the relationship among the world’s peoples.”55 Whereas the aspiring moneylender is permeated with cues of his Jewishness, signs of Julia’s African ancestry, be they physical or moral, are markedly absent from La cuarterona. This is a telling departure from traditional interracial literature, a salient convention of which is the description of the mulatto’s racialized physiognomy: that is, characters and narrators delineate, oftentimes at great length, the manifestations of African blood, however so slight, on the mixed-breed characters’ mind and body. In this way, La cuarterona diverges from Sab, for instance, in which Enrique studies the title character’s somatic [ 66 ] The Merchant of Havana
indications of African descent in minute detail, and whose dramatic climax is advanced by the mulatto’s precariously unstable racial intermixture, as explored above.56 Much the same is true for Villaverde’s tragic mulata Cecilia Valdés, as we shall see in a moment. Julia, though, unlike the tragic mulatto characters who preceded and followed her, is racially unmarked in the play, which has the effect of whitening her, for “whiteness as race operates as an unmarked racial category” in Western literature, as Rebecca Aanerud rightly observes.57 Julia’s blanquea miento, or whitening, begins with the play’s title. According to Werner Sollors, the term quadroon in nineteenth-century fiction does not necessarily refer with mathematical precision to “a precise genealogical position,” but rather it “marks a character with some ‘black’ ancestry who could be taken for [or is] ‘white.’ ”58 On the title page appear the names of the play’s characters. Next to “Jorge” we find the classification “negro”; yet no such racial designation is given next to the name “Julia.”59 As Julia makes her first onstage appearance, the moment at which the audience would expect her interlocutor Carlos to delineate the outward signs of her African heritage, his aside is instead limited to two words: “Beautiful woman!”60 Luis is present and likewise mentions the girl’s beauty, but nothing in regard to her blackness: “She is gorgeous!”61 Críspulo notes the same. What’s more, Críspulo’s gaze fixes on Julia’s whiteness, as it was perceived physically and conceived of morally: “she is almost white or she seems it, she is pretty, courteous, and elegant.”62 Like other potential markers of Julia’s mixed blood, her slave mother María makes no appearance in the play, as María’s onstage presence would have blackened her nearly white daughter.63 Finally, a note following the play instructs that the actress who plays Julia “must not blacken her face, since it deals with a woman that is white in appearance.”64 The upshot to these gestures is that Julia’s mulatez is disregarded by the text and reader. Her subject position is situated as “ ‘unraced,’ or racially neutral,” and, as Aanerud makes clear, this corresponds with “being white [ . . . ] or, to stress the political, being normal.”65 Beyond normalizing or neutralizing the mulatto, Julia’s whiteness also serves to call attention to the peninsular slaver’s redundant Judaization. She is an “unmarked marker,” Susan Arndt’s term by which, to once more quote Aanerud, “(un)marked whiteness is often reinforced by [just as it reinforces] the overt racial marking of the non-white characters.”66 The repercussion to this racial asymmetry—the mulatto’s deracialization Racial Alchemy and La cuarterona [ 67 ]
coupled with Críspulo’s amplified racial marking—is that along with the reader’s racial radar, the locus of debate and racial angst shifts from Afro-Antillean bodies to that of the perceptibly distinct “Jewish” slave trader, and Negrophobia is supplanted by Judaeophobia. As we shall see, Tapia calls on the good slave trope to further this substitution. Críspulo and Emilia—the characters attempting to pass—are the only ones that remark on Julia’s passing. Their racial surveillance of Julia backfires, however, and they inadvertently self-racialize. At the same time that the reader’s attention is drawn to Críspulo’s social and racial trespassing, he offers this sanctimonious observation: “if we didn’t know that she is the daughter of a mulatto slave, as they say, maybe we would admit her like others that try to hide their origins among the well-born.”67 Emilia, who through marriage to Carlos undertakes to pass the boundaries of class and race herself, makes a similar and similarly hypocritical statement about Julia to Luis: “You might ask me why I’m so severe with her, when there are so many of her ilk in our upper class, that pass for what they are not.”68 With bitter irony, Luis pointedly exposes the absurdity of Emilia’s gripe with Julia in an aside: “Someone might say that Emilia shouldn’t be throwing stones when it comes to those matters; but anyways, who knows? But she certainly won’t be the one to reveal it.”69 Both father and daughter intend to racialize Julia as a kind of subterfuge—to deflect attention from their own passing to hers. Nevertheless, its effect is precisely the opposite: Julia quite literally pales beside Críspulo’s caricatural Jewishness and Emilia’s repellent hypocrisy. The lopsidedness of the conjunction creates a boomerang effect as the reader or spectator is compelled to heed the looking subject’s passing, rather than that of the perceived object.70 The net effect is that a narrative of class passing, overlaid with notions of Jewishness, replaces the conventional one of Afro-Cuban for white race passing.71 The minimizing of Julia’s racial alterity—the fact that she is not black but rather a quadroon, and one whose whiteness is accentuated—is a detail of no minor importance that critics of the play tend to ignore. Literary historians who read La cuarterona from within the Anglo-American academy, enveloped in a racially dualistic society, have been tempted to collapse racial taxonomies that were wholly distinct in the nineteenth-century Hispano-Caribbean, which has resulted in Julia’s misidentification as a black character. The play is then inaccurately billed as “mak[ing] a case for freedom and equality for [ 68 ] The Merchant of Havana
blacks and whites.”72 Racial classification in the Caribbean is a much more complex system than the black-white binary that prevails in the United States.73 In nineteenth-century Cuba, at least nine categories of free colored people and three classifications for slaves were operative.74 Therefore, whereas the invisibly nonwhite protagonist of La cuarterona is almost, but finally and suggestively not, admitted into the symbolic family, this should not be misinterpreted as an overture of universal racial inclusion: this seemingly egalitarian gesture is significantly not extended to the black slave Jorge. In addition to La cuarterona’s multilayered treatment of class and race, consideration of its approach to labor deserves a more nuanced discussion. A detail of no small consequence is that though Julia may be the Countess’s slave—“following the Roman principle of partus se quitur ventrem, the status of the mother determined that of the child in modern slaveholding societies,” Sollors instructs—this fact, like her blackness, is not mentioned in the play, except in Emilia’s somewhat veiled reference to Julia’s “condition.”75 To the contrary, all textual indicators suggest that she would have been classified as a free person of color. Carlos considers how his mother treated Julia like an adopted daughter: “she took her in and has educated her with care; my mother loves her sincerely.”76 Julia comments similarly to Carlos about her treatment by the Countess: “since the cradle I have received support from your good mother.”77 The Countess remarks to the girl: “Julia, since you were born in this house, you have always been treated with affection and educated as a proper young lady.”78 Críspulo cautions his daughter, who shows disrespect for Julia, telling Emilia that such behavior would offend the Countess: “She raised the young girl, as it is often said, and loves and esteems her, having educated her as if she were a respectable young lady.”79 Notably, Carlos does not promise to free Julia upon marriage, a common theme of interracial literature.80 Nor does the Countess indicate that Julia will be sold or exiled to the sugar mill when she decides to separate the two lovers—exile being a ubiquitous method used to split up couples in abolitionist literature when one or both are slaves, as seen in Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s Francisco. Instead, the Countess implies that Julia will simply be kicked out of the house: “It is necessary that she leave the house and that they not see one another again.”81 In each of these citations, we find that Julia’s slave status is supplanted by attributes that befit a free woman. The fact that Julia is not depicted as a slave but as a free colored Racial Alchemy and La cuarterona [ 69 ]
person makes labeling the play “abolitionist” problematic.82 Such an unqualified designation is further troubled by Tapia’s paternalistic depiction of the master-slave relationship. If in Cecilia Valdés “there is no free-thinking Teresa [from Sab] who knows enough to listen to blacks,” as Doris Sommer has convincingly argued, this is not the case in La cuarterona.83 In Tapia’s play, master and slave are confidants, as we learn in the opening scene. After Jorge informs Carlos of Julia’s love for him, the young creole says: “Jorge’s words have revealed an entire world to me.”84 The slave’s words are revealing, indeed: they disclose the author’s promoting an image of social harmony between benign master and docile slave. This chimerical picture of slave labor relations is furthered by means of Jorge’s repeated declarations of love to Carlos: She [Julia] took good care to tell me: “Jorge, the young Carlos, who never forgets those that love him, sends you his regards.” Oh! I don’t know what then came over me. . . . To know that my good master remembered his poor Jorge, I cried of joy, as I did of sorrow the day in which my young master left Havana. [ . . . ] Oh! I know what it is to cry of happiness; that is how I cried on the day your grace returned and hugged me [ . . . ]. Your grace has always been good to her, to me and to everyone; that is why we love you so much.85
The paternal slave owner thanks his submissive and content slave, a hyperbolic portrayal of the bon nègre trope—and one that contrasted sharply with reality—for expressing sentiments that the white audience surely found most reassuring: “Thank you, good Jorge.”86 Tapia paints slavery as harmonious social and economic system—an arrangement from which Negrophobia is tellingly absent. That the play’s empathetic hero Carlos is a slave owner, moreover, while the villain’s great crime is selling his pregnant slave, again calls into question scholarship’s easy cataloguing of La cuarterona as an abolitionist drama and suggests that it might be better considered as articulating an anti–slave trade discourse. In what remains of this chapter and in the next, I wish to underscore that the writers of Del Monte’s two literary circles, that of Havana/Matanzas first and Madrid later, aimed to suppress the slave trade and not slavery, an all-too-frequent conflation of independent and even contradictory positions.87
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Toward the play’s end, Luis and Emilia form a couple, superseding that of Carlos and Julia. The heroine Julia’s suicide, typical of Romantic drama, conclusively determines that the marriage of convenience and self-interest wins out over that based on love. Before Julia’s death, “the obstacle that deters (and goads) the erotic and national projects” is not slavery but, according to Carlos, colonialism: “I shall leave, I will take Julia with me, if she wants to follow me, to other countries where these miserable colonial concerns do not hold sway.”88 In order to further understand how La cuarterona is structured to address certain “miserable colonial concerns”—not independence but instead further Puerto Rican “inclusion within the Spanish state” (after Del Monte)—we must view it within the frame of the Antillean intellectuals’ struggle against the contraband slave trade, which they knew to be at the very core of colonialism.89
Francisco de Arango y Parreño’s (1765–1837) about-face on
the question of the slave trade is emblematic of some considerable revisions to creole thinking that began to take shape toward the 1830s.90 Four decades earlier, Arango, an influential reformer and advocate for the creole oligarchy, had planted many of the seeds of Cuba’s sugar boom.91 Prescient of the “unprecedented opportunity” afforded Cuban planters by the slave revolution then taking place in the French colony of Saint Domingue (which had been the world’s largest source of sugar), this creole economist dispatched several treatises to the Spanish Crown that “provided the theoretical framework for the development of Cuba into the world’s leading sugar producer from the 1820s into the twentieth century.”92 A major component of Arango’s project to foster the island’s sugar industry lay in establishing a free market in African chattel, which he expressed in 1792, for example, in his Discurso sobre la agricultura de La Habana y medios de fomentarla (Discourse on the agriculture of Havana and how to promote it): “Nothing will be more useful than to encourage with prizes and with essays our direct commerce with the coasts of Africa, and thus it would be in our interest to found establishments on the same coast or in its vicinity. [ . . . ] This is now urgent. It is necessary to consider that slaves are in short supply, and that in the present circumstances there is more need of them than ever.”93 Arango’s petitions were heard; Carlos III suspended the asiento system and the phase of unrestricted slave trading began. Yet by the
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1830s Arango had changed his tune. In reports such as Representación al Rey sobre la extinción del tráfico de negros y medios de mejorar la suerte de los esclavos coloniales (Exposition to the King about the extinction of the slave trade and means to improve the fortune of colonial slaves), from 1832, he endorses an end to what he describes as the “disgusting commerce” with just as much vigor as he had once lobbied for it.94 Arango’s newfound objection to the slave trade is symptomatic of a widespread sentiment that was even shared by many of the largest creole planters. Several intellectuals expressed similar concerns in the texts that make up what Cubanists have subsequently celebrated as the Cuban antislavery genre. This label, which prevails even among the most attentive literary historians, is ill suited, for it reduces what Dale Tomich has compellingly discussed as the “historical complexity” and “changing character of slave relations in the nineteenth century” to the static antinomy proslavery-antislavery.95 The inadequacy of this dyadic analytical framework is perfectly illustrated in critics’ conspicuous suppression of adverse evidence—that is, the elision of these authors’ vested interests in slaveholding—while others have tried to square the circle by alluding to the Cuban antislavery genre’s “contradictory imperatives.”96 One of the contributions that this chapter looks to make, then, is to place these seeming contradictions in dialogue in order to propose a more nuanced understanding of Antillean conceptualizations of slave labor.97 In contrast to studies of slavery that treat it as an “unchanging same,” we must position nineteenth-century Cuban slavery within its particular socioeconomic conjuncture, as Tomich argues.98 The turn of the eighteenth century augured what Tomich terms the “second slavery,” characterized in Cuba by the “expansion and intensification of slave labor.”99 In the decades following the Royal Charter of February 28, 1789, which ended the asiento system, and successive government approvals in the 1790s that provided for free trade in human chattel, African slaves were relatively plentiful and inexpensive in Cuba.100 Between 1790 and 1820, the slave commerce’s stretch of near complete liberty, an astronomical 385,000 or so Africans were forcibly imported to Cuba.101 Following Tomich’s logic, which questions the “apparent uniformity” of slave systems, and finds them instead to be “complex and differentiated,” subject to “formation and reformation within histori-
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cal processes of the capitalist world economy,” one discerns a distinct phase of Cuba’s “second slavery,” or what I am calling a third slavery, as having been initiated around 1820 when the transatlantic slave trading ban went into effect.102 Even if the production system was to remain, for the most part, unaltered by the treaty, it took on a different set of functions within Spanish colonialism.103 When, in 1820, the Treaty of Madrid took effect, the Spanish crown gave “unofficial protection to the slave trade in spite of the treaty.”104 Madrid and its authorities in Cuba collaborated with slave traders to frustrate the prohibition, and in fact, as Murray has illustrated, Spain employed the law “to protect the slave trade rather than to prosecute it.”105 The contraband trade’s endurance bears this out: Thomas reports that between 1820 and 1865 some five hundred thousand slaves were delivered to Cuba.106 Spain did not open the lucrative enterprise to all interested parties, however; circumvention of the international agreement, Moreno confirms, “became the exclusive business of merchants who were faithful to the colonial politics of the Spanish bourgeoisie.”107 To offer some idea of the peninsular merchants’ monopoly of the contraband commerce, sixty of the sixty-two total slave trading vessels leaving Havana in 1834 were Spanish; in the following year seventyeight of eighty were.108 By also obstructing the development of other labor organization systems, the beleaguered empire came to monopolize sourcing of the island’s labor, a crucial economic pressure point that it manipulated to ensure the planter class’s loyalty.109 To further consolidate its precarious hold on the prosperous colony, Spain facilitated the peninsular bourgeoisie’s penetration of virtually every sector of the island’s political economy by way of concessions analogous to those that it gave them in the interloper slave trade.110 The peninsular merchant served as a tool of empire in another significant respect. To maintain its most precious overseas possession, Spain redoubled its grip on the island through a politics of force.111 Havana was a “slave”—the Janus-faced metaphor voiced by many creoles in referencing the facultades omnímodas possessed by the captains-general that invested them with total powers, the substantial military presence on the island, Cubans’ dispossession of civil liberties, and the continued refusal to seat Cuban representatives in the Spanish Cortes—a state of affairs given pretext by the very same monumental slave population that Madrid had cynically promoted. Spain colluded
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with its slave merchants in order to stimulate the profitable production of sugar, of course, but these concerns were indeed secondary.112 That Madrid’s imperial architecture was built on a foundation of creole Negrophobia was regularly and candidly expressed by government officials, such as the Spanish minister José María Calatrava, who, in a letter from 1823, notes that “the Cubans’ fear of slaves is the surest means that Spain has to guarantee its domination of that island.”113 The British statesman Lord Palmerston, who spent years fighting the Cuban slave trade, alleged the same: “The real and well-known Fact is, that the Govt. at Madrid has systematically and intentionally encouraged the Cuba Slave Trade [ . . . ] for the Purpose of retaining a Hold upon the Island because it is thought at Madrid that as long as there is in Cuba a large number of Negroes the white population will cling to the Mother Country for protection against the black Race.”114 This policy came to be termed the “equilibrium of races” and formed a significant support to the imperial power structure.115 Benítez Rojo reports that “in the 1830s, when the island’s black population was approaching the half-million mark, the creole ideologues adopted a strong reformist path” because they, along with the commonsense thinking of the time, feared that revolutionary separation from Spain “could easily turn into a racial war” and “that Cuba, like Haiti, would become a black republic with no place left for them.”116 The island’s massive slave population was an insurmountable obstacle to independence, in lieu of which Del Monte, Saco, and, as we shall see, Tapia sought political reforms, such as converting Cuba’s status from colony to overseas province, the granting of constitutional rights to Antilleans, representation in the Cortes, the implementation of “special laws,” and freedom of the press.117 Yet even these modest liberalizing measures were denied, for many Spaniards shared CaptainGeneral Tacón’s view “that Spain had lost her empire because she had conceded political rights to her colonists which made them equal to Spaniards living in the peninsula.”118 To quash these requests, Madrid turned once more to the pretense of Cuba’s inflated slave population. Ever fearful of losing possession of the world’s sugar bowl, and rightly so, Spanish lawmakers retained Cuba within their clasp by asserting that the island’s huge number of slaves required military and political domination.119 Employing this rationale on April 5, 1837, the deputy to the Cortes, Vicente Sancho, insisted against extending con-
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stitutional liberties to Cubans: “The people that have something to lose in Cuba, not least of whom the large landowners and the commercial class, know well the dangers which the establishment of a Constitution would represent to their property and to themselves, founded in liberty and equality, because these words, which echo so pleasantly in our ears, are there words of extermination and death.”120 The island’s enormous slave population, artificially maintained by the transatlantic trade, was a club used to pummel Cuban liberalism, which Madrid considered to be a harbinger of separatism.121 If the delmontinos favored disparate positions on just about all major political, economic, and social questions, what held the group together was their shared opposition to the slave trade, which they knew to be the mainspring of a program whose designs went far beyond providing labor to the agricultural sector. In this regard, the literary campaign they waged against the commerce, begun at the Revista Bimestre Cubana in 1832 and continued in Del Monte’s home when the former was prematurely shut down by the slave trading syndicate, was a proxy war against colonial despotism.122 It therefore targeted the linchpin of colonial subjugation, the contraband traffic, and its principal operative, the peninsular merchant.123
Above all, Tapia, like his Cuban counterparts, desired colonial
reform and astutely discerned that the disabling fears of slave rebellion were manipulated to stifle any such measure. Nowhere does he make this point more candidly than in Mis memorias, where he bemoans that the slave system both retarded the island’s progress and served as a buttress to maintain colonial dependency: “African slavery [ . . . ] contributed, in no small measure, equivalently to the terrible absolutist colonial system, and to impeding any movement down the path of progress.”124 As one example, he cites England’s 1840 petition of Captain-General Méndez Vigo to create a steam ship station in Puerto Rico: “An event that would have had very favorable consequences for the island, as it is easy to imagine. But there was no lack of people saying, as it was related to the abolitionist English, that the petition was made with the intention of stirring a rebellion among the slaves; the truth is that the latter were located too far from the port to fear any such thing coming to pass; but the petition was denied.”125 From this and other comparable episodes, Tapia became convinced that slavery
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was “the basis of the colonial system and of the preponderance of the ills that it brings with it.”126 These concerns propelled Tapia to Madrid in 1866 to discuss reforming Spain’s colonial relationship with its Antillean possessions at the Junta de Información de Ultramar (Colonial Reform Commission). It was amid these conversations that he would write La cuarterona. Tapia was drawn to Spain in 1866 at the behest of his friend José Julián Acosta, who he had lived with in Madrid a decade and a half prior. Along with Francisco Mariano Quiñones and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, Acosta was appointed as a commissioner of the Junta de Información. Under Cuban and Puerto Rican pressure, Spain’s colonial minister, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, convened the Junta in the Spanish capital with the stated intent of discussing reform options for the Antilles.127 As Arthur F. Corwin indicates, among the issues on the agenda to be discussed by the Junta de Información was the regulation of slave labor, but not its suppression. So when in the third conference the Puerto Rican commissioners demanded the abolition of slavery on their island, the Spanish and Cuban delegates were horrified.128 The Cubans adamantly refused even to discuss immediate abolition, let alone sign the Puerto Rican proposal. In its response to the Puerto Rican representatives, the Cuban delegation wrote: Three hundred seventy thousand five hundred-fifty three slaves, that exist in Cuba, and more than forty one thousand that there are in Puerto Rico, all without religious instruction, predisposed to vice and vagrancy, with savage instincts and in open opposition to the white race—could they be suddenly freed, without destroying the latter, such that added to the 466,680 of the same class that exist in the Antilles, they conceive the thought of converting themselves into lords of the territory and to destroy, if they are able, the existence of those who until now have been their owners?129
The Cuban petition, penned by Manuel de Armas, the commissioner from Havana, again reveals the key distinction between the two Spanish Antilles regarding the so-called social question: “These gentlemen [Acosta, Ruiz Bélviz, and Quiñones] without a doubt inspired by the best of intentions, have only paid attention to the reduced number of
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slaves that exist in Puerto Rico, and believe that they can be emancipated quickly, simply, and without delay.”130 De Armas accounts for the difference of opinion by pointing to the asymmetrical slave populations of the two colonies, and Christopher Schmidt-Nowara’s calculations confirm the Cuban commissioner’s math: in the 1860s there were some 370,000 slaves in Cuba, while in Puerto Rico there were around 41,000.131 Moreover, there was a large poor white rural population in Puerto Rico, which Cuba lacked, that could be transformed, it was hoped, into wage labor.132 Thus, whereas the Puerto Rican delegates, for economic, political, and to be sure racist reasons, were anxious to transition from slave to wage labor, such a discussion could not be countenanced by the Cubans.133 The representatives of the two colonies were divided: the Puerto Ricans urged the changeover to wage labor; the Cubans desired the same but were constrained by their fear of race war. Ultimately, the Junta failed to see any reforms implemented, which contributed, in large part, to the Ten Years’ War in Cuba, and in Puerto Rico to the Grito de Lares.134 It was in Madrid and amid these conversations that Tapia wrote and publicly read La cuarterona. When looked at through this contextual lens, the play must be viewed as a wholly political project that engages profoundly with the Puerto Rican delegates’ struggle for reform, and the rift with their Cuban counterparts that impeded their efforts. To modify Charles Hatfield’s discussion of José Martí’s “Nuestra América” (Our America), Tapia understood that the Puerto Rican anticolonial struggle was hindered in part by the Cuban white elite’s acute Negrophobia and its manipulation by Madrid.135 This is not to say that La cuarterona advances racial egalitarianism, to be sure, or immediate abolition for that matter, but the play is nonetheless a tacit rejoinder to the premise that race war would follow hard on the heels of reform, which was a principal pillar of the imperial edifice. This is the primary reason for the play’s Cuban setting and for its depiction of a national romance between a white landowner and a member of the colored class who is racially neutralized. The new racial alchemy, devoid of Negrophobia, that Tapia’s play is designed to generate is further endorsed by Jorge’s portrait as a bon nègre, the “opposite number of the slave rebel.”136 Abiding racial preoccupations are refocused on the Judaized slave trader, the only one left on Tapia’s stage of colonial racial threats,
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whose illicit commercial activities served to maintain Antillean political and economic subjugation to Spain.137 As mentioned, the divide between the Cuban and Puerto Rican delegates could not be bridged, despite Tapia’s best efforts. In the aftermath of the Ten Years’ War, which resulted in part from the Antillean delegates’ inability to reconcile, a member of Del Monte’s first literary circle, Cirilo Villaverde, would resume a tale begun half a century prior, as he desperately searched for a means to end Spanish imperialism. As we shall see in the following chapter, the author of Cecilia Val dés also makes the figurative Jew complicit in his anticolonial project.
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4 The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés (1882) Nineteenth-century Cuban liberals found themselves trapped
in a “deadlock of [their] desire.”1 Exceedingly insecure about its hold on the Pearl of the Antilles after the loss of its mainland colonies, Spain had tightened its grip on the lucrative colony by restricting political and civil liberties on the island. As pretext for these measures, Madrid cynically promoted the installation of a towering slave labor force in Cuba.2 Félix Varela (1787–1853), ideological mentor to the creole intellectuals who came of age in the 1830s, reminded Del Monte in a letter from 1834 that “black slavery is the cause of white slavery,” or that the monumental slave population, artificially inflated by the transatlantic trade, served as the principal bulwark of colonial despotism.3 The secondary injunction of the liberal-minded creoles’ double bind was their belief, widely shared throughout most of the century, that abolition would have amounted to nothing less than Cuba’s destruction, a Negrophobia discussed above on several occasions. To escape this impasse, Del Monte and others conceived of a racial project based on (1) putting a stop to the constant inflow of African chattel through eradication of the illegal slave trade, followed by (2) a gradual end to slavery, and ultimately (3) “whitening” the island through European immigration coupled with miscegenation and, to whatever degree possible, removing the island’s remaining black populace to Africa, following the example of the American Colonization Society.4 Del Monte lays out this three-step plan in a letter from 1848: “the task, the sole duty, the constant purpose of every true, noble, and patriotic Cuban, may be summed up as first ending the slave trade, then in imperceptibly suppressing slavery, without shocks or violence; and finally, in cleaning Cuba of the African race.”5
[7 9 ]
Del Monte’s proto-eugenic panacea was not accepted wholesale however, even within the group of creole thinkers that he cultivated.6 Cirilo Villaverde, one of the most celebrated talents to come out of Del Monte’s first literary salon, shared his former patron’s goal of securing creole liberties but embraced an altogether different set of tactics to do so. To end what he, like Varela, labeled “white slavery,” Villaverde espoused annexation of Cuba to the United States, a movement growing out of fears that an ailing Spain would prove itself unable or unwilling to oppose the British abolitionist onslaught.7 Villaverde championed this position from New York, where he resided after a dramatic episode involving his politically motivated arrest, incarceration, escape from jail, and flight from the island in 1849.8 In the March 10, 1852, issue of the New York–based newspaper La Verdad, mouthpiece of the annexationist movement, Villaverde continues his serial “El Sr. Saco con respecto á la Revolucion de Cuba” (Mr. Saco with regard to the Cuban revolution), a multipart rejoinder to José Antonio Saco’s antiannexationist piece Ideas sobre la incorporación de Cuba en los Estados Unidos (Ideas about the incorporation of Cuba in the United States; 1848): In short, Mr. Saco, who is laying the foundations, with deliberate intention and infernal foresight, of the Black Antillean empire which, if America does not defeat in time, will endanger its democratic-republican institutions and even its civilization some day? None other than England and France, the very same European powers whose shelter you invoke to “cover our Island with their powerful shield,” such that if it is not annexed by the United States, and its sons do not manage to shake loose Spain’s yoke, it will be unable to escape the fate that Europe has planned for the rest of the English Antilles, and those of the French, Dutch, and Danish as well.9
This passage encapsulates Villaverde’s refutation of Saco’s thesis that an armed struggle for US annexation would see “the horrors of Saint Domingue [ . . . ] repeat themselves in Cuba.”10 Villaverde spells out the annexationist counterclaim that incorporation into the United States was the only means to stymie European machinations to annihilate Cuban economic competition by engineering the revolutionary
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emancipation of the island’s slaves.11 It bears noting that both pro- and anti-annexationist platforms, despite their differences, manipulate Negrophobia in order to advance the interests of white creoles. It may be suggested that Villaverde’s support of the annexationist cause, the depth of which is revealed in his columns in La Verdad, which he edited during 1852, emanated from an honorable devotion to the cause of Cuban liberty. Be that as it may, the groundwork for securing this freedom—annexation by the United States—was its reinforced denial to the island’s slaves.12 I signal the implications of Villaverde’s contradictory solution to the Cuban conundrum—that he looked to assert the rights of white Cubans by further repressing those held in bondage (a position he would maintain until the end of slavery in the United States extinguished the annexationist option)—because, as we shall see, the author advocates a program that would have had the same ramifications in Cecilia Valdés o La Loma de Ángel, which has been consecrated as “the most important novel written in nineteenthcentury Cuba and perhaps one of the most significant works published in Latin America during the same period.”13 What is more, though Villaverde’s annexationist sympathies are sometimes glossed over by Cubanists, who no doubt struggle to account for the apparent paradox that the scenes of slave torture depicted in Cecilia Valdés were penned by a “proslavery” writer, I recuperate this perplexing matter for the rereading of the Cuban abolitionist archive that it triggers, one that is foreclosed when elided or misdiagnosed as a symptom of the genre’s often-mentioned inconsistencies.14 Yet one need not look any further than the pages of Cecilia Valdés to note that critical insistence that Villaverde be located on the mythologized side of the pro- and antislavery dyad is deeply flawed, as are the very oppositional categories themselves. In the final throes of a failed Cuban liberation war against Spain— the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878)—and with annexation no longer feasible, Villaverde rehabilitates a remedy to the Cuban catch-22 first proselytized by creole ideologues decades earlier and embeds it within a novel that also has its roots in the first half of the century.15 Whereas the chapters in Cecilia Valdés depicting slavery’s horrors have conventionally been read as philanthropic efforts to put an end to Cuba’s peculiar institution, they are in fact propaganda for a program of labor reform called buen tratamiento, or good treatment, the purpose of
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which was the economic rationalization and prolongation of slavery.16 Buen tratamiento promised, moreover, to sap the cornerstone of the colonialist power structure: the sugar mill. By rereading the quintessential Cuban novel in the light of buen tratamiento, this chapter will question the abolitionist genre’s apparent contradictions in order to suggest a more complex understanding of creoles’ conceptualization of slave labor.17 This will inform my reassessment of the much-discussed sexual objectification of the mulata, which I will read in tandem with Villaverde’s presentation of the peninsular merchant, whose “corrupt and corrupting nature” is evoked by a grammar of Jewishness.18 These two racialized Others should be understood as overlapping screens on which notions of a monolithic, white Cubanness were projected, in spite of the ideological purchase of liberalism. Moreover, such screens are to be understood as “masking a void,” in Žižek’s terms, which lay beyond Villaverde’s impossible national fantasy.19
One contribution this book looks to make is to move the
discussion of Cuban slave relations beyond the fixed and reductive opposition proslavery-antislavery, which in turn leads to other conceptual dislocations. To this end, I once more call attention to Dale Tomich’s compelling assertion that “beneath the apparent uniformity of nineteenth-century slave emancipation, we find complex and differentiated trajectories and outcomes that are traceable to the position of particular slave systems within the world economy.”20 Keeping in mind the “changing character of slave relations in the nineteenth century,” I began to outline the specific transfigurations of Cuban s lavery throughout that epoch in Chapter 3.21 Between the years 1790 and 1820, during what Tomich has labeled Cuba’s second slavery, an open and legal transatlantic trade saw no fewer than 385,000 Africans forcibly transported to Cuba to meet the sugar boom’s labor demands.22 After the first Anglo-Spanish treaty that banned the transatlantic slave trade as of 1820, inaugurating the period that I have designated, following Tomich, Cuba’s third slavery, the labor regime became more costly to creoles in political and social terms. Economically, though, little changed until after 1835, the year in which the second anti–slave trading ban took effect. Before then, slaves remained “abundant and cheap,” Moreno explains.23 Following the Anglo-Spanish bilateral treaty of 1835, however, new conditions of slave labor renewal were op[ 82 ] The Merchant of Havana
erative, and the price of a slave skyrocketed. This led many creoles to revise their views on slavery, even if the economic system was to remain in place and, on the whole, unmodified.24 When Britain abolished slavery within its empire in 1833, its abolitionists turned their attention overseas, above all to the United States, Brazil, and Cuba.25 Pressure from this group induced the British government to push through the passage of a second, more substantial treaty with Spain in 1835 that reiterated the illegality of the Atlantic slave trade. As Spain had not fulfilled its requirements under the prior anti–slave trading agreement, the 1835 ban made certain revisions, such as extending its scope so that ships could be prosecuted if equipped for the trade, regardless of whether or not slaves were discovered on board.26 With the commencement of this treaty, and chiefly after 1840, the flow of African captives to Cuba slowed dramatically as Great Britain generated an energetic crusade to put an end to the illegal importation of “ebony cargo”—the dehumanizing euphemism with which slavers referred to their commodity.27 If in 1841 the slave population stood at 436,495, by 1846 (following yet another Spanish ban on the trade) it had dropped by more than 100,000, down to 323,759.28 The reduced supply of slaves and planter uncertainty regarding the trade’s future, robust demand resulting from the sugar industry’s expansion, escalated bribes collected by Spanish colonial officials, and higher costs to slavers, which they in turn passed on to their customers, were some of the drivers that saw the price of a slave triple between 1800 and 1840.29 To cover the surging price of labor, the most significant expenditure of an already costly mill, sugar producers took on huge amounts of debt in the nineteenth century, as discussed in Chapter 1.30 Still, the depth of the credit crisis bears repeating: more than 95 percent of all sugar plantations were mortgaged in 1863.31 The absence of a commercial bank on the island throughout much of the century left planters with no other recourse than to take loans from merchants, who also served as private bankers and lent at exorbitant interest.32 The other side of the balance sheet only aggravated the planters’ strain. The expansion of cheap European beet sugar in the nineteenth century, which was often subsidized by the state, employed wage labor, and used modern machinery, was one of several factors that provoked sugar prices to fall precipitously from the historical highs reached in the aftermath of the Haitian revolution.33 In the wake of increased labor and financing costs and depressed sugar The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 83 ]
prices, much of the planter oligarchy defaulted on its debt. Along with their mills, creole sugar producers forfeited their social prestige and political influence to the nouveaux riches merchants.34 Among the multiple detriments emanating from the creole planters’ dependence on the contraband trade in African chattel, Del Monte and the other members of his famed tertulia particularly resented its use by Madrid to sustain colonial domination of the island. This and other concerns that will be addressed below, including the “creole desire to approach the European Ideal” (which is to say whiteness, as it was mapped behaviorally and physically—recall Del Monte’s calls for “cleaning Cuba of the African race”), saw the interests of the delmontinos converge with those of creole sugar producers.35 Together, ideologues and planters formulated all manner of projects to address the labor shortage and, concurrently, free Cuban agriculture from dependency on the peninsular slaver. Suppression of the slave trade would have also provided the considerable benefit of removing England, and thus the hazard of sudden emancipation, from the Cuban domestic equation.36 One of these programs, which gained some momentum, proposed measures that were intended to increase the productive lifespan and bolster the natural reproduction of slaves. This series of reforms was the buen tratamiento.37 (If the transatlantic trade endured in 1858 when Villaverde began “to revise, or better put, to recast” Cecilia Valdés, as he explains in the novel’s prologue, by the time he completes it in 1879 the importation of African slaves to Cuba had all but ended, according to Thomas.38 To the contrary, Cepero Bonilla and Ortiz report that the Cuban slave trade endured throughout the 1870s, and this view is supported by the convincing logic of the Spanish Abolitionist Society, which declared in 1866 that “while slavery exists all efforts to suppress the slave traffic will prove futile; long and painful experience has proved it.”39 Whichever the case may be, what is beyond question is that the colonialist “ladder of power” that Benítez Rojo has described remained operative, the other components of which were “the Spanish throne, the colonial government of Cuba, Spanish moneylenders [ . . . ], the saccharocracy, the sugar mill.”40 And it is this ladder of power, which gained strength in 1874 with the Bourbon Restoration and whose underlying rung was the ingenio, that is the target of Villaverde’s rehabilitation of buen tratamiento.41)
The shift from artisanal to industrialized sugar production
that took place following the steam engine’s introduction to the island
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in 1818 resulted in the superexploitation of slaves.42 On a mill using steam power, double vacuum pan evaporators, centrifuges, and railway systems, a workday during the zafra, or harvest, might surpass twenty hours, with a day off given every two weeks.43 As bozales, the term applied to recently arrived African slaves, were comparatively inexpensive and readily available for purchase during Cuba’s second slavery, it was less costly for a planter to replace a slave than it was to pay maintenance costs in the form of adequate clothing, food, medical treatment, and housing, or to care for slaves bearing children and newborns.44 The mortality rate among overburdened and poorly treated slaves on an ingenio doubled between the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.45 Having arrived to a sugar factory, a slave could expect to survive only another eight to ten years.46 Whereas planters restocked their dotaciones, or slave crews, with no great difficulty at the turn of the century, this was not the case later. A severe outbreak of cholera in 1833 that killed tens of thousands of slaves, in addition to the constraints that Great Britain exerted on the Atlantic trade, especially after 1835, and other factors mentioned earlier, led to a surge in the price of slaves. Beyond the increased value of their investment, its decreased supply, and the very real possibility of Spain enforcing its several bans on the slave trade, which at times seemed quite likely, other circumstances that saw some creoles proselytize the policy of buen tratamiento were the high incidences of slave suicide on industrialized mills, and a succession of more extensive slave revolts.47 During Cuba’s third slavery, the creole intelligentsia and some sugar producers began to “experiment with new forms of labor organization and new sources of labor.”48 “Yucatecan and Chinese contract laborers, convicts, rented slaves, free day laborers, salaried employees, workers paid by the task, and sharecroppers” were just some of the labor organization schemes that creoles explored.49 These other labor systems were not meant to replace slavery but rather were viewed as complementary to the adapted form of enslavement of buen trato.50 The goal of buen tratamiento was to extend the productive life of rural slaves. It also included measures designed to encourage the rate of slave procreation so that the African trade would be made unnecessary.51 Through this series of reforms, planters intended to minimize labor costs and preserve the institution in the eventuality that Madrid and its colonial authority were to curb the illegal transatlantic trade. The creole intellectuals of this generation had a stake in the planters’ financial and laThe Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 85 ]
bor sourcing divestment from the peninsular merchant through buen tratamiento and slave breeding: their agenda was to win greater civil and political liberties by weakening “the firmest pillar of the opprobrious colonial regime,” as José Luciano Franco has fittingly designated the “slave-trader oligarchy.”52 In the previous chapter, I reviewed Francisco de Arango y Parreño’s policy change on the slave trade. Once the foremost proponent of expanding the trade to Cuba, he became one of its most vocal and powerful critics. Besides calling for an end to the expensive and perilous commerce in African chattel, he was also a leading advocate for the policy of buen tratamiento. In Representación al Rey sobre la extinción del tráfico de negros y medios de mejorar la suerte de los esclavos colo niales (Exposition to the King about the extinction of the slave trade and means to improve the fortune of colonial slaves; 1832), the creole economist argues that slaves should be taught religious principles and practices; that they should have rest, nourishment, clothing, lodging, and necessary assistances; that under no circumstances should they work on Sundays; that the so-called tasks (faenas) and countertasks (contrafaenas) be ended; that they should not be punished in excess; that the necessary decency with females be observed, and that pregnant slaves and new mothers be granted the relief that their situation requires; that the Protectors be especially charged with overseeing all of this, in order to correct careless owners when necessary.53
As this disquisition attests, the sugarocracy’s concern with improving the slaves’ nutrition and clothing, the regulation of working hours, the administration of medical attention, care for pregnant women and newborns, and the provision of a small parcel of land for personal cultivation, called a conuco, among other modifications, arose not out of any humanitarian preoccupation but rather to maximize income and retain the slave system without having to depend on the politically and financially crippling transatlantic trade.54 Saco, in 1845, proves the intellectual reformers of the ensuing generation to be of the same mind, that ending the slave trade and instituting buen tratamiento would preserve slavery, and do so at a lower social and economic cost. In La supresión del tráfico de esclavos africanos en la isla de Cuba exa [ 86 ] The Merchant of Havana
minada con relacion a su agricultura y a su seguridad (Suppression of the African slave trade on the island of Cuba examined in relation to its agriculture and security), Saco celebrates the fact that “slaves have increased without new introductions,” an achievement owing to buen tratamiento: “In general, the annual mortality rate on plantations is less than in times past, as the planters, now better understanding their interests, are persuaded that the way to produce a lot is to treat their slaves well.”55 Two decades later, the project was still much discussed in liberal circles, as Cristóbal Madan’s El trabajo libre y el libre-cambio en Cuba (Free labor and free trade in Cuba; 1864) reveals: “The reduction of the African slave trade and of the consequent ease of replacing labor at a low price, has stimulated proprietors to care for their servants and promote their well-being and comfort.”56 Despite agreeing that a reform of slavery was needed, the so-called enlightened sugar producers were concerned that the publication of laws stipulating buen tratamiento would hinder their rights, or be used by the British to incite Cuba’s slaves to rebel. This worry is present in Arango’s Representación al Rey, quoted above, and echoed by the largescale planters surveyed by Captain-General Gerónimo Valdés in 1841 to inform his slave code, the Reglamento de esclavos (Slave regulations), which was inaugurated in 1843 and abrogated the very next year by Valdés’s replacement, Leopoldo O’Donnell.57 In lieu of a royal decree, Arango suggests instituting a system of financial incentives to recognize and reward those slaveholders who took good care of their human assets.58 With the same goal of effecting a more fiscally responsible set of behaviors in slave owners, other Cuban intellectuals, such as Villa verde, employed literature as their medium.
The eponymous protagonist of Cecilia Valdés is a very lightskinned (read: approximating white standards of beauty) mulata (read: sensual, according to that epoch’s racial thought, and available for sexual exploitation by white males).59 She is courted by Leonardo Gamboa, a white creole whose father, Cándido, is a peninsular slave merchant–cum–sugar mill owner.60 Unbeknownst to the young lovers, Cecilia is the product of an adulterous affair Cándido had with a colored woman and has kept a secret. Leonardo and Cecilia are thus half-siblings—the theme of incest a particular fascination of Cuban abolitionist fiction that has not gone unnoticed and to which we will return.61 Leonardo promises to marry Cecilia, and they consummate The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 87 ]
their relationship. Unsurprisingly, the decadent creole double-crosses his “Venus of the hybrid Caucasian-Ethiopian race” and marries a member of his own race and class, Isabel Ilincheta.62 Cecilia sends her pardo, or mulatto, suitor, José Dolores Pimienta, to get revenge, but Pimienta kills Leonardo rather than Cecilia’s intended target, Isabel. To my way of thinking, this Romantic plot, combined with certain ingredients of Realism, might be read as a mere delivery device for Villaverde to advance buen tratamiento, which he recognized as a precondition for political separation from Spain.63 The promotion of this program of slave labor reform is most explicit in the last third of the novel. Let us frame buen tratamiento as Villaverde does, that is, against the foil of “bad treatment.”64 On December 23, 1830, the Gamboas arrive at their newly industrialized sugar mill La Tinaja.65 Seven slaves have run away in the days leading up to the absentee proprietor’s visit.66 One of the Gamboas’ guests, the priest Don Cándido Valdés (a name that intriguingly combines that of two principal characters and reproduces the author’s own initials), proposes that, as blacks are irrational beings, there is no logical explanation for the slaves’ rebellion. Yet the priest adds to this an observation: “It is nonetheless an odd coincidence that so many blacks, and ones from precisely those plantations that have recently changed their system of milling cane, have all rebelled at the same time. Can it be that those stupid creatures imagined that they would have to work harder because the milling is done with a steam engine instead of milling with oxen or mules? How do we know? It is worth looking into.”67 Villaverde follows through with his quasi-homonymous character’s suggestion and in the following pages looks into the determinants of cimarronaje (self-liberation) on the mechanized sugar mill. With cash derived from his “constant traffic in slaves over many years,” Cándido Gamboa has purchased a “25-horsepower steam engine, recently imported from the United States at a cost of over 20,000 pesos” and a “horizontal sugar mill, also new, that had been assembled there and had cost half that sum.”68 As mentioned above, the industrialization of sugar manufacturing led to increased slave exploitation. It did not do so directly, however. In fact, the new machines reduced both the “the difficulty and complexity of the tasks and of the number of workers required to perform them.”69 But to optimize the escalated processing capabilities of the steam engine and vacuum pan, the num-
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ber of slaves in sugar production’s labor-intensive agricultural division had to be multiplied.70 Accordingly, at La Tinaja there are “three hundred or more field hands” (and doing the math provided by the narrator reveals there to be 341 slaves in the mill).71 In addition to the quantitative transformation of slavery in the plantation’s agricultural operations, industrialization altered its qualitative nature.72 Ortiz discusses how the particular properties of cane necessitate an accelerated rhythm to its processing into sugar: Cut cane begins to ferment and rot in a few days. The operations of cutting, hauling, grinding, clarification, filtration, evaporation, and crystallization must theoretically be carried out one after the other, but without interruption; nearly all of them are going on at the same time in the mill. While one field of cane is being cut, others are being converted into sacks of sugar. And all at top speed. From the time the machete fells the cane until the receptacle of the sugar is closed, there is only a short lapse, a few hours. The grinding season of a plantation lasts months because of the volume of cane, but the conversion of each stalk into sugar is always quick.73
This characteristic of cane, along with world market competition that compelled the maximum possible output from labor, combined with the cheap and easy accessibility of labor replenishment, contributed to the establishment of a form of slavery under which slaves were literally worked to death.74 Without knowing it, then, the priest Valdés correctly signals an epiphenomenon that has gone misrecognized by many besides La Tinaja’s runaway slaves: it was not the machines, in and of themselves, that aggravated the slaves’ travail. Rather, it was the new agro-industrial routine occasioned by technification and sale on the global market that compelled the enlarged rural slave population to toil long hours, throughout most of the year, and for the course of curtailed productive lives.75 The increased hardships resulted in a rise of marronage, or slaves running away. And this particular form of slave labor organization is what is condemned in these chapters of Cecilia Valdés. With the capture of Pedro the Briche, the slave who orchestrates the escape from La Tinaja, the remaining runaway slaves return to
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the mill. Chilala, one of the maroons, explains to Doña Rosa why he fled: “Work, work; eat little; no piece ob lan’; no pig; no woman: get whip, whip, whip.”76 Albeit terse, Villaverde puts into the cimarrón’s mouth the main points of buen tratamiento. Chilala is overworked— “Work, work,” he repeats—alluding to the excessive demands of the industrial work day, in which slaves labored eighteen to twenty hours. As just discussed, several variables related to industrial capitalism led planters to pursue maximal labor productivity through the exhaustive exploitation of their slaves. Chilala also testifies to the fact that no attention is paid to the material conditions that would preserve his health. These practices, advanced by the proponents of buen tratamiento, would have benefited the slave, but merely by coincidence; they were designed to assist the slave owner.77 With the provision grounds that he lacks (“no piece ob lan’ ”) Chilala could have supplemented or even furnished his own alimentation, which would have spared the mill owner a substantial expense.78 Instead, Chilala’s sustenance is purveyed by his master and is clearly deficient; the slave is “extraordinarily emaciated” according to the narrator.79 In addition to nourishment, having a small garden and property in the form of a pig—Chilala objects to having “no pig”—would have further bound the slave to the plantation, decreasing the likelihood of marronage and sabotage.80 In his apologia, Chilala also references the beatings (“get whip, whip, whip”), which are lavished in sadistic excess on this antiidyll and will be discussed below. In his bold rejoinder to Doña Rosa, Chilala also alludes to the scarcity of female slaves on the mill (“no woman”). Earlier, when describing the brutality-filled head count, the narrator comments that there are “30 to 35” female slaves at La Tinaja, thus amounting to about 10 percent of the workforce.81 Villaverde is surely denouncing such sexual imbalance, because more rest, clothes, blankets, less severe castigation, improved nutrition, and all other measures of buen tratamiento would be to no avail if the natural reproduction rate among the slave population were not escalated. The majority of Africans forcibly brought to Cuba during its second slavery were male.82 In these years, when the transatlantic trade provided the colony with a seemingly unending supply of inexpensive labor, planters resisted introducing female slaves to their mills as they were viewed as less profitable and more immoral than males.83 According to the British abolitionist David Turnbull,
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writing toward 1840, “It is notorious that there are individual estates in the island with 600 or 700 negroes upon them, from which the softer sex is entirely excluded.”84 Villaverde may not portray such an extreme at La Tinaja, but at 10 percent female, its disproportion still surpasses the period’s average of 20 percent.85 With the slave population so heavily skewed, natural increase was impossible, and so planters depended on the importation of African-born bozales to renew their slave crews. This circumstance is made clear by the fact that there were only four Cuban-born slaves for every ninety-six brought from Africa in this epoch. It follows that the period also saw children account for less than a mere 3 percent of the slave population.86 Given this situation, one necessary component of the enlightened planters’ and creole intellectuals’ project to breed slaves was to augment the forced ingress of African females.87 Once again, Arango is to be found at the head of reforming slavery, now animating the boost of female African slave imports.88 In addition to his proposals to the Real Consulado on this matter, he went a step further.89 To demonstrate the sugar producers’ error in judging female slaves to be “livestock of low productivity per caput,” Arango exclusively employed women for the harvesting of cane on his mill La Ninfa in the 1820s.90 As Moreno reports, the results were “impressive”—the slave women cut a very respectable daily average of 4.6 tons of cane, and Arango was sure to make these figures public.91 Pedro’s grisly capture and suicide, and the beatings inflicted on La Tinaja’s other slaves, have led more than one literary historian to read Cecilia Valdés as an antislavery novel.92 Quite the opposite: Villaverde is espousing certain adjustments to the slave economy that he and others viewed as beneficial—politically, economically, and socioracially—to their proto-nation. This much is made particularly transparent by Isabel Ilincheta, the novel’s paradigm of enlightened farming and its personification of Cubanía (to be discussed shortly). After witnessing the same catalogue of horrors summarized by Chilala on the plantation, Isabel, with whom the reader is expected to sympathize, rhetorically asks herself: “Was it not in the slaveholder’s interest to preserve or to prolong the life of a slave, living capital? Yes it was, beyond the shadow of a doubt.”93 Even Rosa Gamboa, not the model of buen tratamiento, as her conduct with María de Regla makes clear, knows enough to reject her husband’s disregard for the slaves’ well-being.94 And like Ilincheta, Doña Rosa does not signal humanitarian sentiment, but
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rather her own bottom line. Recognizing the increased hindrances that the British have put on labor renewal, she demands of her husband: “[Y]ou’re going to let him [Liborio, the plantation’s overseer] kill off all the blacks?” “Kill off all the blacks!” Don Cándido repeated, feigning surprise. “He won’t do any such thing, for the simple reason that Africa is full of them.” “There may well be all the blacks in the world there; the thing is that, on account of the English, those who are lost are becoming more and more difficult to replace.”95
Through these mouthpieces, Villaverde frankly expresses the need for labor reform and, perhaps imagining the planter as intended reader, underscores its budgetary rationale. Before exploring the counterpoint to such bad treatment in the form of Ilincheta’s coffee farm, I should add, in passing, one more point regarding the cimarronaje at La Tinaja. Pedro’s capture by the slave hunter Francisco Estévez is an episode based on historical actors bearing the same names, whose feats are recorded in Diario del ran cheador (Diary of a runaway slave catcher), Villaverde’s transcription of a runaway slave catcher’s diary.96 As he explains in a letter to Manuel de la Cruz Fernández from July 9, 1885, Villaverde had hoped to publish a novel based on the diary in order to portray the cimarrón as a specifically Cuban manifestation of Romantic primitivism: “Regarding the Diario del Arranchador, that is a whole other story. I copied it fortyfour years ago with the goal of writing a novel in the style of those of Fenimore Cooper about Indians. I wanted the characters to be slaves and seeing that it was not possible for me to take them out into the public at that time, I left the matter for later and I have grown old and I lack the strength for such an undertaking.”97 In an autobiographical essay, Villaverde adds a few more details to what he conveys in this letter about censorship and his wish to publish an adaptation of Estévez’s diary that adhered to the criteria of literary Americanism: I understood of course that it was useless to undertake that genre of novels in Cuba, because it would be the same as conserving them as manuscripts for a long time. And I did not lack material to write them. At precisely that time I had copied El Diario Oficial del
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Rancheador de Cimarrones, by D. Francisco Estévez, in which there was an inexhaustible mine of bloody and tragic events in which the blacks appear as heroes, or the clans of Scotland. But to write that historical novel, it would have been necessary to convert the runaway slaves into Indians and move the action to a country in which there were Indians, which is something that was repugnant to my ideas about the novel, whose local character I believe to be essential.98
Clearly following Del Monte’s urgings to explore distinctly American themes in a narrative form modeled on the historical romance, Villa verde discusses how he had planned to convert Estévez’s diary into a novel in which the “bloody and tragic events” surrounding the lives of slaves stand in for Fenimore Cooper’s Indians or Walter Scott’s “clans of Scotland.”99 Censorship, however, precluded this project. A half century after trading his literary pursuits for “more lofty deliberations”—those of Cuban separation from Spain—Villaverde decided to compose fiction once more.100 Now unhindered by the Crown’s censors, he finally found an avenue for depicting the “bloody and tragic events in which the blacks appear as heroes,” combining them with another blast from the past, Cecilia Valdés. It is notable that in both his letter to Cruz Fernández and autobiographical essay Villaverde fails to mention abolition as a motivation for his interest in narrating the heroically sentimental escape, capture, and death of the exotic bozal slave. This, I contend, is no oversight. Despite what one might conclude from the secondary literature on Cecilia Valdés, rural slavery does not begin and end on Gamboa’s sugar mill. In the chapters immediately before the scenes of gothic horror at La Tinaja, where slaves are tortured and die in the ghastliest ways, Villaverde introduces its imagined antithesis, Isabel Ilincheta’s coffee farm La Luz. Here slavery is also present, but it is administered with the enlightened practices of buen tratamiento that the farm’s name would suggest. Whereas Fernando Ortiz made tobacco into the benevolent counterpoint against which he outlined sugar production’s maleficence in his esteemed study Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar (Cuban counterpoint of tobacco and sugar; 1940), in the nineteenth century it was coffee that was often inscribed as the privileged inverse to cane. David Turnbull appeals to this other contrapuntal relationship, for exThe Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 93 ]
ample, in his Travels in the West: Cuba; with Notices of Porto Rico and the Slave Trade (1840). The British abolitionist’s travel memoir, published after his return from the West Indies, factored into his appointment as consul in Havana, which stirred the Anglo- and Negrophobia present in and manipulated by several of the texts already discussed above. After visiting a handful of coffee farms and sugar mills during his 1837–1839 voyage, Turnbull finds that “the coffee districts of Cuba, as of most of the other islands, are much more agreeable to the ordinary traveller, and much less offensive to the philanthropist, than the more fertile and more profitable regions where the sugar cane is cultivated.” In large part, this is due to the “ease and lightness” of the slaves’ work on the coffee farm, “which is not to be compared with the toil” required of them by sugar cultivation. Whereas slaves work up to twenty hours a day at the sugar factory, “the more moderate quota of sixteen or perhaps fifteen hours a day are [sic] all that is required, if the owner of the slave be also the proprietor of a coffee plantation.” “The natural consequence” of such grueling hours and tasks performed on the sugar plantation is that “the sugar-making slave, beginning his labours at sixteen or eighteen years of age, has certainly on an average not more than ten years to live,” while “the coffee-picking slave may fairly reckon on twenty-five or thirty years, without ever having endured the same severity of toil or the same intensity of suffering.”101 Don Antonio García, owner of the cafetal Ubajai, informs Turnbull that his slaves enjoyed two meals a day, “one of which consisted of a pound of jerked beef and twelve plantains, the other of a pound of yucas or yams,” rations that, according to the memoirist, “were undoubtedly sufficient, and I should have been delighted to have found them more general in other parts of the island.” Slaves labor fifteen hours per day at Ubajai, and their reported mortality rate is 5 percent, numbers that were much lower than those found on sugar estates, according to both García and Turnbull.102 It is also worth mentioning that Turnbull calculates an initial investment of $6,400 to found a coffee farm.103 At midcentury, Cristóbal Madan considered $300,000 the minimum expenditure required to erect an ingenio, an outlay that set in motion the “neurotically driven” cycle of sugar production and planter debt expansion, and this, I asserted in Chapter 1, was a primary element of nineteenth-century Cuban anti-Semitism’s “multiplier condition.”104 Turnbull was committed to ending the institution of slavery and found in the task work performed on the cafetal “the very best prepara[ 94 ] The Merchant of Havana
tion for freedom, inasmuch as it practically teaches the first principles of prudence and foresight, the application of which it promptly and suitably rewards.”105 Others, whose vested interests were to maintain slavery, also found the cane-coffee opposition useful. Anselmo Suárez y Romero, author of Francisco: El ingenio o las delicias del campo (Francisco: The sugar mill or the delights of the country; 1839) and, lest we forget, owner and administrator of the sugar mill Surinam, extolled the slaves’ good treatment on the coffee farm, which he juxtaposes to their bad treatment on the sugar plantation.106 In Suárez’s costumbrista article “Ingenios” (1840), for example, he sets the slaves’ rigorous, lethal toil on sugar mills against what he might have labeled “the delights of the country,” to borrow from his well-known novel’s subtitle yet without any of the original’s irony: On coffee farms even collecting the coffee is a very simple operation, one that entertains rather than bothers the slaves and is something that even the slave children do as they play; at night they do not stay awake, they pick coffee for a while, and then they go to sleep. When they are not harvesting, pruning the coffee trees and planting seedlings is all the work there is, truly so little and so simple that it is necessary to occupy the slave crew in other tasks that do not pertain to the cultivation of that plant so as to not waste time, like in weeding and sweeping the paths between rows of coffee bushes, trimming trees and fixing up the gardens. But on the sugar mills, maybe because the cultivation of sugar and the production of sugar demand it, the jobs are very different.107
A typical coffee farm of Alquízar, also the location of Ilincheta’s fictional La Luz, is described by Suárez as a bucolic paradise: trees of various types provide shade and, along with myriad flowers, perfume the air. The ecology of the ingenio, on the other hand, is composed of the modern factory’s machines, which pollute the air with their smoke and whose rape of the earth is guilty of causing what Moreno has described as “the death of the forest.”108 In 1840, Del Monte presented several of Suárez’s texts to Robert Richard Madden, the outgoing British superintendent of liberated Africans in Cuba, along with other writings produced by members of the former’s tertulia.109 In conferring this dossier to Madden, Del Monte provided evidence that an incipient Cuban cultural producThe Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 95 ]
tion was able to join in the European conversation. In other words, the portfolio served as confirmation that the island should be more than, as Del Monte put it, “an immense mill to produce sugar, and a monstrous warehouse to sell it,” the purpose slated for it in the imperial economy.110 Certainly, Del Monte’s strategic gift was also meant to contribute fodder, by way of Madden, to the British and Foreign AntiSlavery Society, whose pressure on London to force an end to the transatlantic slave trade had already borne fruit.111 One of the documents in the album, titled “Interrogatorio de Mr. R. R. Madden, absuelto por mí en 17 de septiembre de 1839” (Inquiry by Mr. R. R. Madden, discharged by me on September 17, 1839), consisted of a series of questions drafted by Madden about Cuban slavery and the slave trade and answered by Del Monte. In this interview, both investigator and respondent draw distinctions between the labor relations correlated with the two crops, sugar and coffee: 8. What is the proportion of males to females on sugar mills? 9. And on coffee farms? 10. What is the mortality rate on sugar mills? 11. And on coffee farms? 12. Do births exceed deaths on sugar mills? 13. And on coffee farms?
—3 to 1. —1½ to 1. —8%. —2% —Oh, no! —By a lot.112
We need not take this or any of the above-cited accounts of the comforts enjoyed by slaves held on coffee farms as reflecting reality.113 Nor should the delmontinos’ depictions of esclavos de ingenio be taken at face value, as Sergio Giral’s film El otro Francisco (Cuba, 1974) has taught us.114 But for my purposes here, more pressing than the question of verisimilitude is to recognize that the discursive practice of presenting the coffee farm as sugar’s benign foil was used throughout the century and for an array of ends, and that this Cuban counterpoint is presented by Villaverde to further the anticolonial project embedded within Cecilia Valdés. Leonardo Gamboa and his friend Diego Meneses arrive at Don Tomás Ilincheta’s coffee farm La Luz on December 22, 1830.115 In the tradition of Suárez’s “Ingenios” the paradisiacal terms and imagery with which Villaverde describes the flora quickly pile up: it is discussed
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as an “Alquízar paradise [ . . . ] the garden, there where the Alexandria rosebushes, the Cape jasmines, and the pinks, rival the most beautiful ones that Turkey and Persia boasted of ”; “air always filled with the fragrance of the flowers or fruits found in such abundance round about that charming dwelling”; “La Luz, that beautiful garden that was a replica of the one our earliest forbears lost forever.”116 Clearly, this perfectly sinless “Eden of Alquizar” is diametrically opposed to La Tinaja, an “inferno” in the mind of Isabel.117 The agrarian paradise is presided over by Tomás Ilincheta’s daughter, Isabel.118 Don Tomás explains that Isabel is my steward, cashier, and bookkeeper, and believes that duty comes before devotion. She keeps the accounts of how much coffee is harvested and how much is shelled, sorted, and put in sacks, and how much is sent to Havana. When it is sold she goes over the debits and credits of the moneylender; collects money and pays it out. All just the way a man would. In a word, since the death of my wife, may she rest in peace, my Isabel has taken over the house, the plantation, and all of my business affairs.119
Under Isabel’s enlightened authority, the family farm’s economic system functions with a harmony that mirrors its affinity with the Cuban environment. This extends to her management of labor relations, as well. It is not by way of the whip but through “her philanthropic sentiments” that Isabel wins her slaves’ “submissiveness.”120 Isabel, La Luz’s mayordoma (overseer), interacts with her slave and contramayoral (slave driver) Pedro in a respectful manner that sets in high relief his namesake’s crucifixion at the ingenio, which we will come to in a moment.121 Isabel instructs Pedro not to whip the other slaves, and to allow them to celebrate the holidays while she is away.122 La Luz’s chattel receive the Christian instruction that Gamboa’s slaves do not, which provides them a cognitive schema for accepting their lot, another aspect of buen tratamiento, as Arango’s petition to the king makes clear.123 Through these practices and others, slave children are born on La Luz—put otherwise, it demonstrates a self-sufficient labor system— while Gamboa must restock his labor force with bozales “just arrived from Africa.”124
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If only La Luz were a microcosm of the Cuban rural order. A nation could be built on such a substructure.125 But “the Plantation” stood squarely in its way. The “permanent state of war” that Isabel describes as reigning over the ingenio, “a bloody, cruel, implacable war, of black against white, of master against slave,” led not to Cuban autonomy but to the entrenchment of colonial dependence.126 And it was this particular model of slave production that gained ascendancy with the transition to industrial capitalism.127 This insuperable barrier to the Cuban author’s utopian society is made abject in the novel by infusing its synecdoche, Cándido Gamboa, with notions of Jewishness.
The extratextual field described in Chapter 1 in which Juda-
ized merchants pervaded the Cuban imaginary, serving as a metaphorical index of social crises, certainly influenced Villaverde’s mode of conceptualizing Gamboa’s discursive position in Cecilia Valdés. In this regard, it is pertinent to recall that Villaverde had reviewed his compatriot’s Sab in 1842.128 Just as notably, Villaverde translated William Harrison Ainsworth’s The Miser’s Daughter in 1859. The villainous merchant of Villaverde’s translation, Sr. Alvaro, who is insultingly referred to as “Sr. Avaro” (Mr. Miserly), is said to be “as great a usurer as Shylock.”129 The pseudonym under which he published the translation—Simón Judas de la Paz—as well as the inclusion of other antiSemitic rhetoric in his personal correspondence confirm Villaverde’s acquaintance with dominant Jewish stereotypes.130 Cándido Gamboa’s climb “to the top of the ladder of prosperity” displays the biographical leitmotifs that secured the merchant’s link with Jewishness and had gained wide currency in the nineteenth century: Don Cándido was a businessman rather than a social lion. With little or no culture, he had come to Cuba from the highlands of Ronda while still a young man, and had amassed a fortune thanks to hard work and thrifty habits, and thanks in particular to the good luck that had come his way through engaging in the risky slave trade on the coast of Africa. [ . . . ] [T]he nature of his earlier occupations and the desire to accumulate money that took possession of him once he married a rich Creole girl from one of the oldest noble families of Havana had often kept him away from home.131
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Unmistakably dialoguing with a whole cast of Judaized characters, Villaverde’s deracinated, indigent merchant migrates to Cuba and, through less-than-licit means, marshals the capital required to upgrade his social position by passing into the upper stratum of titled nobility: “Don Cándido Gamboa y Ruiz [is] a person with pretensions to nobility, well on his way to being granted a title and eager to rub elbows with the elite and aristocratic upper crust of Havana. [ . . . ] [He] believes that in the very next mail from Spain he’ll receive the title of Count of La Tinaja or of The House of Gamboa.”132 If the names Gamboa envisions for his awaited title are not as pointed as Críspulo’s in their parody of the bogus ones that were purchased by merchantsturned-planters with such abundance in the nineteenth century, they still suggest the contemptible origin of his wealth. Following the same template as Tapia, Villaverde overlays Gamboa’s class passing with notions of Jewish racial passing that make it all the more repellent. On this matter, other characters unequivocally make Cándido into a Jew. Leonardo suggests a Jewish stain on his father’s lineage: “[Leonardo] laughed for all he was worth when [he found out] that his father was having a family tree drawn up in Spain, with the aim of receiving a title in which there was not a single drop of Jewish or Moorish blood to be seen.”133 The same doubts regarding Cándido’s pureza de sangre are indicated while Leonardo is walking to school with friends Diego Meneses and Pancho Solfa, as the latter comments to Leonardo: “The fact is that your father, just because he’s Spanish, is not free of the suspicion of having mixed blood.”134 Moments later, and in regard to the city’s peninsular merchants, Solfa adds, “The truth is that those Spaniards remind me more of Jews than of gentlemen.”135 Perhaps the strongest blow to Cándido’s masquerade of Old Christian ancestry comes when, enraged by Cándido’s infidelity, Doña Rosa lashes her husband with her mother’s warning: “Daughter, don’t marry a man whose religion [ . . . ] is different from yours.”136 Cues of Cándido’s Jewishness go well beyond the Judaized narrative of the upstart slave merchant and the character’s rather explicit categorization in terms of blood purity. He is persistently racialized by virtue of a cocktail of traditional Christian themes mixed with pseudoscientific racial theory. In the medieval Christian mind, the “idea that the Jews would play a major role as supporters of Antichrist” developed into the “particular link between Jews and the colour red” that we have already seen in the bodies of Otway and Críspulo and that The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 99 ]
is referenced by the renowned Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz.137 The stock image is rehashed in Gamboa’s “ruddy complexion.”138 His pact with the devil is referred to more obviously by several characters in the novel. Madalena Morales, great-grandmother to Cecilia, “crossed herself ” on seeing Cándido “as though she had seen the devil.”139 Cecilia’s grandmother, Josefa, says of Cándido: “Even though we ought not to think badly of anyone, nonetheless, seeing that he might be a saint but might just as readily be a dev . . . (And she crossed herself without finishing the word.) May the Lord be with us.”140 She does the very same when María de Regla asks her the name of Cecilia’s father: “[she] made two crosses with her fingers as if she’d seen the devil.”141 The doorman at the Casa de las Recogidas, where Cecilia is imprisoned toward the novel’s end, refers to Cándido as the “the devil [ . . . ] the Evil One.”142 Cándido too labels himself “the devil” in the text.143 At Gamboa’s sugar mill La Tinaja, the crucifixion of the cimarrón Pedro—“an ebony Christ on the Cross”—further solidifies the merchant’s association with Jewishness.144 It should be recalled that, lamentably, it wasn’t until the Second Vatican Council in 1965 that the church revoked the Jews’ collective responsibility for deicide. The “Jesus Christ Slave” trope, as Villaverde described it in a letter from 1884, was a “radically false character” according to Moreno that figures in several delmontino texts and was expressly tailored to be martyred in order to advance the policy of buen tratamiento.145 The argumentum ad misericordiam belabored the brutal conditions of servitude that, as we have seen, constituted a foundational element of colonialism. It also saw the biblical narrative’s villain figure so prominently in texts where Christ’s Passion functions as metanarrative. In addition to Pedro’s quite literal crucifixion at Gamboa’s mill, the mulatto women who cross paths with Cándido are figuratively crucified, further reinforcing Cándido’s resemblance to Judas. Josefa, whose daughter was seduced by the peninsular merchant, imagines herself as Jesus: “Woe is me! I’ve been doing the stations of the Cross for a very long time now, and I’ve reached Calvary. The only thing that has yet to take place is my crucifixion,” words that are later repeated by the narrator.146 The images relating Josefa to Christ continue as Cecilia bathes her grandmother’s feet: “She immediately proceeded to bathe her grandmother’s feet with no less faith and affectionate humility than the woman who washed the feet of Jesus Christ in Simon’s house.”147 After her grandmother’s death, Cecilia takes over as Christ. Readers learn [ 100 ] The Merchant of Havana
that Valdés’s biological mother was named María (María del Rosario Alarcón)—changed from Susana in an earlier version of Cecilia Val dés—while her wet nurse too is named María (María de Regla).148 The overdetermined Christological references extend to Cecilia’s middle name, María, and to her grandmother’s, Madalena. The biblical associations continue later as Cándido and the municipal magistrate Fernando O’Reilly discuss how best to sequester Cecilia to keep her away from Leonardo. O’Reilly tells Cándido that “the commissioner can be made to keep his mouth shut and be stimulated to proceed with discretion and zeal by placing a few gold coins in his hand,” which recalls the thirty pieces of silver High Priest Caiaphas gives to Judas Iscariot in the biblical narrative.149 Other references that infuse Cándido with notions of Jewishness abound. For example, Leonardo complains that his father has “become more miserly than a Jew [ . . . ]. I don’t know what he’s hoarding so much money for.”150 But at this point, I want to return to Gamboa’s Judaized body, already mentioned above, in order to explore another use of Jewishness in the novel. Beyond his “ruddy complexion,” Cándido’s physiognomy displays what Sander Gilman has called the “central loci of difference in seeing the Jew,” the Jewish nose.151 The narrator describes Cándido’s “large aquiline nose” and Cecilia calls him “that old man with the big nose.”152 It must once again be emphasized that the racial characteristics of Jewishness were seen and known differently by our ancestors than they are today.153 In the nineteenth century, the Jew’s aquiline nose “was not merely a matter of aesthetics,” Gilman explains in his seminal study on the Jew’s racialized body, “but was a clear sign of pathology, of disease.”154 Most expressly, the Jew’s aquiline or hooked nose signaled sexual depravity; its malformation, like that of his penis, was understood to be the result of congenital syphilis.155 In this regard, it is on his Jewish nose that Cándido’s practice of miscegenation is racially marked as beyond the pale of Cubanness. In response to the demographic trend that turned Cuba’s black population into the majority by 1841, creole intellectuals proposed varying models of blanqueamiento to whiten their proto-nation.156 Arango and later Saco, for example, envisioned “miscegenation among the laboring classes so as to lessen, but not eradicate, the racial differences between Cuban workers and the elite that threatened to tear Cuba apart.”157 It was this threat, as we have seen, that was manipulated as a tool of empire. None, however, argued for the sort of hypogamous The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 101 ]
free union (or perhaps coerced union) that Gamboa practices with Cecilia’s mother, María del Rosario Alarcón. As Vera M. Kutzinski has affirmed, “Even though prominent spokesmen of the sugar oligarchy, such as Arango y Parreño, favored racial mixing as a solution to Cuba’s ‘Africantization,’ they hardly thought of recruiting their own families to the cause of ‘whitening.’ ”158 Cuba’s upper classes would not participate in the island’s blanqueamiento, Kutzinski elaborates, as this would threaten a “political order dependent on physiognomy as [a] reliable index of class differences.”159 Yet despite the best efforts of many, external morphology did prove itself an unstable locus of racial difference; by the nineteenth century, “a high degree of racial mixture had taken place which had significantly blurred the visible boundaries between the racial groups,” according to Verena Martinez-Alier.160 Pichardo’s Diccionario endorses Martinez-Alier’s assertion, to offer an example, in its definition of “trigueño” (swarthy, mulatto): “there are some [mulattos] of a color more white than many of the white race.”161 As phenotypic differences grew ever more diffuse, creoles looked to revamp the limits of whiteness by racializing sexuality. Ann Laura Stoler has shown that “the discursive management of the sexual practices of colonizer and colonized was fundamental to the colonial order of things,” not the least component of which being the distribution of colonial as well as imperial subjects into differentiated racial categories.162 Martinez-Alier surveys the racial coding of sexual practices in the context of late colonial Cuba, corroborating that Stoler’s thesis holds true for the Spanish sugar island. With the blurring of physical differences, creoles came to “safeguard their social-cum-racial pre eminence” by affirming their “sexual-cum-racial purity.”163 It is through an optic attentive to this interplay of race and sex that Kutzinski and Jean Lamore have scrutinized the mulata’s “licentious sexuality” in Ce cilia Valdés.164 In what remains of this chapter, I would like to expand this critical discussion beyond the stereotypes of the Afro-Cuban and explore Cándido’s Judaized sexual incontinence as yet another Cuban counterpoint to the white creole subject. Eduardo Esponda’s grim prognosis for society on account of undisciplined mulata and white male sexuality, La mulata: Estudio fisiológico, social y jurídico (1878), is especially significant when we consider its likely influence on Villaverde’s novel.165 Esponda and Villaverde were lifelong friends, and, as indicated by their correspondence, they exchanged and critiqued one another’s work, including Cecilia Valdés.166 [ 102 ] The Merchant of Havana
It is therefore instructive that Esponda’s reproach of Cuban sexual dissolution—like Villaverde’s, I wish to argue—is not limited to its titular object but also condemns the unregulated sexuality of the white male: “The contaminated male sex contaminates the female of our race, and, as the number of courtesans increases, the depravation increases. In all classes we see unmistakable signs of immorality. The contagion continues to spread and it reigns in the elevated circles, in the middle and in the inferiors it is a truly deplorable epidemic.”167 The white male engages in transracial sex and, Esponda asserts, through syphilis-like transmission, infects the white female, who in turn infects her progeny. Esponda makes the same point elsewhere: “The Island of Cuba is a forge of dissolution, and each individual works, without noticing it, on the misfortune of his kin and of himself.”168 According to La mulata, the white male’s unmanaged sexuality has consequences that extend beyond himself, to his family, and to society as a whole.169 Cándido’s interracial sex jeopardizes his own whiteness, as well as that of his creole children. Rather than attending to the practices that would have fortified his son’s racial health, those that, in Foucault’s words, would have seen his body “cared for, protected, cultivated, and preserved from the many dangers and contacts, to be isolated from others so that it would retain its differential value; and this, by equipping [it] with—among other resources—a technology of sex,” Cándido orchestrates Leonardo’s contamination: “his conduct had not been exemplary or worthy of serving Leonardo as a guide, as Doña Rosa has led us to understand at the end of Chapter VII. For some reason, perhaps because of his supine ignorance, he did not concern himself with the upbringing of his children, much less with their morals.”170 Not only does Cándido father an illegitimate, racially infectious daughter, and then obscure his own, and thus his son’s, kinship with her, but he fails to instill in Leonardo the modes of conduct around which Cuban whiteness was affirmed. Leonardo’s uneducated sexuality leads him to replicate the sins of his father, with tellingly disastrous consequences. Cuban social and scientific treatises of the nineteenth century often maintained that the education received by children within the home constituted the foundation of a virtuous nation.171 Such a synecdochic equivalence suggests that the Spaniard Cándido’s failure to occupy himself with his creole progeny’s racial integrity could be read as a mirroring of the dangers posed to the colony by its guardian’s perverted practices, that is, Spain’s fomenting the illegal slave trade, which The Jewish Escape Hatch from Cuba Impossible [ 103 ]
inflated the island’s black population.172 Madrid’s unethical efforts to retain the Pearl of the Antilles by means of sustaining an oversized slave labor force on the island are allegorized by Villaverde in the mismanagement of the Spanish slaver’s “home environment, childrearing practices, and sexual arrangements.”173 Rather than take measures to redress the “reprehensible proximities” that have compromised his creole offspring’s racial purity, Cándido’s immoral transactions result in Leonardo’s incestuous contact (too intimate and unhealthy) with the racial Other and ultimately in his death.174 But Villaverde’s condemnation of miscegenation is not merely a metaphor.175 White male sexual irrationality threatened to “collapse” Cuban racial hierarchies into an “undifferentiated field.”176 To avoid this eventuality, Villaverde presents a pedagogy of desire that affirms the “differential value” of white, Cuban bodies contra both Cecilia’s and Cándido’s racialized sexualities.177 As Žižek has explained, “the basic trick of anti-semitism is to displace social antagonism into antagonism between the sound social texture, social body, and the Jew as the force corroding it, the force of corruption.”178 In paraphrasing a rhetorical question posed by the Slovenian philosopher, we might ask how Villaverde accounts for the distance between his desired society and the factual colonialist reality. “The answer is, of course, the Jew: an external element, a foreign body introducing corruption into the sound social fabric.”179 Thus it is not a Cuban nation that pairs white liberty and black slavery itself that is structurally impossible, but rather that it is blocked by the Judaized merchant.180
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Conclusion In the nineteenth century, the rise of industrial capitalism, a
world economy, and imperial liberalism dramatically transformed Cuban social, commercial, and political structures. Long-established values were supplanted, once seemingly impenetrable barriers breached, and formerly unambiguous distinctions blurred. It is the underlying proposition of this book that the metaphorical Jew was a primary site on which creoles sought “to fight the world’s contingency, opacity, uncontrollability.”1 Through a “logic of metaphoric-metonymic displacement,” the Judaized merchant came to be viewed as “an intruder who introduces from outside disorder, decomposition and corruption of the social edifice,” or to put it otherwise, as the principal cause for the creole social utopia’s failure.2 As one might imagine, Cuba’s merchants were none too pleased to be tarred with this term of opprobrium, nor to be blamed for societal failure in toto. They rejected both in a polemic that took place in August and September 1882 between the editors of two Havana-based journals.3 The article “Cada cual en su puesto” (Each in his place), published on August 18 in the peninsular-bourgeoisie-bankrolled La Voz de Cuba, defends its faction against creole accusations “of having carried out pharisaical persecutions against them.” After presenting the case that creole planters and intellectuals of prior generations were themselves the ones responsible for spawning the slave institution that was now viewed as a millstone hung around Cuba’s neck, the article’s author dares the creole reader to continue to view himself a victim of Judaized persecution: “go ahead, suppose yourself a victim of pharisaical persecutions.”4 The creole response “La verdad” (The truth), published on August 22 in the pro-autonomy journal El Triunfo, whose editor in chief was Ricardo del Monte, reviews the actions taken by the reformers of the 1830s against the slave trade and in favor of white
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colonization, and in an early adulatory use of the designation classifies them as abolitionists: “In that time, the men that guided the enlightened thought of the country, those like Luz, Saco, and Delmonte, were known abolitionists, and for their opinions they suffered more than a few difficulties.”5 Despite Ricardo del Monte’s journal’s defense of his uncle’s circle of creole reformers, and “by extension, the creole autonomists of the 1880s,” as Ghorbal signals, the response of La Voz de Cuba, penned on September 7 by its pro-Spanish editor, is straightforwardly accurate: “back then there were no abolitionists.”6 Still, the myth that Ricardo del Monte’s publication helps to inaugurate continues to hold sway among some Cubanists. Even those who recognize the unprepossessing facts reviewed by La Voz de Cuba still side with El Triunfo when it comes to creole literary production. A more polished illustration of this tendency is Ileana Rodríguez’s “Romanticismo literario y liberalismo reformista: El grupo de Domingo Delmonte” (Literary Romanticism and Reformist Liberalism: The Domingo Delmonte group). As the article title indicates, Rodríguez suggests there is an incoherence between Del Monte’s politico-economic posture and the quasi-Romantic literary productions of which he was patron. According to Rodríguez, it is only with regard to the latter that Del Monte might be considered in any way liberal; in the realm of political economy, he and his generation practiced something closer to conservatism, a consequence of their “desiring political and economic liberties for themselves, but fearing them for slaves.”7 The end result is the tepid Romanticism of the abolitionist genre on one hand, and the political and economic reformism of prerevolutionary Cuban intellectuals on the other: “Such is the problem, briefly formulated, of the relationship between the literary Romantic school and a political posture that in turn of the century Cuba we can only badly call liberal.”8 As mentioned, Rodríguez’s article represents one major line of thought in a century-long struggle to square the two pictures of the nineteenth-century Cuban intelligentsia appearing, for example, in the exchange between La Voz de Cuba and El Triunfo. The other dominant approach to reconciling the illusorily paradoxical literary and politico-economic projects has been simply to sweep untidy facts under the historical rug.9 Contrary to these two tendencies, I have endeavored to offer a more nuanced approach to Antillean ideas regarding liberalism, labor, and aesthetics that finds harmony between [ 106 ] The Merchant of Havana
the allegedly discontinuous extraliterary concerns and belletristic pursuits of the white middle and upper classes.10 To this end, I have disputed the straightforward identification of these texts as “antislavery,” and the discursive parameters of the binary proslavery and antislavery itself. The preceding chapters, moreover, should demonstrate there to be no tension between Cubans’ transition to the new conceptual terrain of liberal political economy and their continued support for coerced labor; in fact, it was precisely the opposite.11 If Arango’s Discurso first “re-conceptualizes slave labor within the framework of free trade, individual self-interest, efficient management, and systematic technological innovation”—a text that, as Dale Tomich has instructed, played a decisive role in ushering in Cuba’s second slavery—this framework was not discarded during its third slavery, only modified.12 The truth of the matter is that authentic liberalism did not merely tolerate slavery but rather was complicit in it.13 Indeed, were peninsular and Antillean liberals to agree on anything, it was that “people of color [were] entities of an inferior moral status, with a diminished schedule of rights,” the key claim of the “racial liberalism” that Charles Mills has identified.14 The political, economic, and artistic commitments of nineteenthcentury creole liberals were of a piece, and any calls to remedy the slaves’ condition were clear instances of what Derrick Bell has identified as the “interest-convergence principle” at work.15 The spurious oppositions liberalism-racism and proslavery-antislavery are two instances of the Manichaean pattern that has become axiomatic in Cuban cultural studies and that I have challenged in the pages above. In this regard, The Merchant of Havana seems, at a glance, to go far afield of exploring the textual representation of the Jew and the broader concerns that were negotiated through this figure in nineteenth-century Cuban culture. Yet it is by recuperating the Jew’s disavowed presence that I hope to provide a different lens through which to reread the Cuban abolitionist genre and rethink many of the critical convictions that have been adhered to it.16 Among the stubborn modes of thought that this book calls into question, the isolation of anti-Semitism from antiblack racism is, to my way of thinking, the most significant. Toward this end, The Mer chant of Havana cuts across Latin American, Jewish, and critical race studies as it responds to the call for a “new kind of comparative thinking” from Michael Rothberg, with whom I share the goal of “opening up the separate containers of memory and identity that buttress comConclusion [ 107 ]
petitive thinking and becoming aware of the mutual constitution and ongoing transformation of the objects of comparison.”17 The need for an approach recognizing the notional links between the “slaves and monsters” that creoles created in order to become (white, Cuban) men is validated by the current configuration of Latin American cultural studies, in which “issues of racial, sexual, and economic difference have become central,” and yet, as Erin Graff Zivin observes, “little has been written about representations of ‘Jewishness’ in the Latin American literary imaginary.”18 Relatedly, The Merchant of Havana aims to expand the horizons of Jewish studies beyond its traditionally Judaeoand Eurocentric field of vision.19 On this point, I concur with Edward Said, who declared it “an inadmissible contradiction [ . . . ] to build analyses of historical experience around exclusions”—and how much more so when the historical experiences in question are themselves ones of exclusion.20 But the perils of exclusivist disciplinarity go well beyond avoiding contradiction, no matter how repugnant; as Cheyette, Gilroy, Bauman, and others have made clear, the more damaging repercussions of the particularist approach have to do with implicitly reaffirming essentialized group identities.21 And by no means is this the only harmful upshot to academic siloing.22 In short, the comparative inquiries made in this book point to discursive interchange between the racial categories “Jew” and “AfroCuban” in late colonial Cuba. At that historical conjuncture, concerns over the permeability of borders and categories gained urgency. The in-between positions occupied by the Jew and the mulatto in creole thought made them particularly well-suited symbolic vehicles to represent and battle modernity’s horrifying ambivalence.23 Another locus of profound creole anxiety in late colonial Cuba was the island’s slaves, whether black or mulatto, whose population had ballooned tenfold, from 44,333 in 1775 to 436,495 in 1841.24 Many anticipated the island’s Africanization with profound dread, a black peril that was subject to political exploitation by both sides of the aisle and from either side of the Atlantic.25 Given their particular goals, these projects were designed to either exacerbate or mollify Cuban Negrophobia, and they often mobilized the figural Jew to do so. I have attempted to trace these dynamics in case studies of some of the period’s most principal works. In Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab, the proteophobia surrounding mulattos and Jews is manipulated toward protecting creole material and social wealth. The novel plays [ 108 ] The Merchant of Havana
on Negrophobia, which is energized by Judaeophobia, to the same effect. To throw off their shackles, the novel’s black slaves—“reduced to the non-subjectivized background”—“might only need to hear one voice which cries out to them ‘You are men!’ ” as Sab exclaims, and it is the Judaized merchants who push the racially unstable hero toward being that voice.26 Whereas Sab looks to excite social phobias, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera ventures to revise the conceptual racial landscape in his play La cuarterona. Toward the goal of winning liberal reforms for the Spanish Antilles, the playwright takes aim at two pillars of colonial tyranny, Cuban fears of slave rebellion and the peninsular merchants’ domination of the labor and credit markets. This politico-racial project is premised on swapping Judaeophobia for Negrophobia. If Gomez de Avellaneda’s and Tapia’s works elide the brutal conditions of rural slavery, this isn’t the case in Cirilo Villaverde’s famous novel, which has led many to proclaim its abolitionist bona fides. Yet it is a particular form of labor organization and renewal—the one blocking Cuban autonomy—that is condemned in Cecilia Valdés, while another, buen tratamiento, is celebrated. This reproach is coproduced in the novel by way of the black slaves’ Christ-like martyrdom and the slave merchant– cum–planter’s Judaization. Beyond smothering Cuban independence, Cándido Gamboa’s illicit transactions, both commercial and sexual, have also destabilized Cuban whiteness. His mulata offspring is one visible sign of his “white fall from grace”; others are inscribed on his Jewish body.27 In the keynote address of the Universal Races Conferences (London, 1911), where W. E. B. Du Bois was in attendance, Felix von Luschan recited that “God created the white man and God created the black man, but the Devil created the mulatto.”28 In Cuban abolitionist fiction, “the Devil [that] created the mulatto” often appeared in the guise of a Jew. What is more, an altogether different sort of hybridity from the one that Luschan had in mind also took place in the field of nineteenth-century Cuban cultural production. This other racial mixture resulted from the dialectical structure of knowledge regarding Jews and Afro-Cubans in the abolitionist archive.
Conclusion [ 109 ]
Notes Introduction John George F. Wurdemann, Notes on Cuba (Boston: James Munroe, 1844), 82. Although I remind the reader that race is a social invention, I do not italicize racial categories for the same reasons as those specified by Matthew Frye Jacobson in Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1998), ix–x. 2. Wurdemann, Notes, 166. 3. Esteban Pichardo y Tapia, Diccionario provincial casi razonado de vozes y frases cubanas (La Habana: Impr. El Trabajo, 1875), 216; “La persona irreligiosa o desmoralizada, impía. El vulgo suele tambien llamar Judios por menosprecio a los Extrangeros.” It was Domingo Del Monte’s desire that a dictionary of Cuban provincialisms be produced, and Pichardo, in the words of Del Monte, “took advantage of the idea, and published his respectable work” (Domingo Del Monte, Centón epistolario, 4 vols. [La Habana: Imagen Contemporánea, 2002], 1: 208 n11); “aprovechó, entonces, la idea, y publicó su apreciable trabajo.” 4. Dale Tomich, Through the Prism of Slavery: Labor, Capital, and World Economy (Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), 93; see also 133. Hugh Thomas describes Cuba’s entrance into the world economy in similar terms: “Cuba was thus becoming dependent on the world market, not only in respect of sugar prices but also in respect of both capital and labour” (Cuba; or, The Pursuit of Freedom [New York: Da Capo, 1998], 66; see also 73–74). 5. I am borrowing from Stuart Hall’s “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance,” in Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (Paris: UNESCO, 1980), 305–45. 6. My conceptualization of anti-Semitism is fundamentally informed by Zygmunt Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2000). This sentence is instructed by Bauman’s contention that “the Jews were caught in the most ferocious of historical conflicts: that between the pre-modern world and advancing modernity. The conflict found its first expression in the overt resistance of the classes and strata of the ancien régime about to be uprooted, disinherited and ploughed out of their secure social locations by the new social order which they could not but perceive as a chaos” (Modernity 1.
[ 111 ]
and the Holocaust, 45–46). Earlier he writes: “For most members of society, the advent of modernity meant the destruction of order and security; and once again, the Jews were perceived as standing close to the centre of the destructive process. Their own rapid and incomprehensible social advancement and transformation seemed to epitomize the havoc visited by advancing modernity upon everything familiar, habitual and secure” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 45). Rosemary R. Ruether discusses these processes along similar lines: The processes of emancipation coincided with traumatic changes in European society in the revolutionary era which dissolved the old Christian order for secular, liberal industrialized society. Thus the processes through which Jews entered mainstream society also created a traumatic reaction in those classes—clerics, landholders, and lowermiddle-class artisans—who were deeply threatened by the new secular industrial society. The secular Jews were hardly the creators of these new forces. [ . . . ] Yet they were concentrated in urban areas and in professions that made them highly conspicuous. As the beneficiaries of secularism, the secular Jews became the symbolic representatives of the dissolution of Christendom. (“The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism,” in The Persisting Question: Sociological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, ed. Helen Fein [Berlin: De Gruyter, 1987], 43–44)
7. Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (New York: Routledge, 1994), 56: “An alternative approach is to think of racial formation processes as occurring through a linkage between structure and representation. Racial projects do the ideological ‘work’ of making these links. A racial project is simultaneously an interpretation, representation, or explanation of racial dynamics, and an effort to r eorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines” (italics in original). Bauman writes of the Jew’s “selective fitness as a vehicle” for “anti-modern emotions” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 61). Erin Graff Zivin’s The Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2008) has also been instructive, especially her contention that “the Jewish other [ . . . ] serves as a metaphor for a completely separate preoccupation” (20). Later she writes of the Jewish figure as a “malleable signifier, one that is infused with meaning according to the necessities of the text” and how “the ‘Jew’ became a convenient figure through which political, financial, and cultural shifts could be debated” (56–57, 75). I borrow the term “figurative Jew” and its synonyms from Graff Zivin, and I concur with her rationale for employing such terms:
[ 112 ] Notes to Page 2
I tend to favor the use of the term “figurative Jew” (as well as “rhetorical,” “symbolic,” or “imaginary,” though these terms should not be read in a Lacanian sense) to refer not (only) to the human being who calls himself a Jew (or is called a Jew) but also to the signifier “Jew,” which exists as a result of our imaginings, creations, and anxieties. That is, while the “figurative Jew” is related to “real” Jews (a problematic relationship that I outline below), I would like to center my discussion on the creative process of imagining “Jewishness,” whether by Jews or non-Jews. (The Wandering Signifier, 180 n6)
José F. Buscaglia-Salgado is right to point out that the “creole and mulatto are not mutually exclusive terms racially or otherwise” (Undoing Empire: Race and Nation in the Mulatto Caribbean [Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003], 194). For clarity’s sake, however, I will be using these terms on the whole as if they were not overlapping. 8. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 128. Elsewhere, Bauman writes of the Jew as “an entity that defied cognitive clarity” and of “Jewish incongruity” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 37, 40). My thesis follows Bauman’s closely: “It is the assertion of this study that the active or passive, direct or oblique involvement in the intense concerns of the modern era with boundary-drawing and boundary-maintenance was to remain the most distinctive and defining feature of the conceptual Jew. [ . . . ] His was a multi-dimensional unclarity and the very multi-dimensionality was an extra cognitive incongruence unencountered in all other (simple, because confined, isolated and functionally specialized) ‘viscous’ categories spawned by boundary conflicts” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 41; see also 41–56). I will pursue this thesis, adapted to the Cuban context, in greater depth in Chapter 1. 9. Daniel Boyarin and Jonathan Boyarin, “Diaspora: Generation and the Ground of Jewish Identity,” Critical Inquiry 19.4 (Summer 1993): 697, also quoted in Sarah Hammerschlag, The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010), 10; Zygmunt Bauman, “Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew,” ed. Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998), 148. In a moment and in Chapter 1, I will discuss Bernd Marin’s argument that anti-Semitism can and does occur without Jews (“Antisemitism before and after the Holocaust: The Austrian Case,” in Jews, Antisemitism, and Culture in Vienna, ed. Ivar Oxaal, Michael Pollak, and Gerhard Botz [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987], 218). On this point, see also Sander L. Gilman, The Jew’s Body (New York: Routledge, 1991), 6; Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 9, 14–16. 10. Linda Nochlin, “Starting with the Self: Jewish Identity and Its Representation,” in The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity, ed. Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), 10.
Notes to Page 2 [ 1 13 ]
11. I borrow the concept of the figurative Jew as cypher from Frank Felsenstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660–1830 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1995), xvi, 157, 158, 297. 12. Marin, “Antisemitism,” 218–19. Marin’s study is also cited in Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 78. 13. Margalit Bejarano describes a Jewish “absence” from Cuba until the end of Spanish colonialism (“The Jewish Community of Cuba: Between Continuity and Extinction,” Jewish Political Studies Review 3.1/2 [Spring 1991]: 116–17). 14. This last question paraphrases one that Bryan Cheyette asks: “What is at stake when we rename antisemitism ‘Orientalism’ (or vice versa) or when we write of the history of racism in ‘the West’ without including antisemitism or other forms of racism not necessarily reduced to the issue of skin colour or colonial domination?” (“White Skin, Black Masks: Jews and Jewishness in the Writings of George Eliot and Frantz Fanon,” in Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson, Benita Parry, and Judith Squires [New York: St. Martin’s, 1997], 108). 15. Quoted in Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2009), 7; and in Michael Rothberg, “Between Paris and Warsaw,” in Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe, ed. Uilleam Blacker, Alexander Etkind, and Julie Fedor (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 88. 16. This discussion is especially indebted to Cheyette, who writes: “My fear is that by excluding this historical formation from within imperial culture, many post-colonial theorists help to replicate the very oppositions that they are working against” (“White Skin,” 124). It is also informed by Bauman’s argument that “exiling the Jewish fate to a specialist branch of history and eliminating it from the mainstream historical narrative diminishes the interpretive potential of the latter. I propose now that the charge is valid both ways; namely, that cutting the study of antisemitism off from the flow of universal history and confining it to the exploration of the internal history of the Jews and its immediate context impoverishes, perhaps even bars, the understanding of Judaeophobia” (“Allosemitism,” 144). This passage has also benefited greatly from Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus, “Introduction: Some Methodological Anxieties,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew” (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998), 2–3, and expressly with their contention that “Most perniciously, ‘political correctness’ has distinguished between victims of antisemitism and racism as if they exist in two hermetically sealed historical settings” (2); Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, vii–6; Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 1–29; and Paul Gilroy, “Afterword: Not Being Inhuman,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew” (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998), 287–90. Here, Gilroy explores “what can no longer be regarded as discrepant histories assigned unproblematically to their various ethnic victims” (290). 17. Cheyette and Marcus, “Introduction,” 2; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic:
[ 114 ] Notes to Pages 2–3
Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1993), 32; Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 3. See also Cary Nelson and Dilip P. Gaonkar, Disciplinarity and Dissent in Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 1996). 18. “What is at stake here, however, is less to do with Jewish history as such—nor even with the belated acknowledgement that antisemitism is also a part of the Western Judeo-Christian tradition—but much more to do with challenging the fixed binaries of black and white, Jew and gentile, East and West” (Cheyette, “White Skin,” 123–24). See also David Theo Goldberg, Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993), 179. 19. Cheyette and Marcus: “mainstream cultural studies have, routinely, written out the question of Jewishness” (“Introduction,” 3). Rothberg writes: “Rather, these examples alert us to the need for a form of comparative thinking that, like memory itself, is not afraid to traverse sacrosanct borders of ethnicity and era” (Multidirectional Memory, 17). Here I also follow Bryan Cheyette’s calls for “a new comparative approach across Jewish and postcolonial histories and literatures (Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing and the Nightmare of History [New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2014], xii). 20. Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 42. See also 18: “Far from being situated—either physically or discursively—in any single institution or site, the archive of multidirectional memory is irreducibly transversal; it cuts across genres, national contexts, periods, and cultural traditions.” Cheyette’s work, and especially his Diasporas of the Mind, has been of great benefit here. 21. Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995), 207. 22. Cheyette and Marcus, “Introduction,” 2. Again, Stoler’s work has been influential. She writes, for instance, of how a cultivation of the European self (and specifically a Dutch bourgeois identity) was affirmed in the proliferating discourses around pedagogy, parenting, children’s sexuality, servants, and tropical hygiene: micro-sites where designations of racial membership were subject to gendered appraisals and where “character,” “good breeding,” and proper rearing were implicitly raced. These discourses do more than prescribe suitable behavior; they locate how fundamentally bourgeois identity has been tied to notions of being “European” and being “white” and how sexual prescriptions served to secure and delineate the authentic, firstclass citizens of the nation-state. (Race, 11)
23. Jean-Paul Sartre, “Preface,” The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon (New York: Grove, 1963), 26; also quoted in Cheyette, “White Skin,” 119. 24. “This project takes dissimilarity for granted, since no two events are ever alike, and then focuses its intellectual energy on investigating what it means to invoke connections nonetheless” (Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 18).
Notes to Pages 3–4 [ 115 ]
25. Fernando Ortiz famously discussed Cuba’s social mixture in terms of the ajiaco, a Cuban stew. See Jill Lane, Blackface Cuba, 1840–1895 (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2005), 38–39. 26. “Concomitantly, as the diseased prostitute became the symbolic receptacle for all that was nasty, immoral, and black, the regulation campaign likely facilitated the erasure of race from the Liberals’ political discourse about workingmen” (Eileen J. Suárez Findlay, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870–1929 [Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2003], 109). 27. Eli Faber, Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (New York: New York UP, 1998), 6. 28. Harold Brackman, Ministry of Lies: The Truth behind the Nation of Islam’s “The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews” (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1994), 25. See Seymour Drescher, “Jews and New Christians in the Atlantic Slave Trade,” in Jews and the Civil War: A Reader, ed. Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn (New York: New York UP, 2010), 51–86; Seymour Drescher, “The Role of Jews in the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” in Strangers and Neighbors: Relations Between Blacks and Jews in the United States, ed. Maurianne Adams and John H Bracey (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1999), 105–15; Faber, Jews; Saul S. Friedman, Jews and the American Slave Trade (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1998). 29. Juliet Steyn, “Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist: Fagin as a Sign,” in The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity, ed. Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), 45; Juliet Steyn, The Jew: Assumptions of Identity (London: Cassell, 1999), 13. 30. Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440– 1870 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), 95. Here I paraphrase Brackman, who writes: “The truth is that antisemites blamed the evils of human bondage on Jews for a thousand years before the first slave ship landed at Jamestown in 1619” (Ministry, 41). 31. Brackman, Ministry, 41–43. 32. Brackman, Ministry, 41. 33. Hugh Thomas explains that Spanish merchants hoped to win control of the lucrative trade by exaggerating the extent of crypto-Judaism among Portuguese New Christians (The Slave Trade, 163). Thus, at a time when the Portuguese dominated the slave trade, “the sweeping equation of ‘Portuguese’ and ‘Jew,’ ” according to Seymour Liebman, “was an antisemitic ploy used by Spanish officials and traders to stigmatize non-Spanish economic competitors” (quoted in Brackman, Ministry, 48). It was not only among the Spanish that Portuguese slavers were demonized as Jews; Thomas reports that it was common among the British as well (The Slave Trade, 154). The church also had interests in the trade and therefore the economic incentive to locate a specious crypto-Judaism among New Christian slave traders. For this reason, the Inquisition, in the words of one inquisitor, “fabricated Jews like the mint coins money” (quoted in Néstor Rivero Silva, Imperio tricéfalo petrolífero cor-
[ 116 ] Notes to Pages 4–6
porativo (Inglaterra, Estados Unidos e Israel) [Buenos Aires: Dunken, 2005], 312); “fabricaba judíos como la casa de la moneda acuñaba monedas.” Richard Gray, “The Papacy and the Atlantic Slave Trade: Lourenço da Silva, the Capuchins and the Decisions of the Holy Office,” Past and Present 115 (May, 1987): 62. See also J. M. Lenhart, “Capuchin Champions of Negro Emancipation in Cuba, 1681–1685,” Franciscan Studies 6 (1946): 195–217. Gray writes along the same lines in his study of Lourenço da Silva’s petitions to Rome: “Shrewdly the petition mobilized religious and racial prejudice by mentioning that some of these Christian slaves were even purchased and held by ‘occult Jews’ ” (“The Papacy,” 65). The two defenses appear in their entirety in José Tomás López García, Dos defensores de los esclavos negros en el siglo XVII: Francisco José de Jaca y Epifanio de Moirans (Caracas: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, 1982). The quote is found on 130. Quoted in López García, Dos defensores, 188; “se los vende después de haber recibido el bautismo lo mismo a judíos que a heréticos o cristianos, católicos, paganos, infieles. No se preocupan de nada de esto. De donde, pues, se concluye que los judíos poseen públicamente a esclavos cristianos contra el derecho eclesiástico, como pude verlo con mis propios ojos; y me presentaron sus quejas los siervos cristianos porque su señor de religión judía no les permitía a ellos acudir al templo ni oir misa.” Quoted in López García, Dos defensores, 225; “ésta sería recta intención,” “manos de judíos.” Francisco de Armas y Céspedes, De la esclavitud en Cuba (Madrid: T. Fortanet, 1866), 12; “El fundador del pueblo judío era propietario de esclavos, y la ley de Moisés nos dá á conocer las circunstancias características de la servidumbre en ese pueblo. Los siervos hebreos se obtenian por compra, pudiendo vender el padre libre á sus hijos, algunas veces para favorecer propósitos impuros en el comprador.” De Armas y Céspedes, De la esclavitud, 24; “Tal era la opinion casi unánime entre los hombres, cuando el cristianismo empezó á esparcir por todas partes su benéfica doctrina. Desde luego se comprende que no entraba en el propósito de la Iglesia católica destruir por medios rápidos y violentos la institucion de la esclavitud. Sólo por influencias puramente morales debia comenzarse á combatir la servidumbre.” De Armas y Céspedes, De la esclavitud, 27–28; Para asegurar la tranquilidad de la conciencia, y para poner coto á los abusos que cometian los judíos en el comercio de esclavos, el concilio 3.0 de Orleans, en 538, prohibió devolver á los judíos los esclavos refugiados en las iglesias, bien porque los amos les exigiesen cosas contrarias á la religion, ó bien por el mal trato. El 4.0 de Orleans, en 541, no sólo mandó observar lo precedente, sino que castigó con la pérdida de todos sus esclavos al judío que pervirtiera á un esclavo cristiano. El
Notes to Pages 6–8 [ 11 7 ]
1.0 de Macon, en 581, prohibió á los judios adquirir esclavos cristianos, y respecto de los que ya poseian permitió á cualquier cristiano rescatarlos pagando doce sueldos al dueño judío. El 3.° de Toledo, en 589, dictó la misma prohibicion, dando libertad gratuita al esclavo inducido al judaismo ó circundado por un judío. El 4.° de Toledo, en 633, prohibió enteramente á los judíos tener esclavos cristianos. El de Reims, en 625 ó 630, prohibió vender esclavos cristianos á gentiles ó judíos, so pena de nulidad; prohibicion reiterada en carta del Papa Gregario III en 731, y en el concilio de Ciptines en 743. El de Chalons, en 650, prohibió vender esclavos cristianos fuera del territorio comprendido en el reino de Clodoveo. Y el 10.° de Toledo, en 656, reprendió severamente á los clérigos que vendian sus esclavos a los judíos.
42. Sibylle Fischer in Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2004), 108. 43. Fischer, Modernity, 108. 44. This review follows closely that of Fischer in Modernity, 108. 45. Vera M. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets: Race and the Erotics of Cuban Nationalism (Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1993); Anna Brickhouse, Transamerican Literary Relations and the Nineteenth-Century Public Sphere (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004); Fischer, Modernity. 46. Lorna Valerie Williams, The Representation of Slavery in Cuban Fiction (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1994), 125. Jacobson discusses the link between racial “conception and perception” in Whiteness (see 138–39), a conversation to which I will return in Chapter 1. 47. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 150–51. 48. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, “Encuentro de amigos,” La Siempreviva: Revista Literaria 2 (2007): 10–11. 49. An 1843 charcoal portrait study by Joseph-Benoit Guichard depicts Del Monte and Gómez de Avellaneda together (Céspedes, “Encuentro de amigos,” see inside cover of journal and page 10). Another of Gómez de Avellaneda’s acquaintances was José María Heredia, a friend of Del Monte (Catherine Davies, “Introduction,” Sab, by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda [New York: Manchester UP, 2001], 4; Urbano Martínez Carmenate, Domingo Del Monte y su tiempo [La Habana: Ediciones Union, 1997], 76–77). Catherine Davies explains that “in the 1830s, during Avellaneda’s youth, the pro-abolition journalist and revolutionary Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros, a friend of the abolitionist Del Monte Circle, published numerous articles in the Puerto Príncipe press that divulged, albeit indirectly, separatist ideas” (“Introduction,” 4). 50. Doris Sommer, Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (Berkeley: U of California P, 1991), 117. 51. Pierre-André Taguieff considers the mulatto’s “overcategorization” in The Force of Prejudice: On Racism and Its Doubles, trans. and ed. Hassan Melehy (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2001), 219. Bauman: “It was, on the other
[ 118 ] Notes to Pages 8–10
hand, most intimately related to the intensity of anxieties and tensions provoked or generated by the collapse of the ancien régime and the advent of the modern order. The old securities disappeared, while the new ones were slow to emerge and unlikely to attain the solidity of the old. Age-long distinctions were ignored, safe distances shrank, strangers emerged from their reserves and moved next door, secure identities lost durability and conviction” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 40). 52. Here I borrow from Jacobson: “Thus did the racialized legalisms and the legalistic racialisms of both claimants and the courts conspire to protect property-in-whiteness and the core principle of whites’ supreme claim to fitness for self-government” (Whiteness, 240). This discussion is also informed by Cheyette’s analysis of Edward Said’s “inbetweenness” and the “racial inbetweenness” of Philip Roth’s Jewish characters (Diasporas of the Mind, 20, 178). I have also benefitted from Buscaglia-Salgado’s discussion of “the mulatto as the master of the in-between,” to which I will return later (Undoing Empire, 185). Graff Zivin too mentions the Jew’s “in-betweenness,” though with implications differing from mine here (The Wandering Signifier, 72). 53. See “Part Four: The Deployment of Sexuality” of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Introduction (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 75–132. My approach to Cecilia Valdés through this lens has benefitted greatly from Ann Laura Stoler’s Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. 54. Foucault, The History, 123; Immanuel M. Wallerstein, The Modern WorldSystem. (New York: Academic Press, 1974). 55. My reading owes much to Kutzinski’s, and expressly to her insistence that Leonardo’s murder at the jealous hands of José Dolores Pimienta signifies the necessary fictional sacrifice of disruptive male desire (his own and his father’s) to the material and racial self-preservation of an already weakened colonial patriarchy. [ . . . ] [Francisco Muñoz del Monte’s poem “La Mulata”] specifically lampoons the sexual practices and fantasies of Cuba’s male aristocracy. The real locus of licentious sexuality here is not only the mulata herself but also the no-good men of the leisured classes who become her all-too-willing “slaves.” To the extent that “La mulata” ridicules this kind of irrational masculinity, it undercuts the stereotypes Muñoz deploys with such relish. (Sugar’s Secrets, 32)
56. Cheyette writes of “spuriously innocent pastoralism” in Diasporas of the Mind, 191. My understanding of buen tratamiento is principally informed by Karim Ghorbal’s Réformisme et esclavage à Cuba (1835–1845) (Paris: Éditions Publibook, 2009), 321–80, and his “La política llamada del “buen tratamiento”: Reformismo criollo y reacción esclavista en Cuba (1789–1845)” in Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos, “Debates, 2009,” nuevomundo.revues.org/57872?lang=en. Ghorbal makes the suggestion, buried in note 85 of this undervalued article
Notes to Pages 10–11 [ 119 ]
(“La política”), that we read the Cuban antislavery genre in terms of buen tratamiento. I thank Professor Ghorbal for kindly providing me with a copy of his book Réformisme. My intervention is again indebted to that of Tomich’s Through the Prism of Slavery, in which he “rejects the either/or logic of internal/external; premodern/modern; global/local that such conceptualizations such as that of Moreno Fraginals generate. Instead, it adopts a logic of both/and in order to integrate into a unified and comprehensive conceptual field the diverse relations of production, exchange, and political power constituting the capitalist world economy” (76–77). Earlier, Tomich “proposes a strategy to go beyond simple dichotomies such as production for the market vs. wage labor and capitalist vs. precapitalist which have characterized much historical analysis and interpretation” (4; see also 33, 92). Cheyette and Marcus, “Introduction,” 2. I also follow Rothberg’s promptings for “a new kind of comparative thinking” (Multidirectional Memory, 18); Tomich, Through the Prism, 4. Tomich’s analyses of the “making, remaking, and unmaking [of] slave relations over historical time and in geographical space,” which “draw attention to the heterogeneity and complexity of world economic relations and processes” have been formative to my thinking in this regard (Through the Prism, xiii). Cheyette writes that “the ambivalence of ‘the Jew’ within the West can be mobilised to expose the tensions at play between the fixed antitheses that define ‘the West’ ” (“White Skin,” 124).
Chapter One 1. Hippolyte Piron, L’île de Cuba: Santiago—Puerto-Principe—Matanzas et la Havane (Paris: E. Plon, 1876), 84; “Les juifs, pour les Cubanos ne sont bons qu’à être brûlés tout vifs. Ne sont-ce pas ces perros de judios (ces chiens de juifs) qui ont fait mourir le Christ? Quand un Espagnol [Cuban] veut faire à quelqu’un une cruelle offense, il l’appelle juif.” 2. This discussion benefits from Bauman’s contention that “for most members of society, the advent of modernity meant the destruction of order and security; and once again, the Jews were perceived as standing close to the centre of the destructive process. Their own rapid and incomprehensible social advancement and transformation seemed to epitomize the havoc visited by advancing modernity upon everything familiar, habitual and secure” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 45). 3. Tomich, Through the Prism, 58–59, 64–65, 77, 80–82, 85–86, 113, 126, 129, 131; Thomas, Cuba, 38–39, 52–53, 61–64, 76–84, 86–87, 97, 114–27; Franklin W. Knight, Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1970), 3–6, 10, 25–46; Fernando Ortiz, Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar (Barcelona: Ariel, 1973), 75–80, 90–91; Robert L. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict be-
[ 120 ] Notes to Pages 11–14
tween Empires over Slavery in Cuba (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1988), 131; Moreno, El ingenio: Complejo económico social cubano del azúcar (Barcelona: Crítica, 2001), 50–51; Ghorbal, “La política.” 4. This is informed by Bauman, who describes the same processes that I am addressing in the European context: “They [Jews] exemplified the competition of a new, financially- and industrially-based, social power—against the traditional power grounded in land ownership and hereditary landed patronage” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 49–50); Thomas, Cuba, 78, 80, 118, 120; Tomich discusses how “The specific historical trajectory of slavery and plantation agriculture in Cuba is the particular outcome of a unitary, though uneven, world process,” as well as the “steady process of land concentration” on the Spanish sugar island (Through the Prism, 93, 131; see also 64, 82–83, 130–31); J. Le Riverend, Historia económica de Cuba (Barcelona: Ediciones Ariel, 1972), 154; Jordi Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana y la esclavitud en Cuba,” in Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí 18.2 (May–Aug. 1976): 19; Knight, Slave Society, 5–7, 10, 13, 21, 25, 40, 45; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 76, 79; Moreno, “Nación o plantación: El dilema político cubano visto a través de José Antonio Saco,” in Estudios históricos americanos: Homenaje a Silvio Zavala, ed. J. Le Riverend et al. (Mexico City: El Colegio de México), 241–72; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 35, 38; Antonio Benítez Rojo, “Sugar/Power/Literature: Toward a Reinterpretation of Cubanness,” Cuban Studies 16 (1986): 13. Antonio Benítez Rojo discusses how “in its implacable march, burning entire forests in its boilers, the sugar-milling machine began to shape another Cuba (‘Cuba grande’), which did not correspond to the creole interests of the nonsugaring regions (‘Cuba chiquita’)” in The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, tr. James E. Maraniss (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1992), 58. Benítez Rojo studies “the Plantation” on 33–81 and its link to “despotic colonialism” on 23. Whether the creole ideologues’ fantasy was even possible is a question I will take up in Chapter 4. This discussion will be informed by Slavoj Žižek’s argument that “fantasy implies a crossed out, blocked, barred, non-whole, inconsistent Other—that is to say, it is filling out a void in the Other,” and that this understanding helps to account for antiSemitism (The Sublime Object of Ideology [New York: Verso, 1989], 74). 5. Roberto González Echevarría, Cuban Fiestas (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2010), 48; Milton Shain, The Roots of Antisemitism in South Africa (Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1994), 7. 6. Eric L. Santner succinctly defines performative utterances as “utterances that bring about the propositional content of the social facts they pretend merely to register” (“My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew,” ed. Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus [Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998], 54). 7. Marin, “Antisemitism,” 218, 219, 231–32 (I have not maintained the original’s italics). Marin is also cited in Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 78. Bauman mentions Japanese anti-Semitism (Modernity and the Holocaust, 79).
Notes to Pages 14–15 [ 12 1 ]
8. Marin, “Antisemitism,” 218–19; the anti-Semitic stereotype, Bauman contends, “can be adopted as a vehicle in the solution of local problems even if historical experience of which it was born has been locally missing; even if (or perhaps particularly if) societies which adopt it have had no previous first-hand knowledge of the Jews” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 78). 9. Rothberg discusses the screen memory as “a site of projection for unconscious fantasies, fears, and desires” in Multidirectional Memory (13). 10. Antonio Bachiller y Morales, La venta de un ingenio, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección de Manuscritos de Bachiller, no. 42:
D.a Fran.ca D. J. D.a Fran.ca D. J. D.a Fran.ca D. J.
¿Y la conciencia? ¿Y la necesidad? ¿Y la religion? ¿Y la barriga? ¿Y los tribunales? Ja . . Ja . . Ja . . ¿Y el privilegio de la ley de Indias?
Note: Suspension points appearing outside of brackets are reproduced from the originals; where material has been omitted from quoted matter, bracketed ellipses have been used. 11. Goldberg, Racist Culture, 91. 12. Texts of the period are rife with this trope. In addition to the examples discussed in this and other chapters, José María de Cárdenas y Rodríguez Judaizes the merchant in his Colección de artículos satíricos y de costumbres (La Habana: Impr. del Faro Industrial, 1847), in which we read of “the commercial house of Don Judas and company” (243); “la casa comercial de don Judas y compañía.” José Antonio Cintra chides Domingo Del Monte and Domingo André, calling them “judios,” in a letter from 1827 (Del Monte, Centón epistolario, 1: 81). I should also mention that Moreno replicates this anti-Semitic tropology in his influential El ingenio, in which he labels the slave-holding reformers of the 1860s “slaver Judases” (449); “los judas esclavista.” Roland T. Ely makes the same ugly use of anti-Jewish rhetoric, labeling the period’s merchants “Shylocks” (Comerciantes cubanos del siglo XIX [Bogota: Aedita Editores, 1961], 38). 13. José Agustín Millán, “El maestro de escuela,” in Los cubanos pintados por si mismos: Colección de tipos cubanos (La Habana: Barcina, 1852), 284; “Sr. Balandrán . . . levántese vd. . . . (a nosotros) Este es hijo del comerciante D. Júdas Tadeo, hombre de conciencia. . . . Como todos los del comercio. [alto] Veamos, Sr. Balandrán. . . . Si hallándose vd., por ejemplo, en el campo, cazando, viese vd, posados en las ramas de un mamoncillo treinta judios y . . . tirando vd. con la escopeta, lograse vd. matar á veinte ¿cuántos quedarian?” 14. Helen Fein, “Dimensions of Antisemitism: Attitudes, Collective Accusations, and Actions,” in The Persisting Question: Sociological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, ed. Helen Fein (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1987), 71 n11. Also cited in Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 26.
[ 122 ] Notes to Pages 15–17
15. Moreno, El ingenio, 134; “rencor y desprecio.” 16. Moreno, El ingenio, 81; “La primera danza de los millones.” See also El ingenio, 87; Dale Tomich writes: “The remarkable growth of the sugar industry exacerbated the tensions between sugar and other sectors of the Cuban economy. It created the uneven regional and social development of Cuba and provoked the social discontinuities and antagonisms that were to manifest themselves in the Ten Years War” (“The Wealth of Empire: Francisco Arango y Parreño, Political Economy, and the Second Slavery in Cuba,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 45.1 [Jan. 2003]: 26). 17. William Nicholls, Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate (Northvale, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1993), 386. Rosemary R. Ruether explains: “Deprived of normal participation in agriculture, first by their inability to hold Christian servants and then by outright prohibition of landowning; trade constricted by the new dangers of hostility; and most crafts closed off by the religious character of trade guilds—the Jew had no place in medieval economy except moneylending” (“The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism,” 39). 18. John Gross, Shylock: A Legend and Its Legacy (New York: Touchstone, 1992), 27–28; Felsenstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 31; Gonzalo Álvarez Chillida, El antisemitismo en España: La imagen del judío (1812–2002) (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2002), 36. 19. J. A. van Praag, “Los protocolos de los sabios de Sión y la ‘Isla de los Mono pantos,’ ” Bulletin Hispanique 51 (1949): 169–73. 20. Moses Debré, The Image of the Jew in French Literature from 1800 to 1908 (New York: KTAV, 1970), 22. 21. See Gross, Shylock, 71, 128, 135, 142, 211–18, 245–46, 250–51; Debré, The Image of the Jew, 25–34; M. J. Landa, The Jew in Drama (London: P. S. King and Son, 1926). 22. Gross, Shylock, 249; Debré, The Image of the Jew, 22. 23. Gross, Shylock, 209, 225–26, 314. 24. Gross, Shylock, 209. 25. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 47. 26. Bauman quotes Patrick Girard: “modern anti-Semitism was born not from the great difference between groups but rather from the threat of absence of differences, the homogenization of Western society and the abolition of the ancient social and legal barriers between Jews and Christians” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 58). Bauman writes: “The Jews were guilty of blurring the most vital boundary” (“Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew,” 147). Daniel Pick, to cite just one example, finds much the same: “One trouble about the Jews (in the view of various contemporary writers) was precisely their success in blurring the racial lines as well as in producing a deep disturbance in the mind of the gentile” (“Powers of Suggestion: Svengali and the Fin-de-Siècle,” in Modernity, Culture and “the Jew,” ed. Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus [Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998], 106).
Notes to Pages 17–19 [ 12 3 ]
27. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 45; see also 39. I have not maintained the original’s italics. 28. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 144. See also Graff Zivin’s discussion of this same passage (The Wandering Signifier, 122). 29. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 144, 149. 30. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 144. 31. Sander L. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose: Are Jews White? Or, the History of the Nose Job,” in The Other in Jewish Thought and History: Constructions of Jewish Culture and Identity, ed. Laurence J. Silberstein and Robert L. Cohn (New York: New York UP, 1994), 366, 376. Matthew Frye Jacobson has outlined the “the racial odyssey of American Jews” that took them from non-Caucasian to Caucasian in the twentieth century (Whiteness, 199). 32. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 375. 33. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 371; Jacobson, Whiteness, 49. 34. Quoted in Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 372. 35. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 370. 36. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 374. 37. Cheyette, “White Skin,” 124. See also Cheyette’s “Neither Black nor White: The Figure of ‘the Jew’ in Imperial British Literature,” in The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity, ed. Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), 31–41. Here he writes that “Jews were often situated uneasily on the borderline between black and white” (34). 38. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 368, 370. 39. As quoted earlier, Buscaglia-Salgado writes of “the mulatto as the master of the in-between” (Undoing Empire, 185). 40. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 184. In her discussion of the mulatto poet Plácido, Fischer makes a similar point: “Again we see the discourse of the abject, here tied directly to the idea of the abject as a threat to the stability of the subject” (Modernity, 93). 41. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 79. 42. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 83. 43. Thomas, Cuba, 98. 44. Tomich, Through the Prism, 59, 77. 45. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 49. 46. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 183. Buscaglia-Salgado is discussing colonial Mexico, although his argument may be applied to the Cuban context. Kutzinski makes this much clear: “The mulata, then, measures the extent to which what appeared to be previously fixed sexual, social, and racial hierarchies within that political order are no longer stable—no longer reliably (that is, physiognomically) marked”; “the nonwhite female body [ . . . ] becomes a site—in fact the site—of Cubans’ struggle over cultural meaning and political authority” (Sugar’s Secrets, 27, 42). Later she continues: “That the figure of the mulata should nevertheless be central to these allegories is indicative of
[ 124 ] Notes to Pages 19–21
the attempt to produce an illusion of stability by making race and gender the primary stage for social anxieties” (76). 47. Moreno, El ingenio, 81; “con sangre se hace azúcar”; according to Moreno’s figures, 95 percent of all sugar plantations were mortgaged in 1863 (479; see also 49, 280–308, 470). “Steam-powered grinding mills, the vacuum pan, and the centrifuge established precise and scientific controls over what had previously been artisanal processes of sugar making” (Tomich, Through the Prism, 84; see also 65, 83, 125, 130); Knight, Slave Society, 17, 30, 39, 76; Thomas, Cuba, 63, 118, 167, 174; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 75; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 52; Laird W. Bergad, García F. Iglesias, and María C. Barcia, The Cuban Slave Market, 1790–1880 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995), 31, 32; Rebecca J. Scott, Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860–1899 (Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2000), 14; Maluquer de Motes writes that “the sugar plantations were cultivated almost exclusively by African slaves until at least 1868” (“La burguesía catalana,” 21); “las plantaciones azucareras fueron cultivadas por esclavos africanos casi exclusivamente hasta 1868 por lo menos.” 48. Moreno, El ingenio, 97; Knight, Slave Society, 90; Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 27–28; Thomas, Cuba, 142, 146–48; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 137 n11. 49. Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 1–4, 6; Davies, “Introduction,” 7; Thomas, Cuba, 32–33, 82, 136; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 45; Moreno, El ingenio, 56–59; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 88–90. Merchants jealously, and through midcentury successfully, guarded their position as Cuba’s de facto bankers by blocking efforts aimed at establishing other financial institutions on the island. As Moreno reports, efforts of the Colonial Bank of London to establish a branch in Cuba were opposed by the merchants: “But this bank could not, nor could any other, establish itself before the decade of 1840. It found, in the first place, the opposition of the merchants, themselves transformed into bankers, and with an enormous accumulation of capital” (El ingenio, 410–11); “Pero este banco, ni ningún otro, pudo establecerse antes de la década de 1840. Encontró, en primer lugar, la oposición de los comerciantes, transformados ellos mismos en banqueros, y con enorme acumulación de capital.” 50. Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 45; Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 29; Thomas, Cuba, 82; Moreno, El ingenio, 57; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 90; Louis A. Pérez Jr., Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution (New York: Oxford UP, 1995), 94. 51. Quoted in Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 31; “que en ningún caso pudiesen ser embargados ni ejecutados por deudas o litigios, las fincas ni los esclavos, artefactos, animales o muebles.” See also Fernando Ortiz, Hampa Afro-Cubana: Los negros esclavos (San Juan, PR: Editorial Nuevo Mundo, 2011), 77. 52. See Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 27–35; Thomas, Cuba, 33, 82. 53. Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 7–9, 39 n89; Thomas, Cuba, 82; Moreno, El ingenio, 56, 199.
Notes to Pages 22–23 [ 12 5 ]
54. Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 30; Bergad et al., The Cuban Slave Market, 22; Knight, Slave Society, 31. 55. Thomas, Cuba, 118. 56. Thomas, Cuba, 136; Pérez, Cuba, 94; Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 45–51; Davies, “Introduction,” 7. 57. Del Monte’s brother José discusses their debt to merchant-moneylenders in a letter from August 24, 1829 (Centón epistolario, 1: 134). Tapia’s financial straits forced him to move from his native Puerto Rico to Havana in order to find work (Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias o Puerto Rico como lo encontré y como lo dejo [San Juan, PR: Impr. Venezuela, 1946], 188). His time in the Cuban capital shall be discussed in Chapter 3. I have considered Suárez’s money problems in “The Cuban Anti-Antislavery Genre: Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s Colección de artículos and the Policy of Buen Tratamiento,” Revista Hispánica Moderna 68.1 (June 2015): 59–75. 58. Thomas, Cuba, 136. 59. Moreno, El ingenio, 57. 60. Moreno, El ingenio, 57. 61. Alexander von Humboldt, The Island of Cuba, trans. John S. Thrasher (New York: Derby and Jackson, 1856), 280–81. Also quoted in Thomas, Cuba, 82. 62. David Turnbull, Travels in the West: Cuba; With Notices of Porto Rico, and the Slave Trade (London: Printed for Longman, Orne, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1840), 277. 63. Wurdemann, Notes, 249. 64. Moreno, El ingenio, 449. 65. Sophie Andioc, “Presentación,” Centón epistolario, vol. 4, by Domingo Del Monte (La Habana: Imagen Contemporánea, 2002), v; Moreno, El ingenio, 56; Knight, Slave Society, 91. 66. Moreno, El ingenio, 119. 67. Thomas, Cuba, 136; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 88–89; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 111–12. 68. Laird W. Bergad, “Slave Prices in Cuba, 1840–1875,” Hispanic American Historical Review 67.4 (Nov. 1987): 632 n4. Raúl Cepero Bonilla claims that “the slave, due to his absolute lack of instruction and technical knowledge, was incapable of utilizing those machines in a way that would permit their greater output” (Azúcar y abolición: Apuntes para una historia crítica del abolicionismo [La Habana: Editorial Cenit, 1948], 55); “El esclavo, por su carencia absoluta de instrucción y conocimientos técnicos, estaba incapacitado para manejar esas máquinas en condiciones favorables a su mayor rendimiento.” It is not entirely clear if Benítez Rojo is voicing the views of the nineteenthcentury Cuban reformers or his own when he writes that “in the best of instances, even if the rebellion did not occur, a continued increase in the number of slaves would prevent Cuba from acquiring the technological development and industrial prosperity achieved by certain nations in Europe and the United States” (“Sugar/Power/Literature,” 19).
[ 126 ] Notes to Pages 23–24
More recently, Ghorbal writes: “The steam machines used in the trapiche mark the beginning of a long process that would culminate, at the end of the nineteenth century, in the abolition of slavery” (Réformisme, 210); “Les machines à vapeur appliquées au trapiche marquent le début d’un long processus aboutissant, à la fin du XIXe siècle, à l’abolition de l’esclavage.” Thomas argues that slavery “was fundamentally irrational when allied to comparatively sophisticated capitalism” (Cuba, 184). 69. Tomich, Through the Prism, 88–90. “In this interpretation, slavery is no longer treated relationally. Backwardness becomes an attribute not of the slave relation, but of the enslaved. The incompatibility of slave labor and modern technology, congealed in the physical person of the slave, becomes almost absolute. [ . . . ] The external opposition between archaic and modern here becomes transformed into technological determinism which finds its complement in a biological or cultural opposition between Africans and Chinese” (Tomich, Through the Prism, 90). 70. Tomich, Through the Prism, 90–94; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 147; R. Scott, Slave Emancipation. 71. Cepero Bonilla is certainly aware of this dynamic, even if others have not seized on this aspect of his argument: “The value of their [the planters’] production was absorbed, in large part, by the amortization of borrowed capital and payment of swollen interest” (Azúcar y abolición, 20; see also 56–57); “El valor de sus producciones lo absorbían, en gran parte, la amortización del capital refaccionado y el pago de sus crecidos intereses.” 72. Thomas, Cuba, 154–55. “Cubans enjoyed the technological edge of latecomers. Though they were few in number, the appearance of mechanized sugar mills represented a qualitative transformation in the conditions of sugar production. The Cuban sugar mill developed on a giant scale, and the technology of sugar production there attained the most advanced level known under slavery” (Tomich, Through the Prism, 132). 73. Knight, Slave Society, 39; see also Le Riverend, Historia económica, 154; Thomas, Cuba, 62–63, 78; Moreno, El ingenio, 173–200. 74. Tomich argues against “the presumption that slavery is incompatible with the modern world” and more specifically with capitalism (Through the Prism, 56). 75. Moreno, El ingenio, 184; “la ruina total de la antigua clase productora cubana.” Thomas writes that “the merchant, slaver or not, who also had a plantation was in a sense the only free planter” (Cuba, 84). Thomas adds: In 1818 four planters installed steam engines at their mills equivalent to the energy of perhaps twenty oxen: it is instructive that of these technical adventurers only one (Nicolás Peñalver) was a member of the old oligarchy which had carried out the sugar revolutions of the 1760s and 1790s. The others were immigrants, and it would be they who in the future would play a major part in similar advances. [ . . . ] Within a few
Notes to Page 25 [ 12 7 ]
years most new plantations would establish steam mills as a matter of course. (97)
Later Thomas discusses how the mills owned by this class “were in general the sites of technological innovation.” Thus, around 1850, “ownership of the most technologically advanced mills shows that only two of the ten most productive belonged to members of the old oligarchy, and perhaps only fifteen out of the first fifty-five belonged to that class. Peninsulares, of the first or second generations [ . . . ] dominate the list” (154). 76. Manuel Moreno Fraginals, The Sugarmill: The Socioeconomic Complex of Sugar in Cuba, trans. Cedric Belfrage (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1976), 49. 77. In a letter to Del Monte, the prominent creole planter Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros decries how the foreign usurer “little by little provides the young dimwit with means pushing him into the position of being unable to pay, and then swoops in on his real estate” (Del Monte, Centón epistolario, 3: 38); “poquito á poquito le suministra medios al joven calavera hasta ponerle en el caso de no poder pagar, y echarse entonces sobre sus bienes raices.” In the same letter he describes them as “demonic, selfish merchants” (Del Monte, Centón epistolario, 3: 40); “demonios, egoistas mercaderes.” 78. Mariano Torrente, Bosquejo económico político de la isla de Cuba, comprensivo de varios proyectos de prudentes y saludables mejoras que pueden introducirse en su gobierno y administración, vol. 2 (La Habana, Impr. de Barcina, 1853), 17–18: Fijos en nuestro intento, y consecuentes en nuestros principios de proponer para la isla de Cuba todas las mejoras posibles en sus diversos ramos, vamos á tratar de la que en nuestro concepto supera á todas en oportunidad é indisputable conveniencia: tal es la de desterrar de aquellos dominios la usura, que ha tomado dimensiones tan colosales, que puede muy bien causar la ruina de la agricultura, ó por lo menos hacerla decaer de tal modo, especialmente si los precios no corresponden á lo estenso de su produccion, que los que se dedican á ella no puedan ver recompensados sino muy imperfectamente los esfuerzos de su trabajo, y de sus acertadas combinaciones. Porque ¿cómo es posible que florezca esta industria en un pais, en que el premio del dinero que se toma para fomentarla, se eleva, no ya al 4 ó 5 porcentaje como en Europa, sino al 18 ó 20, salvo pocas escepciones? ¿Y cuál tiene que ser el resultado de tan altos premios del capital? Que una gran parte de los hacendados de Cuba jamas podrán ver libres de compromisos sus fincas, porque por grande que sea la produccion, como lo es en efecto, se invierte en gran manera, no ya en amortizar el capital de sus préstamos ó anticipaciones, sino en pagar sus crecidos intereses; por lo cual no pueden sacudir el pesado yugo de los refaccionistas.
[ 128 ] Notes to Pages 25–26
79. Jean Baptiste Rosemond de Beauvallon, L’ile de Cuba (Paris: Dauvin et Fontaine, 1844), 130; “superbe dédain.” 80. See Thomas, Cuba, 136. Saccharocracy is a term coined by Moreno in El ingenio. Moreno writes of the merchants’ rise and the planters’ fall: Since its inception the sugar industry would march under the same tragic sign: high prices, extraordinary expansion of the industry with money from the merchant-moneylender and from the avid reinvestment process, a huge mass of circulating capital, an enormous turnover rate and inflation. The versatility of Cuban popular language will christen this whole complex as the fat cows. Then, precipitous fall of prices, crisis of the industrial producer that has not capitalized, ruin of the production centers raised by exceptional market conditions and which are not profitable with falls in price, retraction of the investor and financial capital and reduction of circulating money. Crisis, it is not necessary to clarify, is the period of lean cows in the lexicon of the people. But the lean cows do not ruin the merchant-moneylender who has accumulated capital to face the crisis. When the price curve finally stabilizes, he has in his hands the powerful properties seized in debt collection. And so he that today is a banker and yesterday was a merchant-moneylender always ends up gainful: the men Arango defined as those with money and stores. Desde su inicio la industria azucarera marchará bajo el mismo trágico signo: altos precios, ensanche extraordinario de la industria con el dinero del comerciante refaccionista y por el ávido proceso de reinversión, gran masa de circulante, enorme velocidad de rotación del capital y proceso inflacionista. Todo este complejo será bautizado por el plástico lenguaje popular cubano como las vacas gordas. Luego, caída vertical de los precios, crisis del industrial que no haya capitalizado, ruina de los centros de producción levantados gracias a condiciones excepcionales del mercado y que no son rentables en la baja, retracción del capital inversionista y financiero y disminución del circulante. La crisis, no es necesario aclararlo, es periodo de vacas flacas en el léxico del pueblo. Pero las vacas flacas no arruinan al comerciante refaccionista con capital acumulado para afrontar la crisis y que al normalizarse la curva de precios tiene en sus manos los poderosos bienes embargados en cobro de deudas. Y así sale siempre ganancioso quien hoy es banquero y ayer fue comerciante refaccionista: los hombres definidos por Arango como los que tienen dinero y almacenes. (El ingenio, 54)
81. Goldberg, Racist Culture, 91. 82. Here I paraphrase Helen Fein: “Thus, both the psychic economy and the political economy of capitalism dictate the need for scapegoats” (“Explanations of the Origins and Evolution of Antisemitism,” in The Persisting Question: So-
Notes to Page 26 [ 1 29 ]
ciological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, ed. Helen Fein [Berlin: De Gruyter, 1987], 3). 83. Laird W. Bergad, Cuban Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: The Social and Economic History of Monoculture in Matanzas (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1990), 168. 84. Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 19; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 36, 41–62; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 36; R. Scott, Slave Emancipation, 7; Wurdemann, Notes on Cuba, 166; Hugh Thomas also acknowledges that peninsular Spaniards were considered “foreigners” (Cuba, 98; see also 140–42, 156–58). 85. Moreno, El ingenio, 89, 431. 86. See José María Aguilera Manzano’s La formación de la identidad cubana (El debate Saco–La Sagra) (Sevilla: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2005), in which he discusses “the construction of an identity distinct from that which was affirmed by the metropolitan government” (99); “la construcción de una identidad distinta a la que se pretendía desde el gobierno metropolitano.” 87. Anti-semitism “was sustained entirely by the self-definitional and self-assertive interests of its carriers” (Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 41). Later Bauman discusses “heterophobia,” a concept that informs this discussion: The alien of the first case [heterophobia], however, is not merely a too-close-for-comfort, yet clearly separate category of people easy to spot and keep at a required distance, but a collection of people whose “collectiveness” is not obvious or generally recognized; its collectiveness may be even contested and is often concealed or denied by the members of the alien category. The alien in this case threatens to penetrate the native group and fuse with it—if preventive measures are not set out and vigilantly observed. The alien, therefore, threatens the unity and the identity of the [host] group, not so much by confounding its control over a territory or its freedom to act in the familiar way, but by blurring the boundary of the territory itself and effacing the difference between the familiar (right) and the alien (wrong) way of life. This is the “enemy in our midst” case—one that triggers a vehement boundary-drawing bustle, which in its turn generates a thick fall-out of antagonism and hatred to those found or suspected guilty of double loyalty and sitting astride the barricade. (Modernity and the Holocaust, 64–65)
88. Fein, “Explanations,” 12; Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 33. 89. Knight, Slave Society, 89. See also Thomas, Cuba, 90. 90. Knight, Slave Society, 89. 91. Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 42; Moreno, El ingenio, 386–87; Cristopher Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery: Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, 1833–1874 (Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1999), 70.
[ 130 ] Notes to Pages 27–28
Most merchants were at least partially slave traders. [ . . . ] This [the slave trade] was beginning to bring really large quantities of spare cash. The effect of the freeing of the slave trade in 1790 was indeed to make Havana merchants themselves very rich, in contrast to the days before when the Cuban slave trade gave wealth particularly to others, notably the English. An Italian traveller of the 1840s noted that all the great fortunes of Havana had been made from trading human flesh. Successful merchants themselves often bough plantations, establishing a junior member of the family or some other colleague as administrator on the land. In this way, some of the largest (and later model) plantations were founded. (Thomas, Cuba, 83)
Later, Thomas adds that “the most successful merchants continued to invest their money in plantations” (109). See also Thomas, Cuba, 134. Ortiz encapsulates this transposition of capital assets from creole to foreigner with the neologism “extranjerismo” (foreignization): “The bank that finances the harvests is foreign, the consumer market is foreign, the administrative staff that sets up shop in Cuba is foreign, the machinery that is implanted foreign, investments come from foreign capital, even the very land of Cuba is foreign because of foreign seizures against the debt of the mills’ owners, and foreign, of course, are the great earnings that migrate abroad for the enrichment of foreigners” (Contrapunteo, 90–91); “Es extranjero el banco que financia las zafras, extranjero el mercado consumidor, extranjero el personal administrativo que se establece en Cuba, extranjera la maquinaria que se implanta, extranjero el capital que se invierte, extranjera por adueñamiento foráneo la tierra misma de Cuba endeudada al señorío del ingenio, y extranjeras, como es lógico, son las grandes utilidades que emigran del país para enriquecimiento de extraños.” 93. Moreno, El ingenio, 343; see also 93; Ileana Rodríguez, “Romanticismo literario y liberalismo reformista: El grupo de Domingo Delmonte,” Caribbean Studies 20 (1980): 42; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 111–12. 94. Thomas, Cuba, 154, 142–43. Paquette discusses the merchants’ rise in social status similarly: A wealthy merchant who wanted to break into the highest rank took the proper steps by setting up a plantation and a baronial townhouse. Another step was a useful marriage. James Drake emigrated from England to Cuba in the 1790s, established himself as a merchant and planter of consequence, and married into the Núñez del Castillo family; his son Carlos secured the title of Conde de Vegamar in 1847. The wealth of Pedro Forcade, one of the most notorious slave traders in Cuba during the first half of the nineteenth century, appears to have eased his son into marriage with a member of the Cárdenas family. One of the three sons of Pedro Diago, an immigrant from the Basque country and
Notes to Page 28 [ 13 1 ]
another success story as a slave trader and planter, married the daughter of the Marqués de la Cañada Tirry. Gabriel Lombillo y Herce, who came to Cuba at the turn of the century from a small village in Old Castile, struck riches in the slave trade and after 1820, became one of the leading slave traders of the contraband era. He was a notorious skinflint and probably a borderline lunatic. (Sugar Is Made with Blood, 46–47)
95. “The Jews were the low moving up, and thus instilled in the high the fear of going down; they epitomized the world not just turned, but keeping on turning upside down—the world in which nothing stands still and can be relied upon” (Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 150). 96. This argument has benefitted from Fein’s “Explanations,” and especially her contention that “status threats associated with Jewish competition and the fear of downward mobility of non-Jews led to increased prejudice against Jews and defensive reactions” (17; see also 18–19). Moreno writes that “during the nineteenth century, references against the purchased nobility were continual” (El ingenio, 110 n48); “Durante el siglo XIX, las referencias contra la nobleza comprada son continuas.” 97. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 19–36. 98. María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, comtesse de Merlin, La Havane, vol. 1 (Paris: Librairie d’Amyot, 1844), 347–50: Arrivés dans l’île sans patrimoine, ils finissent par accaparer une grande partie des fortunes territoriales; ils commencent par prospérer à force d’industrie et d’économie, et finissent par enlever les plus beaux patrimoines héréditaires, au moyen du haut intérêt qu’ils perçoivent de leur argent. Quelque considérables que soient les propriétés, les frais immenses qu’occasionne l’élaboration du sucre, qui s’élève, dans une habitation de trois cents nègres, environ à 150 ou 200 mille francs par an (35 à 40 mille piastres), nécessitent une mise de fonds préalable qui force le propriétaire à faire des emprunts, remboursables après la récolte de chaque année. Le commerçant, qui peut seul capitaliser ses bénéfices, lui fait des prêts considérables, à des intérêts arbitraires et qui s’élèvent souvent jusqu’à deux et demi pour cent par mois. Comme son revenu, établi sur de telles bases, est plus sûr que celui de l’emprunteur, dont les récoltes, soumises d’ailleurs à des prix variables, dépendent de l’inconstance de la température et d’accidents imprévus, il arrive souvent que ce dernier se trouve dans l’impossibilité de remplir ses engagements aux époques de remboursements. Les intérêts exorbitants doublent la dette; le payement devient difficile, puis impossible, et le prêteur se trouve en peu de temps possesseur d’une valeur égale à la propriété tout entière [ . . . ]. Encouragé par le succès de l’abus, l’usurier donne un essor sans frein à son avidité, ébranle ou détruit les fortunes.
[ 132 ] Notes to Pages 29–30
99. Merlin, La Havane, 350; “punition de l’usure d’une part; de l’autre, une loi d’expropriation sévère, mais protectrice et rédigée dans l’intérêt de la conservation des fortunes, accorderaient, ce me semble, les droits de l’équité avec ceux de la morale, et l’on atteindrait le but de la prospérité publique.” 100. Wurdemann, Notes, 43. 101. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 64. 102. “They also epitomized the dissembling of the once close co-ordination between the scale of prestige and that of influence; a servant group, held in the lowest of esteems, reached for positions of power while climbing a ladder it picked from the junk-heap of discarded values. To the nobility eager to retain national leadership, industrialization presented a double threat; because of what was being done, and because of who was doing it” (Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 50). 103. Todd M. Endelman, “Comparative Perspectives on Modern Anti-Semitism in the West,” in History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism, ed. David Berger (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997), 95. 104. Wurdemann, Notes, 42–43. 105. Rev. Abiel Abbot, Letters Written in the Interior of Cuba: Between the Mountains of Arcana, to the East, and of Cusco, to the West, in the Months of February, March, April, and May, 1828 (Boston: Bowles and Dearborn, 1829), 98; Rosemond de Beauvallon, L’ile de Cuba, 131. 106. English version: Cirilo Villaverde, Cecilia Valdes or El Angel Hill, trans. Helen Lane, ed. Sibylle Fischer (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005), 64. Spanish version: Cirilo Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés o La Loma del Ángel (Madrid: Cátedra, 2004), 136–37; “tienen sus tiendas unos mercaderes al por menor, que llaman baratilleros, quinquilleros, propiamente dichos, los cuales, en absoluto, son españoles, por lo común montañeses”; “es que estos españoles tienen más de judíos que de caballeros.” 107. Moreno, El ingenio, 479; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 21. 108. “El imperio de momo: Letrilla esparavanesca,” Don Junípero: Periódico satírico-jocoso con abundancia de caricaturas, vol. 1, February 22, 1863 (La Habana: El Iris, 1863), 163: .
Y ese malvado judio De la pobreza difteria, Verdugo de la miseria, ¿Dónde va con tanto brío? ¿Dónde va á dar sepultura Al producto de la usura Que le ciega y magnetiza? A Escauriza.
109. “The source of vicarious pleasure, then, is not simply the titillating combination of sex, race, and violence to which Muñoz admittedly devotes a great
Notes to Pages 30–32 [ 13 3 ]
deal of energy, but the opportunity his poem afforded white readers, male and female, to adopt a position of moral superiority both toward the mulata and toward those who courted her fatal charms” (Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 32–33). 110. Juan Martínez Villergas, “Letrilla,” in Poesias, jocosas y satiricas de J. Martinez Villergas (La Habana: Impr. de don Manuel Soler y Gelada, 1857), 241: Indicios de mal agüero Son estos por vida mia: D. Judas que ayer hacia Alarde de hombre altanero . . . ¿Por que hoy anda tan humano, Mucho “beso á usted la mano” Y mucho “á los pies de usté”? Yo no lo sé.
111. Mariano Ramiro y Corrales, “El usurero,” in ¡Alza, Pilili! Colección de artículos de costumbres, humorísticos y mal humorados, y poesías entreveradas (Cárdenas, Cuba: Impr. El Horizonte, 1871), 153–54: ya sabrán ustedes que existe en la sociedad un respetable número de individuos, que dotados del instinto de la urraca, se dedican caritativamente á explotar al prójimo por todos los medios legales que ha producido el cálculo mejor fundado para prostituir la legalidad. Séres que vejetan en la condicion de las aves de rapiña, siendo todos ellos pájaros de cuenta, y á los que el mundo llama rencorosamente usureros, es decir, descendientes de Cain, almas de Judas y hechuras del demonio, que al fin y al cabo se aprovechará de su obra.
112. Ramiro y Corrales, “El usurero,” 155–56: Tú, el insolente enemigo del que no tiene dinero, prestamista pistonudo, vampiro de pelo en pecho, cercenador de jornales y cortapisa de sueldos, enciclopedia de leyes, confeccionador de apremios, campeon de los tribunales, adalid de enjuiciamientos, mercader de la conciencia, opositor al infierno, duende de las alcaldías, padre del tanto por ciento, sanguijuela del bolsillo, culebra de humano pelo,
[ 134 ] Notes to Pages 32–33
recipiente de entredichos, secuestrador del sustento, epidemia de los hombres, calamidad de los pueblos, redactor de pagarés, archivo de documentos, apóstol de los embargos, forjador de mil enredos; el que á los buenos explota, el que desuella á los nécios, ... más judio que los mismos que á Jesús escarnecieron
113. “No detailed reading of these and similar stanzas is necessary to elicit the predatory qualities with which Muñoz blatantly invests black female sexuality” (Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 30). 114. Felsenstein writes: “The force of sentiment by which Walpole expresses his antipathy to Hardwicke simultaneously articulates a deeply embedded prejudice against the Jews that we may read as a kind of cipher” (Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 158). 115. David J. Fisher, Bettelheim: Living and Dying (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008), 36. 116. Ramiro y Corrales, “El usurero,” 153: Y eso, que segun dicen malas lenguas, es el usurero un mal social que crece por horas, se desarrolla por minutos y que nos ha hecho el favor de hacerse endémico en nuestro suelo privilegiado, sin duda á causa de ese mismo privilegio; su principal carácter es el de una lepra contagiosa que pone en un tris á la humanidad insolvente, y cuya nociva influencia ataca al individuo hasta en el órden moral; á él se le achaca la destruccion de la familia, la corrupcion de las costumbres, y el desnivel que ha de dar al traste con el edificio social.
117. Alan Dundes discuss that “Hitler suggests that the Jews have the Midas touch in reverse” in Life Is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder: A Study of German National Character through Folklore (Detroit: Wayne State UP), 137. 118. Žižek, The Sublime, 126.
Chapter Two 1. Fischer, Modernity, 109. 2. Don Carlos de B . . . is a likely reference to the Betancourt family, to which Gómez de Avellaneda was related through her mother (Davies, “Introduction,” 3). Paquette chronicles that the Betancourts were “the leading family in the city of Puerto Príncipe in 1840, [which] had participated in the conquest
Notes to Pages 33–35 [ 135 ]
and administration of the Canary Islands prior to the family’s settlement in Cuba in the mid-seventeenth century” (Sugar Is Made with Blood, 41). Thomas writes that “the Betancourts of Puerto Príncipe had nine old poor mills—seven oxen-driven—but with 20,000 acres” (Cuba, 152). 3. Ruth Hill, “Between Black and White: A Critical Race Theory Approach to Caste Poetry in the Spanish New World,” Comparative Literature 59.4 (Fall 2007): 288. 4. Nochlin, “Starting with the Self,” 11. Steyn writes of the figural Jew: “It is subject to endless repetition” (“Charles Dickens,” 45). 5. Nochlin, “Starting with the Self,” 11. 6. Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, Sab and Autobiography, trans. Nina M. Scott (Austin: U of Texas P, 1993), 38–39. I have modified this translation slightly; for consistency, I have chosen to maintain the elder Otway’s name, Jorge, which Scott anglicizes as George. The original Spanish reads: Jorge Otway fue uno de los muchos hombres que se elevan de la nada en poco tiempo a favor de las riquezas en aquel país nuevo y fecundo. Era inglés: había sido buhonero algunos años en los Estados Unidos de la América del Norte, después en la ciudad de la Habana, y últimamente llegó a Puerto-Príncipe traficando con lienzos [ . . . ]. Cinco años después de su llegada a Puerto-Príncipe Jorge Otway en compañía de dos catalanes tenía ya una tienda de lienzos, y su hijo despachaba con él detrás del mostrador. Pasaron cinco años más y el inglés y sus socios abrieron un soberbio almacén de toda clase de lencería. [ . . . ] Otros cinco años transcurrieron y Jorge Otway poseía ya una hermosa casa en una de las mejores calles de la ciudad, y seguía por sí solo un vasto y lucrativo comercio. [ . . . ] Puede el lector dejar transcurrir aún otros cinco años y verá a Jorge Otway, rico negociante, alternando con la clase más pudiente, servido de esclavos, dueño de magníficos carruajes y con todos los prestigios de la opulencia. (Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, Sab, ed. Catherine Davies [New York: Manchester UP, 2001], 55–56)
All subsequent English quotations are from Scott’s translation; Spanish quotations in the notes are from Davies’s edition. 7. Felsenstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 64. 8. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, ed. Davies, 56. 9. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, ed. Davies, 40–41; “aunque el viejo Otway se hubiese declarado desde su establecimiento en Puerto-Príncipe un verdadero católico, apostólico, romano, y educado a su hijo en los ritos de la misma iglesia, su apostasía no le había salvado del nombre de hereje” (58). Bauman argues that “early and classic modernity was the time of [ . . . ] revulsion against the parvenu and the pariah masquerading as a parvenu” (“Allosemitism,” 149).
[ 136 ] Notes to Pages 36–37
10. Tamar Garb writes: “if conversion could deliver the medieval and early modern Jews from the stigma of their identity, this was not the case for Jews in the modern period” (“Introduction: Modernity, Identity, Textuality,” in The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity, ed. Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb [London: Thames and Hudson, 1995], 22). Catherine Davies mentions that Jorge Otway is “presented as an ugly caricature of a Protestant or Jewish (heretic) English pedlar [sic]” (“Introduction,” 26). 11. Garb, “Introduction,” 22. 12. “It also required, certainly, the acceptance by the objects of the separation of a status inferior to that of the host community” (Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 36–37); Fein explains: “Pariah castes [ . . . ] are usually tolerated as long as they accept their place” (“Explanations,” 5). 13. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 145; Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 58. Bauman writes: “If it was to be salvaged from the assault of modern equality, the distinctiveness of the Jews had to be re-articulated and laid on new foundations, stronger than human powers of culture and self-determination” (Modernity and the Holocaust, 59). See also Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 56–59; Alain Finkielkraut, The Imaginary Jew: Texts and Contexts (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1994), 83; Žižek, The Sublime, 59; Garb, “Introduction,” 22. 14. Garb, “Introduction,” 22. See also Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 6–7. 15. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966), 87; also quoted in Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 59, and in Steyn, “Charles Dickens,’ ” 55. 16. “Jewishness, unlike Judaism, could not be discarded” (Garb, “Introduction,” 22). 17. “Both Dickens and Cruikshank called upon a rich repertoire of signs, attributes, and references through which to identify Fagin and represent and typify the Jew” (Steyn, “Charles Dickens,’ ” 46). 18. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 60–61; la [figura] grosera y repugnante del viejo buhonero; la cabeza calva sembrada a trechos hacia atrás por algunos mechones de cabellos rojos matizados de blanco, las mejillas de un encarnado subido, los ojos hundidos, la frente surcada de arrugas, los labios sutiles y apretados, la barba puntiaguda y envuelto su cuerpo alto y enjuto en una bata blanca y almidonada. [ . . . ] El viejo hizo una mueca que parodiaba una sonrisa y añadió en seguida frotándose las manos, y abriendo cuanto le era posible sus ojos brillantes con la avaricia. (83–84)
19. Jacobson, Whiteness, 174. 20. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress (New York: Bentley, 1838), 44. Also quoted in Steyn, “Charles Dickens,’ ” 48. 21. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 45. 22. William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (Boston: Heath, 1899), 10 [act
Notes to Pages 37–38 [ 13 7 ]
1, scene 3]; Robert I. Lublin, Costuming the Shakespearean Stage: Visual Codes of Representation in Early Modern Theatre and Culture (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), 161. 23. Andrew Colin Gow, The Red Jews: Antisemitism in an Apocalyptic Age, 1200– 1600 (New York: Brill, 1995), 120. See also Steyn, “Charles Dickens,’ ” 45. 24. Gow, The Red Jews, 48. 25. Felsenstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 31. See also Gross, Shylock, 128. 26. Fernando Ortiz, Historia de una pelea cubana contra los demonios (La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1975), 428; “Los judíos en aquellos siglos solían ser considerados como pelirrojos; así los pintaban con frecuencia los grandes artistas. En los oleos de la Pasión, sus personajes deicidas, Judas sobre todo, aparecían con barbas taheñas, con cabellos bermejos. Era costumbre arraigada.” 27. Nina M. Scott, “Introduction,” in Sab and Autobiography, by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, trans. and ed. Nina M. Scott (Austin: U of Texas P, 1993), xxi. 28. N. Scott, “Introduction”; Carlos M. Raggi, “Influencias inglesas en la obra de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda,” in Homenaje a Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, ed. Gladys Zaldívar and Rosa Martínez de Cabrera (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1981): 37–49. For more on the literary Shylock figure, see Gross, Shylock; Debré, The Image of the Jew, 25–35; Landa, The Jew in Drama; M. J. Landa, The Shylock Myth (London: Allen, 1942). 29. See N. Scott, “Introduction,” xxi; and Raggi, “Influencias.” According to Debra J. Rosenthal, Gómez de Avellaneda “voraciously read [ . . . ] Shakespeare” (Race Mixture in Nineteenth-Century U.S. and Spanish American Fictions: Gender, Culture, and Nation Building [Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2004], 69). Brigida Pastor notes that the author often employed Shakespearean characters in her plays (“Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda 1814–1873,” in Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature, ed. Verity Smith [Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997], 375). 30. Richard F. Whalen, Shakespeare—Who Was He? The Oxford Challenge to the Bard of Avon (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994); Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, ed. Davies, 119, 190–91. 31. Jacobson, Whiteness, 174. 32. Jacobson, Whiteness, 138, 199. 33. Jacobson, Whiteness, 10. 34. Jacobson, Whiteness, 50. Garb writes of “texts that are saturated with notions of Jewishness and its embodiment in the figure of the Jew. Verbal description constructs visual image” (“Introduction,” 29). 35. Jacobson, Whiteness, 131. This reading is also informed by Garb’s “Introduction,” in which she writes: This otherness expressed itself in the stigmata of difference which were inscribed on the Jewish body, in the language that Jews spoke,
[ 138 ] Notes to Pages 38–40
the manner of their thinking, and the patterns of their behavior. In the racialized body of the Jew was expressed “his” cultural and psychic otherness, an otherness which would persist even when the disguises of assimilation and integration had rid the body of its outward signifiers of difference. In the mind of the anti-Semite, nothing, not even the most accomplished performances of the assimilated cosmopolitans of the modern period, could eradicate their essential identity as Jews. (23)
36. Tomich, “The Wealth,” 8; Thomas, Cuba, 72–84, 193, 526. 37. Tomich, Through the Prism, 60, 77–78, 126. 38. Tomich, Through the Prism, 127; see also 79, 130. 39. Tomich, Through the Prism, 113, 132. 40. Tomich, Through the Prism, 65, 85; Knight, Slave Society, 39. 41. Tomich, Through the Prism, 84; Knight, Slave Society, 39. 42. David R. Murray, Odious Commerce: Britain, Spain and the Abolition of the Cuban Slave Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980), 1. 43. Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 75; Bergad, “Slave Prices,” 632; Tomich, Through the Prism, 86, 125; Knight, Slave Society, 32. 44. Tomich, Through the Prism, 85, 132. 45. Fernando Ortiz describes the industry’s “extranjerismo capitalista” (Contrapunteo, 97); see also 90; Tomich, Through the Prism, 58; see also 63–64, 78–79. 46. Eric J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: The Birth of the Industrial Revolution (London: Penguin, 1999), 113; Tomich, Through the Prism, 78. Williams finds that “the two Englishmen were also a convenient target onto whom the novel’s implied readers could displace their resentment at the curtailment of the Hispanic will to power posed by British preeminence in the economic domain” (The Representation of Slavery, 110). 47. Tomich, Through the Prism, 78. 48. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire, 113. 49. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire, 118; Tomich, Through the Prism, 61, 63–64, 83; see also Ghorbal, Réformisme, 201–2. 50. Tomich, Through the Prism, 83; see also 63. 51. Moreno, El ingenio, 375–78; Tomich, Through the Prism, 129–30. 52. Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 89; Knight, Slave Society, 33. 53. Tomich, Through the Prism, 79, 78. 54. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 9 (act 1, scene 3); Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island, 33–81. 55. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 47–48. 56. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 47; “The venom spattered over the Jew was meant to spill over the new, frightening and repelling order of society” (Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 46). 57. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 47. 58.
The first modern antisemites were spokesmen for anti-modernity, people like Fourier, Proudhon, Toussenel—united in their implacable
Notes to Pages 40–42 [ 139 ]
hostility to the power of money, capitalism, technology and the industrial system. The most virulent antisemitism of early industrial society was associated with anti-capitalism in its pre-capitalist version; such opposition to the advancing capitalist order as could still hope to stem the tide, to arrest the development, to restore the real or imaginary “natural” order which the new money barons were set to dismantle. [ . . . ] By definition, the anti-modernist version of antisemitism could retain its appearance of rationality, and its popular appeal, as long as the hope to arrest the advance of the new order and to replace it with a petty-bourgeois utopia masquerading as the lost paradise, seemed feasible and realistic. (Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 47)
Kutzinski explains that “unlike the majority of Plácido’s poems, ‘La flor de la caña’ does not attempt to reverse the effects of industrialization and the rise of capitalism by seeking refuge in pastoral romance” (Sugar’s Secrets, 99). 59. This is the subject of Murray’s Odious Commerce. See especially 22–39. It is also studied by Paquette in Sugar Is Made with Blood and Thomas in Cuba (93). 60. The 1817 treaty was titled Tratado entre S. M. el rey de España y de las Indias, y S. M. el rey del Reino Unido de la Gran Bretaña e Irlanda. Para la abolición del tráfico de negros, concluido y firmado en Madrid en 23 de setiembre de 1817. According to this bilateral agreement, Spain was to ban the trade in its territories as of May 30, 1820. Great Britain paid the Spanish government 400,000 silver sterlings, which were to go toward recompensing the slave merchants. The treaty called for the establishment of a mixed tribunal in Havana and one in Sierra Leone to judge possible infractions to the ban as well as the right of each country to search the other’s ships (Ghorbal, Réformisme, 140; see also Murray, Odious Commerce, 50–113; Thomas, Cuba, 94). The treaty of 1835 closed certain “large loophole[s] through which the crafty and unscrupulous slave traders could evade seizure” (Murray, Odious Commerce, 70; see also 100). This treaty was titled Tratado entre su Magestad la Reina de España y su Magestad el Rey del Reino Unido de la Gran Bretaña e Irlanda para la abolición del tráfico de esclavos, concluido y firmado en Madrid en 28 de Junio de 1835 (see Murray, Odious Commerce, 92–113). 61. Thomas, Cuba, 202–3; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 30 n46; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 161–67. 62. Moreno, El ingenio, 407; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 9, 96–103, 139, 151; Murray, Odious Commerce, 114–80. 63. See Murray, Odious Commerce, 92–158; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 131–266; Brickhouse, Transamerican, 135; Thomas, Cuba, 202–4. 64. Miguel Tacón, Correspondencia reservada del Capitán General Don Miguel Tacón con el gobierno de Madrid, 1834–1836: El General Tacón y su época, 1834–1838 (La Habana: Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963), 255; “En [mi comunicacion de 31, de Agosto del año prócsimo pasado] hice preste. con datos
[ 140 ] Notes to Pages 42–43
y documentos justificativos, los incesantes trabajos de las asociaciones de los metodistas y demas que se dan el título de filántropos, de sus miras sobre la Isla de Cuba, y de medios de que se válen para acelerar su pérdida, aunque sea precediendo una horrorosa catástrofe.” See also, for example, Tacón’s letters from August 31, 1836, and January 1, 1838. 65. Murray, Odious Commerce, 117. 66. Quoted in José Luciano Franco, Comercio clandestino de esclavos (La Habana: Ciencias Sociales, 1980), 274; “Por otra parte, todos ellos consideraban la abo lición como una calamidad, como un medio inícuo [sic] de que se valían los ingleses para acabar con el azúcar y café de las Antillas españolas.” 67. Quoted in Luciano Franco, Comercio clandestino, 275; “el Gabinete inglés no tenía otras miras, sino la de arruinar las colonias españolas, y particularmente a Cuba, para adquirir el monopolio del azúcar y cafe [sic] en la India oriental, en sus Antillas y en el Brasil que consideraba como colonia suya.” 68. For more on Everett, see Murray, Odious Commerce, 106. 69. Domingo Del Monte, Alexander Hill Everett, and Sophie Andioc Torres, La Correspondance entre Domingo Del Monte et Alexander Hill Everett (Paris: l’Harmattan, 1994), 60–61; “república-militar-negra, bajo la inmediata protección británica.” The phrases given in italics here and in text are boldface in original. 70. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 605–14; see also Antonio Benítez Rojo, “Azúcar/poder/ literatura,” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos: Revista Mensual de Cultura Hispánica 451–52 (Jan.–Feb. 1988): 213; Murray, Odious Commerce, 163–80; Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 29; Thomas, Cuba, 207. BuscagliaSalgado discusses the Ladder Conspiracy but not Del Monte’s role in it (Undoing Empire, 221–22). 71. Adriana Méndez Rodenas, Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba: The Travels of Santa Cruz y Montalvo, Condesa De Merlin (Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 1998), 220. 72. María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, comtesse de Merlin, “Les Esclaves dans les colonies espagnoles,” Revue des Deux Mondes 4.26 (1841): 736–37; “Il est rare qu’une révolte de nègres dans les habitations de l’île n’ait pas été excitée par des agents anglais.” 73. Murray, Odious Commerce, 169; “Anglophobia spread across the land in the early 1840s” (Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 140). In her reading of Sab, Williams also mentions how “in the 1820s and 1830s Cuban intellectuals believed that British proposals to end the slave trade and the eventual abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean were less humanitarian gestures than disingenuous attempts to create new markets for British goods and services and thereby promote the interests of British merchants and manufacturers at the expense of Spain and her remaining colonies” (The Representation of Slavery, 112). 74. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 73; “—Basta, Sab, basta— interrumpió don Carlos con cierto disgusto; porque siempre alarmados los
Notes to Pages 43–44 [ 1 4 1 ]
cubanos, después del espantoso y reciente ejemplo de una isla vecina, no oían sin terror en la boca de un hombre del desgraciado color cualquiera palabra que manifestase el sentimiento de sus degradados derechos y la posibilidad de reconquistarlos” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 101). 75. Thomas, Cuba, 89. Fischer too references this trope (Modernity, 312 n25). Susan Kirkpatrick writes that “Sab concretizes the historical threat felt by Cubans during the century following the Haitian revolution insofar as he protests with all his passionate soul against the social order that makes his dream of love an impossible fantasy” (Las Románticas: Women Writers and Subjectivity in Spain, 1835–1850 [Berkeley: U of California P, 1989], 153–54). 76. The betrothal of Enrique and Carlota in Sab has clear autobiographical resonances. In her autobiography, Gómez de Avellaneda writes of her own engagement: “The bridegroom [ . . . ] neither loved me (just as I had always thought) nor hated me. He wanted to settle down with a girl of his family who was innocent and to some degree pretty. My grandfather had told him that I was the one he was looking for and that he would leave me his entire fifth (certainly no paltry amount) if I married him. This was what had convinced and motivated him” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 7); “El novio [ . . . ] ni me amaba (según he creído siempre) ni me aborrecía. Deseaba establecerse con una de su familia, que tuviese inocencia y alguna hermosura. Mi abuelo había dicho que yo era la que buscaba, y que me daría además todo su quinto (que ciertamente no era despreciable), si me casaba con aquel hombre. Esto le había decidido a él y esto era lo que le movía” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Autobiografía y Epistolarios de amor [Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 1999], 59). 77. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 97: —¡Sab!—dijo entonces con trémula voz—, ¿me habrás llamado a este sitio para descubrirme algún proyecto de conjuración de los negros? ¿Qué peligro nos amenaza? ¿Serás tú uno de los . . . ? —No—la interrumpió él con amarga sonrisa—, tranquilizaos, Teresa, ningún peligro os amenaza; los esclavos arrastran pacientemente su cadena: acaso sólo necesitan para romperla, oír una voz que les grite: ¡Sois hombres! pero esa voz no será la mía, podéis creerlo—. (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 133)
78. Williams also notes “Gómez de Avellaneda’s immediate move to reassure her intended audience” in this scene, though our readings differ (The Representation of Slavery, 102). 79. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 99: —Soy muy desgraciado, es verdad—respondióla con voz sombría—; vos no lo sabéis todo; no sabéis que ha habido momentos en que la desesperación ha podido hacerme criminal. Sí, vos no sabéis qué culpables deseos he formado, qué sueños de cruel felicidad han salido
[ 142 ] Notes to Pages 44–45
de mi cabeza abrasada . . . arrebatar a Carlota de los brazos de su padre, arrancarla de esa sociedad que se interpone entre los dos, huir a los desiertos llevando en mis brazos a ese ángel de inocencia y de amor . . . ¡Oh, no es esto todo! He pensado también en armar contra nuestros opresores, los brazos encadenados de sus víctimas; arrojar en medio de ellos el terrible grito de libertad y venganza; bañarme en sangre de blancos; hollar con mis pies sus cadáveres y sus leyes y perecer yo mismo entre sus ruinas. (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 136)
80. See H. L. Malchow, Gothic Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1996), 187; Taguieff, The Force, 219–21. 81. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 80. 82. Rebecca Scott writes: Free persons of color constituted an uncertain element in the colonial equation. The Spanish administration had long sought to use them as a counterweight to the slave population, even to the extent of arming battalions of free mulattos and blacks. In the 1840s, however, authorities suspected free persons of color of collaboration in a rumored general slave uprising and arrested, tortured, and executed members of Cuba’s precarious free colored middle sector. The colored small-scale farmers, tenants, and squatters in the east, where in most districts they outnumbered slaves, were a similar unknown in the balance of power. As in virtually all slave societies, mulatto free persons had often sought to distance themselves from blacks in an effort both to avoid the “stain” of shared slave ancestry and to assert the importance of differences in social status and gradations of skin color. At the same time, however, slaves and free persons of color had often been joined by ties of kinship and shared membership in the cabildos de nación, particularly in the towns. (Slave Emancipation, 9)
83. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, xxii. 84. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 53; “una libertad largo tiempo ofrecida y repetidas veces rehusada” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 74). Nina Scott translates “rehusada” as “withdrawn,” which I have modified. It is clear that it is Sab who refuses his freedom here and elsewhere in the novel. In one illustrative instance, Enrique thanks Sab for saving his life and says, “Carlota has already given you your freedom, and I will reward the service you have done me even more generously,” to which Sab responds, “I do not deserve any reward” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 65). 85. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 50; “Diversos pensamientos más sombríos, más terribles, eran sin duda los que ocupaban el alma del esclavo [ . . . ] La tempestad estalla por fin súbitamente [ . . . ] El joven inglés se vuelve con un movimiento de terror hacia su compañero” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 70).
Notes to Pages 45–46 [ 1 4 3 ]
86. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 50; “ensangrentado y sin sentido en lo más espeso del bosque” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 71). 87. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 50–51: ¡Sin sentido! ¡Moribundo! . . . Mañana llorarían a Enrique Otway muerto de una caída, víctima de su imprudencia . . . nadie podría decir si esta cabeza había sido despedazada por el golpe o si una mano enemiga había terminado la obra. [ . . . ] Crujieron sus dientes y con brazo vigoroso levantó en el aire, como a una ligera paja, el cuerpo esbelto y delicado del joven inglés. Pero una súbita e incomprensible mudanza se verifica en aquel momento en su alma. (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 71)
88. See Malchow, Gothic, 41–123. 89. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 109: ¿Concebís todo lo que hay de horrible en la unión del alma de Carlota y el alma de Enrique? Tanto valdría ligar al águila con la serpiente, o a un vivo con un cadáver. ¡Y ella habrá de jurar a ese hombre amor y obediencia!, ¡le entregará su corazón, su porvenir, su destino entero! . . . , ¡ella se hará un deber de respetarle! ¡Y él . . . , él la tomará por mujer, como a un género de mercancía, por cálculo, por conveniencia . . . , haciendo una especulación vergonzosa del lazo más santo, del empeño más solemne!, ¡a ella, que le dará su alma, y él será su marido, el poseedor de Carlota, el padre de sus hijos! . . . ¡Oh, no, no, Teresa! Hay un infierno en este pensamiento . . . lo veis, no puedo soportarlo . . . ¡imposible! Y era así, pues corría de su frente un helado sudor, y sus ojos desencajados expresaban el extravío de su razón. Teresa le hablaba con ternura, ¡pero en vano!, un vértigo se había apoderado de él. (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 148)
I modify Scott’s translation of “el extravío de su razón” as “showed that his reason wandered.” 90. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 62; “Diríase que estaba intimidado al aspecto colérico de Jorge si el encarnado que matizó en un momento el blanco amarillento de sus ojos, y el fuego que despedían sus pupilas de azabache, no diesen a su silencio el aire de la amenaza más bien que el del respeto” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 86). 91. In her Autobiografía, Gómez de Avellaneda explains that her father, who died when she was nine, predicted “that Cuba would suffer the same fate as that of a neighboring island, seized by the blacks” (2); (“pronosticando a Cuba una suerte igual a la de otra isla vecina, presa de los negros” 51). Gómez de Avellaneda certainly had Cuban as well as Spanish readers in mind when writing Sab. Copies of the novel were sent to Havana and confiscated at the port in 1844.
[ 144 ] Notes to Pages 46–47
92. Kari J. Winter, Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change: Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790–1865 (Athens: U of Georgia P, 1992), 29. 93. Sommer, Foundational, 121. 94. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 63; “dulce fisonomía” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 87). 95. See Frederic Cople Jaher, A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1994), 158; Garb, “Introduction,” 26–27; Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 125–39. 96. Cheyette, Diasporas of the Mind, 192. Earlier, Cheyette writes of Philip Roth “reversing the Shylockian stereotype of the transformative ‘dark beauty’ ” (Diasporas of the Mind, 191). 97. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 43; “pues aunque fuese el joven tan codicioso como su padre era por lo menos mucho más disimulado” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 61). I have modified Scott’s quote, which reads: “for although the young man was as covetous as his father, he was at least much more able to dissemble.” 98. Quoted in Richard Taylor, Film Propaganda: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998), 179. 99. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 105; “es su Dios” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 143). In this regard, it is intriguing that Sab’s given name is Bernabé, the Hispanicized version of the biblical name Barnabas, an early apostle and defender of the new faith against Judaism (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 44). For more on Barnabas’s role in “the start of a genuine Christianity clearly distinguished from Judaism,” see Bernd Kollmann, Joseph Barnabas: His Life and Legacy (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004), 24. 100. Worn by medieval Jews, the “Jew badge,” Rosemary R. Ruether explains, was “usually a yellow circle, symbolic of the Jew as a betrayer of Christ for ‘gold,’ an image which fused religious with economic anti-Semitism” (“The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism,” 39). Kutzinski refers to the illustrations on the borders of tobacco marquillas as providing “an authenticating iconography” (Sugar’s Secrets, 53). 101. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 49; “la felicidad de poseerla” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 70). 102. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 61; “—¡Bah! ¡Bah! —interrumpió Jorge con impaciencia— ¿y qué hace de todo eso un marido? Un comerciante, Enrique, ya te lo he dicho cien veces, se casa con una mujer lo mismo que se asocia con un compañero, por especulación, por conveniencia. La hermosura, el talento que un hombre de nuestra clase busca en la mujer con quien ha de casarse son la riqueza y la economía” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 85). 103. Nochlin, “Starting with the Self,” 12. 104. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 47; “educado según las reglas de codicia y especulación, rodeado desde su infancia por una atmósfera
Notes to Pages 47–49 [ 1 4 5 ]
mercantil, por decirlo así, era exacto y rígido en el cumplimiento de aquellos deberes que el interés de su comercio le imponía” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 66). 105. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 64; Garb, “Modernity,” 28. This discussion is informed by Kutzinski: “This kind of doubling recalls paintings like Manet’s Olympia, in which a white female figure is paired with a black figure, by the nineteenth century usually of the same gender, so as to imply their sexual similarity [ . . . , thus] her [the black figure’s] role is to sexualize her companion” (Sugar’s Secrets, 64). Later Kutzinski adds, “The calesero’s accessory function in these scenes is similar to that of the older black woman in Landaluze’s La mulata, in that his presence helps contemporaneous viewers identify the mulata’s hidden blackness as a condition of socio-sexual delinquency” (71). 106. Žižek, The Sublime, 89. For more on Cuban creoles’ efforts to stimulate European immigration to the island in the nineteenth century, see Ghorbal, Réformisme, 191–97. 107. Žižek, The Sublime, 89. Žižek is also quoted in Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 6–7, and again on 173. Graff Zivin adds: “On the other hand, there is a particular anxiety provoked by the converso, which in some cases is stronger than toward the ‘Jew’ himself. I argue that this is connected to the instability of this intermediate category” (27). 108. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 56, 52. I have not maintained the original’s italics. 109. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 149. This conversation is also informed by Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 58–61. 110. Verena Martinez-Alier, Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1989), 15. 111. Martinez-Alier, Marriage, 75. 112. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 60; “Gracias al cielo y a mi prudencia nuestro mal estado no es generalmente conocido, y en este país nuevo la llamada nobleza no conoce todavía las rancias preocupaciones de nuestra vieja aristocracia europea” (84). 113. Born in Colombia, the abolitionist Félix Tanco y Bosmeniel moved to Cuba at a young age. In “Petrona y Rosalía,” one of the island’s first antislavery texts, we read of the “más rancios linajudos de la monarquía,” to offer one example of the adjective’s use (in Cuentos cubanos del siglo XIX, Antología, ed. Salvador Bueno [La Habana: Arte y Literatura, 1970], 103). 114. Cheyette discusses the textual Jew’s “racial slipperiness” (“Neither Black nor White,” 39); Bauman, from whom this argument benefits, explains: It was, on the other hand, most intimately related to the intensity of anxieties and tensions provoked or generated by the collapse of the ancien régime and the advent of the modern order. The old securities
[ 146 ] Notes to Pages 49–50
disappeared, while the new ones were slow to emerge and unlikely to attain the solidity of the old. Age-long distinctions were ignored, safe distances shrank, strangers emerged from their reserves and moved next door, secure identities lost durability and conviction. Whatever remained of old boundaries needed desperate defence, and new boundaries had to be built around new identities—this time, moreover, under conditions of universal movement and accelerating change. Fighting the “slime,” the archetypal enemy of clarity and security of borderlines and identities, had to be a major instrument in the implementation of both tasks. It was bound to reach an unprecedented ferocity, as the tasks themselves were of an unprecedented magnitude. (Modernity and the Holocaust, 40)
115. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 40–44. Taguieff discusses “mixophobia” (The Force, 214–15, 221). 116. Williams discusses “the Englishman’s estrangement from the realm of nature,” and Sab’s “harmony with his environment,” in The Representation of Slavery, 103. Our conclusions regarding this observation differ. 117. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 46; “conocidos de todos los cubanos” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 65). 118. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 47; “conoces a palmo este país” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 67). 119. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 77; Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 107. 120. Enrique is referred to as “el inglés” nine times in Sab, ed. Davies (58, 63, 66, 70, 86, 107, 141, 158, 159), and as “el extranjero” eleven (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 80, 89, 140, 141). This discussion is informed by Steyn: “Fagin is chronicled as an alien estranged from the habits and values of contemporary life. His strangeness, his out-of-placeness, is shown plainly in Oliver introduced to the Respectable Old Gentleman” (“Charles Dickens,’ ” 50). 121. Davies, “Introduction,” 18–19. 122. “In stating that black men are attacked bodily and as individuals, and Jews as a group or collective, Fanon, as Ann Pellegrini has noted, ‘effectively denies Jewish men personality and particularity’ ” (Cheyette, Diasporas of the Mind, 68). 123. Davies, “Introduction,” 19. 124. Saco, at different times, advocated both of these positions. For his promotion of whitening the island’s Afro-descendants through miscegenation, see his “Carta de un cubano a un amigo suyo,” in Colección de papeles científicos, históricos, políticos, y de otros ramos sobre la isla de Cuba, vol. 3 (La Habana: Editorial Nacional de Cuba, 1963), 224. He advocates removing blacks from Cuba to Africa in Análisis de una obra sobre Brasil, in Colección de papeles científicos, históricos, políticos, y de otros ramos sobre la isla de Cuba, vol. 2 (La Habana: Editorial Nacional de Cuba, 1963), 74. See also Kutzinski, Sugar’s
Notes to Pages 51–52 [ 1 4 7 ]
Secrets, 18, and Paquette, who writes: “However much Tanco and the other members of the Del Monte circle contributed, their particularist vision of cubanidad would have emptied Cuba of its blacks, not only its slaves” (Sugar Is Made with Blood, 101). 125. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 185. 126. David T. Haberly, Three Sad Races: Racial Identity and National Consciousness in Brazilian Literature (New York: Cambridge UP, 1983), 6. 127. Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 96. 128. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 69. 129. It is clear that my reading is at odds with that of William Luis, who argues that, “in the antislavery works, blacks are not described as mere accidents of history but as an indispensable element of Cuban culture and nationality” (Literary Bondage: Slavery in Cuban Narrative [Austin: U of Texas P, 1990], 2). 130. Kirkpatrick, La Románticas, 155. 131. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 144–45: ¡Oh, las mujeres!, ¡pobres y ciegas víctimas! Como los esclavos, ellas arrastran pacientemente su cadena y bajan la cabeza bajo el yugo de las leyes humanas. Sin otra guía que su corazón ignorante y crédulo eligen un dueño para toda la vida. El esclavo al menos puede cambiar de amo, puede esperar que juntando oro comprará algún día su libertad: pero la mujer, cuando levanta sus manos enflaquecidas y su frente ultrajada, para pedir libertad, oye al monstruo de voz sepulcral que le grita: —En la tumba. (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 194)
132. Susan Kirkpatrick, “Gendering the Liberal Romantic Subject,” in In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers, ed. Noël Valis and Carol Maier (Cranbury, NJ: Associated UP, 1990), 127. Williams too considers “the author’s intent to equate the situation of women with that of slaves” (The Representation of Slavery, 85). See also Davies, “Introduction,” 1, 19. 133. Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas, 157. 134. Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas, 138. 135. Gómez de Avellaneda, Autobiografía, 209; “¡Oh! ¡sí! Desgraciadamente hay en mí estas dos naturalezas poderosas del poeta y de la mujer.” 136. Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas, 146. 137. Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas, 140. 138. Though our conclusions in this regard differ, Kirkpatrick writes along the same lines: “Through the persona of Sab, in fact, speaks the subject of the autobiography” (Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas, 157). My reading owes much to Haberly’s discussion on Antônio de Castro Alves: “In reality, this poem as in his other major abolitionist works, Castro Alves was endeavoring to create metaphoric structures, based upon the traditions of Brazilian Romanticism, which would allow him to describe the effects of his own captivity.” Later he writes: “the noble slave, like the poet himself, is an emblem of suffering rather than a man of action” (Three Sad Races, 62, 63).
[ 148 ] Notes to Pages 52–54
139. Judith R. Berzon, Neither White nor Black: The Mulatto Character in American Fiction (New York: New York UP, 1978), 99. 140. “To this extent, the juxtaposition of the diasporic Jew [in Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks] (under the sign of the intellect and rationality) and the colonized black (under the sign of the body and irrationality) not only occurs on the level of history but also becomes the entwined style of the book” (Cheyette, Diasporas of the Mind, 58); Nancy Tischler quoted in Berzon, Neither White nor Black, 100. See also Buscaglia-Salgado, who discusses the mulatto as “caught in an existential conundrum that is a coupling of two divergent tendencies within one and the same movement” (Undoing Empire, 80), and Berzon, Neither White nor Black, 100. 141. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 97; “¡Teresa!, ¡entonces recordé también que era vástago de una raza envilecida! ¡entonces recordé que era mulato y esclavo . . . ! Entonces mi corazón abrasado de amor y de celos, palpitó también por primera vez de indignación, y maldije a la naturaleza que me condenó a una existencia de nulidad y oprobio” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 133). 142. Linda Martín Alcoff, Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (New York: Oxford UP, 2006), 186. 143. Kirkpatrick notes that “she completed [Sab] in manuscript around the time she wrote the autobiographical letter to Cepeda” (Las Románticas, 147). 144. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 72; “Me acuerdo de la vieja Martina—respondió el caballero—, su difunto hijo era un excelente sujeto, ella si mal no me acuerdo tiene sus puntos de loca: ¿no pretende ser descendiente de la raza india y aparenta un aire ridículamente majestuosa?” (100). 145. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 78; “salió a recibir a sus huéspedes con cierto aire ridículamente majestuoso y que podía llamarse una parodia de hospitalidad” (107). 146. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 83; “había recobrado su aire ridículamente majestuoso, y tal cual ella creía convenir a la descendiente de un Cacique” (115). 147. Taguieff, The Force, 218. 148. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 78; “Este color, empero, era todo lo que podía alegar a favor de sus pretensiones de india, pues ninguno de los rasgos de su fisonomía parecía corresponder a su pretendido origen” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 108). 149. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, Sab, 78; “superlativamente feo” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 108). 150. Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, Sab, 73; “lloro sí al recordar una raza desventurada que habitó la tierra que habitamos, que vio por primera vez el mismo sol que alumbró nuestra cuna, y que ha desaparecido de esta tierra de la que fue pacífica poseedora” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 101–2). 151. Sommer, Foundational, 244; Ted Henken, Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008), 35; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 200; Paquette,
Notes to Pages 54–55 [ 1 4 9 ]
Sugar Is Made with Blood, 35; José Barreiro, “Taíno Survivals: Cacique Panchito, Caridad de los Indios, Cuba,” in Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean: Amerindian Survival and Revival, ed. Maximilian Christian Forte (New York: Peter Lang, 2006); Davies, “Introduction,” 26. 152. Sommer, Foundational, 244. 153. The academy hasn’t helped in this regard. To cite one example, Maluquer de Motes writes of the “Indians’ disappearance” (“desaparición de los propios indios”) in “La burguesía catalana,” 18. 154. Buscaglia-Salgado discusses the “deactivation of the Indian claim to the land” in Las Casas’s Historia General de las Indias (Undoing Empire, 117). 155. Omi and Winant, Racial, 56. 156. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 175.
Chapter Three Eugenio María de Hostos, “La cuarterona,” in Hombres e ideas: Obras completas de Hostos, vol. 14 (1867; La Habana: Cultural, 1939), 75–76; Camilla Stevens, “ ‘Ponernos el espejo por delante’: Staging Race in Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s La cuarterona,” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 31.2 (Winter 2007): 231. 2. Eladio Cortés and Mirta Barrea-Marlys, Encyclopedia of Latin American Theater (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003), 443. 3. Stevens, “Ponernos,” 237. Wide-ranging and paradoxical conclusions regarding race and politics in the play are evinced by the variety of explanations for its Cuban setting, which range from Tapia’s supposed racism to censorship, to the author’s cosmopolitanism. See Stevens, “Ponernos,” 238–40; Marcela Saldivia-Berglund, “Engendering Race: (Mis)Representations of Blacks in Late Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rican Fiction (1890–1895),” Revista del CESLA 9 (2007): 90–92. 4. This discussion draws on Jacobson’s Whiteness of a Different Color, and especially this passage: “But this pretty story suddenly fades once one recognizes how crucial Europeans’ racial status as ‘free white persons’ was to their gaining entrance in the first place; how profoundly dependent their racial inclusion was upon the racial exclusion of others” (12); and “the period from the 1920s to the 1960s saw a dramatic decline in the perceived differences among these white Others. Immigration restriction, along with internal black migrations, altered the nation’s racial alchemy and redrew the dominant racial configuration along the strict, binary line of white and black, creating Caucasians where before had been so many Celts, Hebrews, Teutons, Mediterraneans, and Slavs” (14). Jon Stratton discusses “radical alterity” as follows: 1.
To put it another way, we can distinguish between two kinds of other. There is the other whose differences are thought of by the dominant group as being mundane, everyday and, in the end, eradicable. This
[ 150 ] Notes to Pages 56–57
other was thought of as assimilable, as transmutable into ‘us.’ Then there is the Other, comprising those whose differences are considered to be profound and ineradicable, differences which we may think of in terms of radical alterity, a Difference. This claim of radical alterity means that the members of this particular group are thought to be unassimilable. [ . . . ] Radical alterity describes, among other things, the Othering of a group often through claims to its essential difference, which constructs it as impossible to (be) assimilate(d)—as fundamentally different, not able to become the same. (Coming Out Jewish: On the Impossibility of Jewish Assimilation [New York: Routledge, 2000], 48, 52)
5. Jacobson, Whiteness, 12. 6. Stevens writes “La cuarterona makes a case for freedom and equality for blacks and whites” (“Ponernos,” 240). 7. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 598–614; Benítez Rojo, “Azúcar/poder/literatura,” 213; Murray, Odious Commerce, 166–80; Thomas, The Slave Trade, 748–50. 8. Ángel Acosta Quintero, José J. Acosta y su tiempo, vol. 1, Estudio Histórico (San Juan, PR: Sucesión de J. J. Acosta, 1899), 69–71. 9. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 162; “Con motivo de un duelo que tuve con un Capitán de Artillería que me desafió, a consecuencia de un encuentro en la calle en que luchamos por la acera, que no llevaba, y le correspondía; pero no le cedí por habérmela exigido con brusquedad, ordenó mi destierro de la Isla aquel Gobernador.” 10. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 178. 11. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 44. 12. Elsa Castro Pérez, Tapia: Señalador de caminos (San Juan, PR: Editorial Coqui, 1964), 145. 13. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 44. 14. Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Biblioteca histórica de Puerto-Rico, que contiene varios documentos de los siglos XV, XVI, XVII y XVIII, coordinados y anotados por D. Alejandro Tapia y Rivera (San Juan, PR: Impr. de Márquez, 1854), 6; “mis mas sinceras gracias, cuya vasta erudicion bibliográfica, é ilustrada crítica, así como la escelencia y bondad de su carácter, me han sido de gran utilidad en esta empresa.” 15. Alejandro y Tapia y Rivera, El bardo de Guamaní: Ensayos literarios (La Habana: Impr. del Tiempo, 1862), 10; “Durante su residencia en Madrid, desde principios de 1850 a fines de 1852, aleccionado y alentado por el distinguido e inolvidable don Domingo Delmonte [ . . . ] dio a luz una leyenda [La palma del cacique] y algunas otras composiciones y preparó la publicación de una Biblioteca Histórica de Puerto Rico, que verificó después a su retorno a aquella Isla.” 16. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 183; “El grandioso y erudito escritor y excelente literato americano don Domingo Delmonte, hombre de gusto exquisito, quien desterrado por Trueva de Cuba por abolicionista, residía en Madrid culti-
Notes to Pages 57–60 [ 15 1 ]
vando el trato de los mejores escritores y literatos, moviéndolos en un sabio y ameno círculo, me alentó con lisonjeras frases y cariñosos consejos.” 17. See Aguilera Manzano, La formación, 27–28; Benítez Rojo, “Azúcar/poder/ literatura,” 203–4; Luis, Literary Bondage, 28; Salvador Bueno, Las ideas literarias de Domingo Delmonte (La Habana: Comisión Nacional Cubana de la UNESCO, 1954), 21. Silvia Álvarez Curbelo reads Tapia’s Biblioteca histórica as a foundational text of the Puerto Rican nation (Un país del porvenir: El afán de modernidad en Puerto Rico (siglo XIX) [San Juan, PR: Callejón, 2001], 238). 18. Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona (Río Piedras, PR: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2003), 130. 19. I paraphrase Felsenstein, who writes that though Shylock may appear immutable, “the response to and interpretation of his character will inevitably vary in each age” (Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 17). This conversation is also informed by Shain, The Roots of Antisemitism, 7. 20. Goldberg, Racist Culture, 90. The original quote reads: “there is no generic racism, only historically specific racisms each with their own sociotemporally specific causes.” 21. Žižek, The Sublime, 48. 22. Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 16. 23. Williams writes of “Francisco’s nobility of soul” (in Anselmo Suárez y Ro mero’s eponymous novel) and later that “Francisco’s dignity calls attention to the gap between nobility of birth and nobility of manner” (The Representation of Slavery, 54, 59). 24. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 113. 25. In the nineteenth century, Puerto Rican hacendados pushed for the establishment of a bank, but their efforts were defeated by peninsular refaccionistas who were profiting by its inexistence (Ricardo R. Camuñas Madera, Hacendados y comerciantes en Puerto Rico en torno a la década revolucionaria de 1860 [Mayagüez, PR: Comisión Puertorriqueña para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América y Puerto Rico, 1993], 112). Replicating the experience of Cuban landowners, Puerto Ricans in need of funds were forced to borrow from peninsular merchants at high rates of interest. María Isabel Bonnin Orozco paints a picture not unlike that encountered in Cuba in “Las fortunas vulnerables: Comerciantes y agricultores en los contratos de refacción de Ponce, 1865–1875,” MA thesis, Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1984: The Puerto Rican economy during the nineteenth century was based on the exportation of raw materials and the importation of manufactured products. The merchant played the role of intermediary in this process, occupying a privileged role in the country’s economy. Thus, controlling the exchange of merchandise he monopolized the currency in circulation on the island. In the absence of a financial system, the financing contracts helped the merchants secure control
[ 152 ] Notes to Pages 60–61
of the circulating currency. The money the landowner received from the merchant to carry out production accumulated such incredibly high levels of interest that obtaining profits was made difficult. Most of production would end up in the hands of the merchant-moneylender, and he would sell the sugar in international markets receiving in exchange a currency more stable and devalued than that of the island. On the other hand, acting as intermediary between the goods produced on the island and the manufactured ones from the exterior, the merchant had the opportunity to establish commercial and financial links with metropolitan centers. These merchant-moneylenders obtained money abroad for which they paid between four and seven percent annually, which they then lent at between twelve and eighteen. La economía de Puerto Rico durante el siglo XIX se basó en la exportación de frutos del país y la importación de productos manufacturados. El comerciante jugó el papel de intermediario en este proceso, ocupando un lugar privilegiado en la economía del país. Así, al controlar el intercambio de mercancías monopolizó la moneda existente en la isla. En ausencia de un sistema financiero, los contratos de refacción ayudaron a los comerciantes a afianzar su control de la moneda circulante. El dinero que recibía el hacendado del comerciante para llevar a cabo su producción acumulaba intereses altísimos dificultando la obtención de ganancias. Al parar casi toda la producción a manos del comerciante prestamista, éste vendía el azúcar en los mercados internacionales recibiendo a cambio una moneda más estable y devaluada que la de la isla. Por otro lado, al actuar como intermediario de los frutos producidos sn [sic] la isla y de los manufacturados en el exterior, el comerciante tuvo la oportunidad de establecer vínculos comerciales y financieros en los centros metropolitanos. Estos comerciantes prestamistas obtenían dinero en el extranjero por el que pagaban el cuatro o el siete por ciento anual, que prestaba a su vez al doce o al dieciocho por ciento anual. (54)
Bonnin Orozco explains that high sugar prices and the “privilegio de ingenios” protected hacendados from foreclosure in the first half of the nineteenth century. Later in the century, and especially after Spain ended the “privilegio de ingenios” in Puerto Rico in 1865, factors such as the dropping price of Antillean sugar thanks to cheap European beet sugar and the inefficiency of Puerto Rican manufacturing techniques resulted in Spanish merchants appropriating many formerly creole-owned mills (Bonnin Orozco, “Las fortunas,” xi–xii, 48, 54–55). Silvia Álvarez Curbelo writes along the same lines: “in the Puerto Rican countryside, great and small landowners, day laborers and tenant farmers experienced the effects of the lack of currency, the peremptory foreclosure of properties for payment of debt, and inflation” (Un país, 21); “en los campos
Note to Page 61 [ 15 3 ]
puertorriqueños, grandes y pequeños propietarios, jornaleros y arrimados experimentaban los efectos de la insuficiencia monetaria, la ejecución perentoria de propiedades para el pago de deudas y la inflación.” The key difference between the two colonies, which this chapter explores, was the relatively smaller slave population in Puerto Rico. 26. Aguilera Manzano, La formación, 171. 27. Quoted in Murray, Odious Commerce, x. 28. Schmidt-Nowara recognizes that “Cuban planters had to worry not only about their own slaves but also about abolitionists in Madrid and Puerto Rico, who mobilized against Cuban slavery because of its centrality to the imperial order” (Empire and Antislavery, 174). 29. “Schuyler was keenly attuned to the vicissitudes of whiteness” (Jacobson, Whiteness, 123). 30. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 91; “Yo tengo que encondarme o enmarquesarme para que olviden que vine a América como polizón.” All translations of quotations from La cuarterona are mine. The original Spanish will be provided in the notes. 31. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 56; “un señor gordo y coloradote; una especie de tomate mayúsculo.” 32. Gow, The Red Jews, 181, 69. See also Cheyette, Diasporas of the Mind, 214; Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Antisemitism (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1943). 33. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 57; “tiene más dinero que un demonio.” 34. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 130; “por el vil interés de su codicia [ . . . ] la vendió antes de nacer.” 35. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 130; “yo debo presentarla ante Dios diciendo: Señor, tú la creaste tuya, y los hombres te la han robado. Ella que es tu hija, ha sido vendida como Tú también lo fuiste, por uno de los seres que venden su sangre, por uno de los Judas que existen en el mundo para cambiar las almas por dinero.” 36. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 87; “Bienaventurados los que lloran, porque ellos serán consolados.” (Deja de leer) ¡Ah! ¡quién tuviera en el alma la serenidad con que el divino profeta de Nazareth emitía estas palabras! ¡“Los que lloran serán consolados”! Quizá no soy digna de consuelo, pues en vano le busco. ¡Libro afectuoso, mi único amigo en esta soledad de mi existencia! Tus dulces palabras serían bálsamo eficaz para mi alma, si su herida no fuese incurable.
37. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 98; “¡Dios mío! Ya que aceptáis mi sacrificio, dadme las fuerzas necesarias para cumplirlo.” 38. Goldberg, Racist Culture, 91. 39. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 75; “Repito lo que sabes. (Con misterio) Estamos casi arruinados; los restos de nuestros bienes, un día cuantiosos, están próxi-
[ 154 ] Notes to Pages 62–64
mos al embargo. El padre de Emilia es uno de nuestros principales acreedores. A fuerza de ostentar ante sus ojos nuestra nobleza, el villano enriquecido se deslumbra y consiente en preferirte a muchos para yerno.” 40. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 78; “con urgencia.” 41. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 85; “La ejecución de nuestro mejor ingenio; lo único libre que nos quedaba.” 42. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 90; “No está muy boyante que digamos.” 43. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 46–47. 44. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 91; “Llamarse condesa es algo, pero lo de adquirir genealogías, usted mismo me ha dicho que es muy fácil.” 45. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 91; “No, señora. El mundo burlón distingue las legítimas de las supuestas, y por lo tanto aquéllas son preferibles. Tales cosas, aunque nada valen en apariencia, no dejan de darle a uno cierta importancia y son más positivas de lo que se piensa.” 46. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 93; “quiero dejar de ser el villano enriquecido; quisiera ser llamado Conde de la Edad Media.” 47. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 105; “Sí, Don Críspulo, estoy con usted en lo que me cuenta: esos nobles de ayer son insufribles, al paso que la gente de cuño viejo es más tratable. Ya se ve: en éstos es natural lo que en los otros artificio. Sobre todo los alias de que ya hemos hablado. . . . Sí, porque más bien parecen apodos que títulos.” 48. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 76; “A pesar de que [don Críspulo] no ignora el mal estado de nuestros intereses, hele hecho conocer que, con todo su dinero es Don Nadie, si no une su oro a lo que oro vale: la nobleza.” 49. My translation of Moreno, El ingenio, 109; “Dentro de la antigua superes tructura feudal el sacarócrata aparece como un nuevo rico. Son los advenedizos. Ser rico sin ser noble, era en rigor, algo indecente, pues el rango es lo que legitima la nobleza. Como hacia fines del XVIII el sacarócrata no ha cobrado todavía plena fe en sí mismo, son muchos los que se apresuran a comprar títulos nobiliarios. La Habana se llena de condes y marqueses.” 50. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 43–44; see also 46–47. 51. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 44. 52. “In the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella, ancestry continued to matter more than merit” (Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 111). 53. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 92; “En cuanto a mí, pudiera hacerme conde de Bemba o marqués de la Macagua, pero son solares muy nuevos y hasta oscuros.” 54. See Sander L. Gilman, “Sexology, Psychoanalysis, and Degeneration: From a Theory of Race to a Race to Theory,” in Degeneration: The Dark Side of Progress, ed. J. Edward Chamberlin and Sander L. Gilman (New York: Columbia UP, 1985), 77; Werner Sollors, Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (New York: Oxford UP, 1997), 247–84. 55. Jacobson, Whiteness, 234. 56. See Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 40–44.
Notes to Pages 64–67 [ 15 5 ]
57. Rebecca Aanerud, “Fictions of Whiteness: Speaking the Names of Whiteness in U.S. Literature,” in Displacing Whiteness: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism, ed. Ruth Frankenberg (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1997), 37. 58. Sollors, Neither Black nor White, 126. 59. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 43. 60. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 59; “¡Bonita hembra!” 61. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 60; “¡hermosa es!” 62. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 89; “es casi blanca o lo parece, es bonita, fina y elegante.” 63. Kutzinski’s discussion of Víctor Patricio Landaluze’s lithograph La mulata has been instructive here (Sugar’s Secrets, 61–64). 64. Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Obras completas, vol. 2 (San Juan, PR: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1968), 773; “pero nada de tizne, puesto que se trata de una mujer blanca en apariencia.” 65. Aanerud, “Fictions,” 37. This discussion is indebted to Susan Arndt’s analysis of Rebecca Aanerud’s piece in “Whiteness as a Category of Literary Analysis: Racializing Markers and Race Evasiveness in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace,” in Word and Image in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures, ed. Michael Meyer (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), 174, which reads: “this rhetorical pattern has situated whiteness as being ‘unraced,’ ‘normal,’ ‘neutral’ and universal,’ hence positioning it in an asymmetrical way as the ‘unmarked marker.’ ” 66. Arndt, “Whiteness as a Category,” 181. Aanerud, “Fictions,” 37. 67. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 89; “si no supiésemos que es hija de una mulata esclava, según se dice, tal vez la admitiríamos como a otros que tratan de disimular su origen entre las personas bien nacidas.” 68. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 104; “Usted me dirá, que por qué soy tan severa con ella, cuando hay tantos y tantas de su estofa en nuestra buena sociedad, que pasan por lo que no son.” 69. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 104; “Cualquiera diría que esta Emilia no tiene nada que echarse en cara en la materia; pero eso, ¿quién lo sabe? No será ella por cierto quien lo revele.” 70. Sollors acknowledges that “looking at the sign can also identify the observer who does not have it but whose gaze is directed at it on another character” (Neither Black nor White, 149). 71. I have benefitted from Cheyette’s analysis of the “black and white passing narrative, which ends the novel [Philip Roth’s The Human Stain] and replaces the narrative of postwar Jewish self-fashioning” (Diasporas of the Mind, 197). 72. Stevens, “Ponernos,” 240. 73. In the words of Ortiz, “the Cuban distinguishes in women from the darkest black to the golden white, with a long series of intermediary and intermingled pigmentations, and classifies them by color but also according to their allure and social rank” (Contrapunteo, 41); “el cubano distingue en las mujeres desde la negra retinta hasta la blanca dorada, con una larga serie de pigmentaciones
[ 156 ] Notes to Pages 67–69
intermedias y entremezcladas, y las clasifica a la vez según sus colores, atractivos y rangos sociales.” 74. Martinez-Alier, Marriage, 98. 75. Sollors, Neither Black nor White, 43; see also Jay Kinsbruner, Not of Pure Blood: The Free People of Color and Racial Prejudice in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1996), 26. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 89. 76. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 48–49; “la acogió y la ha educado con esmero; mi madre que la ama bondadosa.” 77. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 64; “los favores que desde la cuna recibí de su buena madre.” 78. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 68; “Julia, nacida tú en esta casa, has sido tratada siempre con cariño y educada con el esmero de una señorita.” 79. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 89; “La muchacha es crianza suya, como suele decirse, y la quiere y estima, habiéndola educado cual si fuese una joven decente.” 80. See, for example, Sollors’s discussion of Henriette Étiennette Fanny Arnaud Reybaud’s Valdepeiras from 1839 (Neither Black nor White, 172–73). 81. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 116; “Preciso es que salga ella de casa y que no vuelvan a verse.” 82. Stevens, to cite just one example, considers the play a “daring abolitionist drama” (“Ponernos,” 232). 83. Sommer, Foundational Fictions, 127. 84. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 48; “las palabras de Jorge me han revelado todo un mundo.” 85. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 45–47; Ella tenía buen cuidado de decirme: “Jorge, el niño Carlos, que no se olvida nunca de los que le aman, te envía memorias.” ¡Ah! Yo no sé lo que pasaba entonces por mí . . . Al saber que mi buen amito se acordaba de su pobre Jorge, lloraba de gusto, como lo hice de pena el día en que el niño se fue de La Habana. [ . . . ] ¡Oh! Yo sé lo que es llorar de contento; lloré así el día en que su merced volvió y me dio un abrazo [ . . . ]. Su merced ha sido siempre bueno con ella, conmigo y con todo el mundo; por eso todos le queremos tanto.
86. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 48; “Gracias, buen Jorge.” Fischer writes: “The romantically inclined submissive slave is clearly a phantasmagoric figure with little support in reality” (Modernity, 118). For some idea of the sorts of ways, both small and large, by which slaves resisted bondage, see Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 119; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 69–80; Thomas, Cuba, 37–38; Knight, Slave Society, 77–81. 87. The contemporary Cuban historian of slavery José Antonio Saco warns against the fusing of antislave trade positions and abolitionism in myriad treatises, essays, and letters. To offer one example, the first section of Saco’s La supresión
Notes to Pages 69–70 [ 15 7 ]
del tráfico de esclavos africanos en la isla de Cuba examinada con relacion a su agricultura y a su seguridad (Suppression of the African slave trade on the island of Cuba examined in relation to its agriculture and security) (Paris: Panckoucke, 1845) elaborates on this point expressly: “Everyone knows that, as regards slaves, there are two types of abolition: one of the traffic with the cost of Africa, and another of slavery itself. While both are related, they should never be confused, and the first may very well be dealt with, and what is more, realized, with absolute independence of the second” (3; emphasis in original); “Todos saben que, en punto á esclavos, hay dos especies de abolicion: una del tráfico con la costa de Africa, y otra de la misma esclavitud. Aunque ambas tienen relación entre sí, jamás deben confundirse, y bien puede la primera tratarse, y aún lo que es más, realizarse, con absoluta independencia de la segunda.” As Saco explains, he and his peers may have objected to the commerce in slaves, but this should not be conflated with advocating for an end to slavery, whose theoretical consequences, a Haitian-like slave revolution, they found terrifying: “what begins by suddenly liberating all the slaves will end with slitting the throats of whites” (La supresión, 4); “que empezando por dar de un golpe la libertad á todos los esclavos, acabará por degollar á los blancos.” Raúl Cepero Bonilla was an early Cubanist to make this point, which was lost on later scholars: “Their attitude contrary to the trade has been, erroneously, interpreted as abolitionist” (Azúcar y abolición, 11); “Su actitud contraria al tráfico ha sido, erróneamente, interpretada como abolicionista.” Fischer avoids this inaccuracy, noting that the “main aim” of the “liberal Creole elites [ . . . ] was to stop the trade” (Modernity, 109), as does Davies, who notes that the “Cuban abolitionists [ . . . ] wanted to end the slave trade but not slavery” (“Introduction,” 9). Ghorbal argues this point convincingly (Réformisme, 186). 88. Sommer, Foundational, 49. Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona, 125–26; “Partiré, llevaré conmigo a Julia, si quiere seguirme, a otros países en donde no imperan estas mezquinas preocupaciones coloniales.” 89. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 16, 17, 32–36. 90. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 14, 366; see also Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 83–85. 91. Tomich, “The Wealth of Empire,” 4; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 83. 92. Tomich, “The Wealth of Empire,” 8, 4. See also Moreno, El ingenio, 55; Ely, Cuando reinaba su majestad el azúcar (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1963), 82–83; Murray, Odious Commerce, 10, 12; Thomas, Cuba, 72–84. 93. Francisco de Arango y Parreño, Obras, vol. 1 (La Habana: Imagen Contemporánea, 2005), 159–60; “Nada será más útil que alentar con premios y con ensayos nuestro comercio directo a las costas de África, y para esto convendría fundar establecimientos en la misma costa o en su vecindad. [ . . . ] Esto es urgente en el día. Es menester considerar que los negros ya escasean, y que en
[ 158 ] Notes to Page 71
las circunstancias presentes hay más necesidad de ellos que nunca.” See also Tomich’s “The Wealth of Empire,” especially 10–13. 94. Arango y Parreño, Obras, vol. 2, 335; “asqueroso comercio.” See also Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 83–85; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 16. 95. Tomich, Through the Prism, 77. See also Schmidt-Nowara, who writes: “one must understand the rise and fall of Antillean slavery as happening within an imperial and an Atlantic context. The unit of analysis is the imperial system as it existed in relation both to local factors and to the broader Atlantic world” (Empire and Antislavery, 38–39). Paquette is far from the only discerning reader who has referred to Félix Tanco’s “Petrona y Rosalía,” Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés, and Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s Francisco as “antislavery novels” (Sugar Is Made with Blood, 100). Antonio Benítez Rojo’s influential “Azúcar/Poder/Literatura” is a case in point of the binary thinking that I would like to complicate: “Nevertheless, one must not forget that the reforms proposed by Saco stem from the conflict that characterized his entire group: on one side a profound racism and turbid desire to possess slaves, and on the other economic and moral reasons dictated by the epoch of industrial society’s consolidation” (207); “No obstante, no se debe olvidar que las reformas que Saco propone parten del conflicto que caracterizó a todo su grupo: de un lado un profundo racismo y un turbio deseo de poseer al negro, y del otro razones económicas y morales dictadas por la época de consolidación de la sociedad industrial.” 96. Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 57. 97. This intervention is especially indebted to Tomich’s Through the Prism of Slavery, in which he “rejects the either/or logic of internal/external; premodern/ modern; global/local that such conceptualizations such as that of Moreno Fraginals generate. Instead, it adopts a logic of both/and in order to integrate into a unified and comprehensive conceptual field the diverse relations of production, exchange, and political power constituting the capitalist world economy” (76–77). 98. Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, 101; Tomich, Through the Prism, 56–58. 99. Tomich, Through the Prism, 133; see also 56–71, 79–94. 100. Ortiz, Hampa, 85–86, 355–56; Knight, Slave Society, 11; Thomas, Cuba, 68–71; Tomich, “The Wealth of Empire,” 12; Moreno, El ingenio, 226. 101. Ortiz, Hampa, 87. Martín Rodrigo y Alharilla reviews the numbers calculated by other students of the Cuban slave trade in “Spanish Merchants and the Slave Trade: From Legality to Illegality, 1814–1870,” in Slavery and Antislavery in Spain’s Atlantic Empire, ed. Josep M. Fradera and Christopher SchmidtNowara (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 176. See also Thomas, Cuba, 95; Murray, Odious Commerce, 17–19. 102. Tomich, Through the Prism, 57. 103. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 14. See also Schmidt-Nowara’s discussion of how Spain “acted to consolidate the ‘second empire,’ a colonial order that would reign
Notes to Pages 72–73 [ 159 ]
until the Cuban and Spanish revolutions of 1868” (Empire and Antislavery, 16–17). 104. Murray, Odious Commerce, 191. 105. Murray, Odious Commerce, 91; see also 85. See also Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 15–36. 106. Thomas, Cuba, 169. 107. Moreno, El ingenio, 388; see also 217; “A partir de 1820, transformada en ‘contrabando’ la que hasta entonces fuera trata legal de negros, la importación de esclavos pasó a ser un negocio exclusivo de los comerciantes fieles a la política colonial de la burguesía española.” Rodrigo y Alharilla estimates that between 1820 and 1867 the illegal slave trade made profits of 61 million 1821 constant dollars (“Spanish Merchants,” 177). 108. Cited in Murray, Odious Commerce, 104. Josep Maria Fradera has calculated that 12.8 percent of the slave ships operating the Spanish colonies in the period 1790–1809 were Spanish owned; in the period 1810–1820 Spanish ships accounted for 92.2 percent of the trade. To be sure, Spanish merchants monopolized the trade by 1820 (cited in Rodrigo y Alharilla, “Spanish Merchants,” 182). 109. Moreno, El ingenio, 388. 110. Luciano Franco, Comercio clandestino, 120–22, 273–74; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 46–47; Thomas, Cuba, 93–98, 156; Thomas, The Slave Trade, 543; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 36, 47–48, 133–36; Murray, Odious Commerce, 8–19, 72–91. 111. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 92. 112. See Thomas, Cuba, 109–11, 196, 200–201; Le Riverend, Historia económica, 135–40; Knight, Slave Society, 23–24; Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 20–21; Murray, Odious Commerce, 91; Lisa Surwillo, Monsters by Trade: Slave Traffickers in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2014), 3. Lorna Williams considers “the displacement of the term slave from the socioeconomic domain to the political realm, which signifies that creole concern with political disenfranchisement came to overshadow public awareness of the slaves’ material suffering” (The Representation of Slavery, 145–46; see also 5). 113. Quoted in Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 32; “El miedo que le [sic] tienen los cubanos a los negros es el medio más seguro que tiene España para garantizar su dominación en aquella isla.” Paquette reports that “Spanish officials baldly confessed to the use of slavery to secure their ‘most precious jewel’ to the imperial crown” (Sugar Is Made with Blood, 81). 114. Quoted in Murray, Odious Commerce, 227. 115. Información: Reformas de Cuba y Puerto Rico, vol. 1 (New York: Hallet Breen, 1867), 103, 104; “equilibrio de las razas.” This is also discussed in Arthur F. Corwin, Spain and the Abolition of Slavery in Cuba, 1817–1886 (Austin: U of Texas P, 1967), 197, in Murray, Odious Commerce, 150, and in Ghorbal, Ré-
[ 160 ] Notes to Pages 73–74
formisme, 501. Thomas acknowledges: “Controlling the army, Spanish colonial ministers, captains-general and intendentes knew that the fear of a slave revolution would hold the ‘liberals’ to Spain” (Cuba, 81). See also Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 34–36. 116. Antonio Benítez Rojo, “The Nineteenth-Century Spanish American Novel,” in The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature, vol. 1, ed. Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique Pupo Walker (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996), 440. 117. Benítez Rojo, “The Nineteenth-Century Spanish American Novel,” 440; Murray, Odious Commerce, 107. 118. Murray, Odious Commerce, 107; see also 129–30. 119. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 437; see also 431–53. 120. Quoted in Ghorbal, Réformisme, 439; “Las gentes que tienen algo que perder en Cuba, no menos que los grandes propietarios y la clase comercial, conocen bien los peligros que encierra para la seguridad de sus personas y bienes el establecimiento de una Constitución, fundada en la libertad y la igualdad, porque estas palabras, que tan gratas resuenan a nuestros oídos, son allí palabras de exterminio y de muerte.” 121. Thomas, Cuba, 102; Murray, Odious Commerce, 149; Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 5, 14–36; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 221. 122. Ghorbal writes: “To fight against the trade thus became, in a certain way, to fight against the colonial system. In effect, the creole reformers had the feeling that the presence of a great number of slaves on their island constituted a brake on their quest for liberty, political and economic” (Ghorbal, Réformisme, 40; see also 139, 179–80, 442); “Lutter contre la traite revenait aussi, d’une certaine manière, à lutter contre le système colonial. En effet, les créoles réformistes avaient le sentiment que la présence d’un grand nombre d’esclaves dans l’île constituait un frein à leur quête de liberté, tant politique qu’économique.” Murray writes that the creole intellectuals “saw the existence of the slave trade, however, as one of the major obstacles in the way of political advances” (Odious Commerce, 128). For more on the short life of the Revista Bimestre Cubana, see Martínez Carmenate, Domingo Del Monte, 183–243. 123. Luciano Franco considers the slave merchant “the firmest support of the opprobrious colonial regime” (Comercio clandestino, 254–55); “el más firme sostén del oprobioso régimen colonial.” 124. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 102; “La esclavitud africana [ . . . ] contribuyó, no poco, a la par del funesto sistema colonial absolutista de que formaba parte, a impedirle todo descogimiento en la senda del progreso.” 125. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 36; “Hecho que hubiera sido de muy favorables consecuencias para la Isla, como es fácil de suponer. Pero no faltó quien dijese, que como cosa de abolicionistas ingleses, esta petición se hacía con el fin de sublevar las esclavitudes; verdad es, que estas se hallaban sobrado lejos de este puerto para temerse en realidad semejante cosa; pero se negó la petición.”
Notes to Pages 74–75 [ 161 ]
126. Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias, 182–83; “la base del sistema colonial y de la mayor parte de los males que lleva consigo.” 127. Corwin, Spain, 177, 189–214; Álvarez Curbelo, Un país, 114–39; SchmidtNowara, Empire and Antislavery, 100–25. 128. Corwin, Spain, 191–93; Álvarez Curbelo, Un país, 124–25; Información, 1: 47–48; Thomas, Cuba, 239. 129. Información, 1: 58; Trescientos setenta mil quinientos cincuenta y tres esclavos, que existen en Cuba, y mas de cuarenta y un mil que hay en Puerto-Rico, todos sin educacion religiosa, predispuestos al vicio y á la vagancia, con instinto salvajes y de abierta oposicion á la raza blanca ¿podrian, sin la ruina de esta, ser de repente llamados á la condicion de hombres libres, para que agregados á los 466.680 de la propia clase que existen en las Antillas, conciban el pensamiento de convertirse en Señores del territorio y destruir, si les fuera posible, la existencia de los que hasta ahora han sido sus dueños?
130. Información, 1: 59; “Estos Sres. [Acosta, Ruiz Bélviz, and Quiñones] animados sin duda del mejor deseo, no han fijado su consideracion sino en el reducido número de esclavos que existen en Puerto-Rico, y créen que breve y sencilla mente se les puede emancipar sin detenerse.” 131. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 102. 132. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 45–49; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 80, 87–88. 133. See Schmidt-Nowara’s discussion of the ways in which Puerto Rican liberals’ positions on the question of abolition differed from their Cuban counterparts (Empire and Antislavery, 37–50, 102). 134. Luis A. Figueroa, Sugar, Slavery, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2005), 111–12; Vanessa Michelle Ziegler, The Revolt of “the Ever-faithful Isle”: The Ten Years’ War in Cuba, 1868–1878 (Diss., U of California, Santa Barbara, 2007), 12; Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 127; Corwin, Spain, 211–14. 135. “The repudiation of race found in ‘Nuestra América’ was necessary inasmuch as Cuba’s struggle for independence was hampered by the failure to reconcile Cuba’s multiracial population to the idea of a Cuban nation” (Charles Hatfield, “The Limits of ‘Nuestra América,’ ” Revista Hispánica Moderna 63.2 [Dec. 2010]: 194). 136. Sollors, Neither Black nor White, 177. As Sibylle Fischer recognizes, “the more dangerous the slaves appeared to be, the more dependent Cuba was on the military presence of Spain” (Modernity, 117). 137. In this regard, the play echoes the common argument, “first made by Acosta in the 1850s, that racial antagonism had been overcome in Puerto Rico,” and the country was therefore “ready for liberal reforms” (Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 142).
[ 162 ] Notes to Pages 76–78
Chapter Four 1. Žižek, The Sublime, 48: “We must confront ourselves with how the ideological figure of the ‘Jew’ is invested with our unconscious desire, with how we have constructed this figure to escape a certain deadlock of our desire.” Also quoted in Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 8. Rodríguez describes it similarly, as a “dead-end street” (“Romanticismo literario,” 52); “callejón sin salida.” 2. Murray, Odious Commerce, 129–30. 3. Del Monte, Cénton epistolario, 1: 368; “la esclavitud de los negros es la causa de la esclavitud de los blancos.” Varela taught at the Seminario de San Carlos and had several of the liberal reformers of the ensuing generation as students, including Del Monte and Saco. See Aguilera Manzano, La formación, 14 n7, 24, 52, 52, 68–69. 4. See Benítez Rojo, “The Nineteenth-Century Spanish American Novel,” 440; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 101–2; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 184. Saco, for one, suggests following the example of the United States, where the slave trade had been banned and the American Colonization Society was sending freed African Americans to Africa: “They organize societies, gather funds, buy land on the African coast, establish colonies there, foment the emigration of colored people, and redoubling their efforts, if they have not obtained all they want, they have done all they can to merit the title of friends of humanity and nation” (Análisis por don José Antonio Saco de una obra sobre el Brasil, intitulada, Notices of Brazil in 1828 and 1829, by Rev. Walsh, author of a Journey from Constantinople, etc., in Obras [La Habana: Imagen Contemporánea, 2001], 2: 74); “organizan sociedades, reúnen fondos, compran terrenos en la costa de África, establecen allí colonias, fomentan la emigración de gente de color, y redoblando siempre sus esfuerzos, si no han conseguido cuanto desean, han hecho todo lo que pueden para merecer el título de amigos de la humanidad y de la patria.” 5. Domingo Del Monte, Escritos, 2 vols. (La Habana: Cultural, 1929), 1: 231; “la tarea, el conato único, el propósito constante de todo cubano de corazón y de noble y santo patriotismo, lo debe cifrar en acabar con la trata primero, y luego en ir suprimiendo insensiblemente la esclavitud, sin sacudimientos ni violencias; y por último, en limpiar a Cuba de la raza africana.” 6. Carlos J. Alonso observes the “signs of ideological dissension and tactical disagreement not only within del Monte’s group but in the Cuban intelligentsia of the time in its views regarding blacks, the slave trade, and the plantation system in general” (The Burden of Modernity: The Rhetoric of Cultural Discourse in Spanish America [New York: Oxford UP, 1998], 68). 7. Cirilo Villaverde, “Epistolario de Villaverde (1852–1892),” in Letras: Cultura en Cuba, vol. 4 (La Habana: Editorial Pueblo y Educación, 1987), 160; “La esclavitud del blanco en Cuba, -es la que más me preocupa ahora.” On the annexationist movement, see Herminio Portell-Vilá, Narciso López y su época (La Habana: Cultural, 1930); Murray, Odious Commerce, 33, 221–40; Louis A.
Notes to Pages 79–80 [ 163 ]
Pérez Jr., Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy (Athens: U of Georgia P, 2003), 29–82; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 38–52; Rodrigo Lazo, Writing to Cuba: Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2005); Thomas, Cuba, 99–100; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 146. 8. Cirilo Villaverde, “Prólogo (a la edición de 1882),” in Cecilia Valdés o La Loma del Ángel (Caracas: Biblioteca Ayachucho, 1981), 4; Lazo, Writing to Cuba, 171–72; Thomas, Cuba, 213. 9. Cirilo Villaverde, “El Sr. Saco con respecto á la Revolucion de Cuba,” La Verdad, Mar. 10, 1852: 1; En suma, Sr. Saco ¿quiénes con ánimo deliberado é infernal prevision estan echando los cimientos del imperio Negro de las Antillas, que si la América no lo abate en tiempo tiene de poner en peligro sus instituciones democrático-republicanas y aun su civilizacion algun dia? No otras que Inglaterra y Francia, las mismísimas potencias europeas cuyo amparo Vd. invoca para que “cubran a nuestra Isla con su ejida poderosa,” cosa que no se anecse á los Estados-Unidos, ni logren sus hijos sacudir el yugo de España, ni escapar pueda á la suerte que la Europa tiene reservada al resto de las antillas tanto inglesas, como francesas, holandesas y dinamarquesas.
10. José Antonio Saco, Ideas sobre la incorporación de Cuba en los Estados Unidos (Paris: Panckoucke, 1848), 6; the day in which the canon’s thunder frees them, that day the horrors of Saint Domingue will repeat themselves in Cuba. The Africans will be moved by the force of their instincts; they will be moved by the examples offered them by foreign Antilles; they will be moved by the fanaticism of abolitionist sects, that will not permit pass by the precious conjuncture, that then presents itself to consummate their plans;—they will be moved, finally, by the resources of foreign skill, that will know how to deftly take advantage of our errors and dissentions. el dia en que el trueno del cañon los separe, ese dia podrán renovarse en Cuba los horrores de Santo-Domingo. Moveránse allí los Africanos por la fuerza de sus instintos; moveránse por los ejemplos que les ofrecen las Antillas estranjeras; moveránse por el fanatismo de las sectas abolicionistas, que no dejarán escapar la preciosa coyuntura, que entónces se les presenta para consumar sus planes;—moveránse, enfin, por los resortes de la política estranjera, que sabrá aprovecharse diestramente de nuestros errores y disenciones.
11. As discussed in Chapter 1, Great Britain’s abolitionist assault, and especially its petitions to free all slaves introduced illegally—those arriving after October 30, 1820—were understood by many Cubans as efforts to effect sudden aboli-
[ 164 ] Notes to Pages 80–81
tion and therefore destroy the island. See, for example, “Informes relacionados con el proyecto de convenio propuesto por el Gobierno Inglés al de S. M. para la libertad de los negros introducidos de Africa desde el 30 de octubre de 1820. Habana, Matanzas, Puentes Grandes, Trinidad Ing. Sta. Rosa, Stgo. de Cuba y Puerto Príncipe, agosto-octubre, 1841,” Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Esclavitud en Cuba, Informe no. 3. 12. Thomas, Cuba, 111, 208–32; Pérez, Cuba and the United States, 34. Lazo informs that Villaverde undertook “the editorship of La Verdad from February to April 1852” and goes on to make this point: “Thus the paper [El Independiente] helps to establish that Villaverde was not an abolitionist from early on. [ . . . ] Conspicuously absent from the group of contributors to El Mulato, Villaverde was explicit in El Independiente about his concern for the future of Cuban whites rather than free blacks or slaves” (Writing to Cuba, 175, 176). Williams notes the proslavery position of the annexationist movement and Villaverde’s support of it (The Representation of Slavery, 146). 13. Luis, Literary Bondage, 100. 14. Fischer discusses the genre’s “ideological ambiguities” (Modernity, 108). Benítez Rojo writes of its “contradictions” (“Azúcar/Poder/Literatura,” 206); “contradicciones.” Williams mentions abolitionist fiction’s “contradictory imperatives” (The Representation of Slavery, 57). Rodríguez too argues that there is an incoherence between the delmontinos’ literary liberalism and their ambiguous, irresolute politico-economic posture. I will return to this conversation in the Conclusion (“Romanticismo literario,” 35–39). 15. Lazo argues differently, namely that we should read Cecilia Valdés in relation to the “filibustering expeditions and the political evolution of Cuban communities in the United States” (Writing to Cuba, 170). 16. Once again I remind that it is Ghorbal’s suggestion that we read the Cuban antislavery genre in terms of buen tratamiento (see note 85 of “La política”), and the present study has beneﬁtted greatly from Ghorbal’s two inquiries into the policy (“La política” and Réformisme, 321–80), as well as from the pages that Moreno dedicates to the program (El ingenio 329–38). 17. My intervention here is indebted to Tomich, who writes of adopting “a logic of both/and in order to integrate into a unified and comprehensive conceptual field the diverse relations of production, exchange, and political power constituting the capitalist world economy” (Through the Prism, 76–77). 18. Gilman, The Jew’s Body, 3. 19. “But this logic of metaphoric-metonymic displacement is not sufficient to explain how the figure of the Jew captures our desire; to penetrate its fascinating force, we must take into account the way ‘Jew’ enters the framework of fantasy structuring our enjoyment. Fantasy is basically a scenario filling out the empty space of a fundamental impossibility, a screen masking a void” (Žižek, The Sublime, 126; see also 124). 20. Tomich, Through the Prism, 57. 21. Tomich, Through the Prism, 77.
Notes to Pages 81–82 [ 165 ]
22. Tomich, Through the Prism, 56–94; Ortiz, Hampa, 87. 23. Moreno writes that during the period 1821–1837 slaves were “abundantes y baratos” (El ingenio, 226). 24. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 14. 25. Murray, Odious Commerce, 109, 133. 26. Murray, Odious Commerce, 100. 27. “cargamentos de ébano”; see David Eltis, “The Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade: An Annual Time Series of Imports into the Americas Broken Down by Region,” Hispanic American Historical Review 67.1 (Feb. 1987): 122–23; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 14; Moreno, El ingenio, 227–28; Ortiz, Hampa, 24. 28. Ortiz, Hampa, 322; Murray, Odious Commerce, 181–207; Moreno, El ingenio 334 n124. 29. Bergad, “Slave Prices,” 636–37, 639–40, 652; Moreno, El ingenio, 329; Murray, Odious Commerce, 215; Thomas, Cuba, 98, 124; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abo lición, 55; Le Riverend, Historia económica, 137. 30. Bergad, “Slave Prices,” 632–34. “At least a third and probably half the cost of founding a sugar plantation must then have derived from the cost of slaves. In Cuba, as in the other West Indian islands, slaves were the most valuable part of a planter’s investment, more so than either the land or the machinery and buildings” (Thomas, Cuba, 30). 31. Moreno, El ingenio, 479. 32. Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 6; Thomas, Cuba, 136; Davies, “Introduction,” 7. 33. Moreno, El ingenio, 342, 370–74; Thomas, Cuba, 125–26; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 28; Rodríguez, “Romanticismo literario,” 42; Ely, Comerciantes cubanos, 25–26; Tomich, Through the Prism, 109, 128. 34. Sophie Andioc, “Presentación,” 4: v; Moreno, El ingenio, 56, 343; Thomas, Cuba, 96–97, 136. 35. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 192. Ghorbal has studied the shared interests of the liberal intellectuals of the generation of 1830 and the sugarproducing creoles in Réformisme (17–36). 36. A letter from Saco to José Luis Alfonso from 1842 employs this line of argument: No longer having England any motive to involve itself directly as it has now done, emancipation appears to my eyes stripped of the grave consequences that accompany it today. It will be reduced to a national question, or local if you want, and it would not be dealt with until it is judged more opportune, and in a manner more reconcilable with the interest of the landowners and with the island. Let no more slaves enter, let no more slaves enter, and the island will be saved. No teniendo ya entonces Inglaterra ningún motivo para mezclarse directamente como ahora lo ha hecho, la emancipación aparece a mis ojos despojada de las graves consecuencias que hoy la acompañarían.
[ 166 ] Notes to Pages 82–84
Quedará reducida a una cuestión nacional, o si se quiere local, y que no se tratara sino cuando se juzgase más oportuno, y del modo más conciliable con el interés de los hacendados y con el de la isla. Que no entren mas negros, que no entren mas negros, y esta se salva. (Quoted in Ghorbal, Réformisme, 49)
See also Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 28. 37. Williams mentions the project in The Representation of Slavery (148). 38. xxxviii; “de revisar, mejor todavía, de refundir” (Villaverde, “Prólogo,” 2); Thomas, The Slave Trade, 784. 39. Corwin, Spain, 183, 181–82; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 26. 40. Benítez Rojo, “Sugar/Power/Literature,” 16. 41. See Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 162. 42. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 210; Thomas, Cuba, 140. 43. This list of the mill’s technological advances is borrowed from Bergad, “Slave Prices,” 632; Thomas, Cuba, 74, 151, 174–76. 44. Moreno acknowledges that in those years planters found it “much more profitable to submit them [slaves] to the maximum of exploitation, reducing their useful life rather than lengthening their existence at the cost of lessening productivity per caput” (El ingenio, 226); “resultó mucho más rentable el someterlos al máximo de explotación reduciendo su vida útil que alargarles la existencia a costa de la disminución de la productividad per caput.” See also Knight, Slave Society, 75; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 55. 45. Le Riverend, Historia económica, 141. 46. Thomas, Cuba, 106–7; Maluquer de Motes, “La burguesía catalana,” 30 n46. 47. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 151–67, 321–37, 349, 363–80; Thomas, The Slave Trade, 666–72; Thomas, Cuba, 168–73, 200–206; Ortiz, Hampa, 95, 201–9, 271–90, 355–75; Murray, Odious Commerce, 184–207; Moreno, El ingenio, 263–337; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 58. “In the early years of the century, the price of a sturdy male slave averaged nearly 350 Spanish dollars. By 1860, the price for such a slave had climbed to over 1,000 dollars” (Knight, Slave Society, 29). 48. Tomich, Through the Prism, 70; see also 87. 49. R. Scott, Slave Emancipation, xi; see also Moreno, El ingenio, 482–83; Tomich, Through the Prism, 70; Thomas, Cuba, 185–89. 50. This argument is instructed by Tomich: “Slavery in these areas [Cuba, the United States, and Brazil] was complemented by other forms of labor control—indentured labor, wage labor, and peasant labor. The development of these other forms of labor control are conventionally seen as evidence of the dissolution of slavery, but slaves remained the strategic fulcrum of the labor process and other forms were complementary to it” (Through the Prism, 70–71). 51. Ghorbal, “La política”; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 322, 325; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 25.
Notes to Pages 84–85 [ 1 67 ]
52. La oligarquía negrera [ . . . ] el más firme sostén del oprobioso régimen colonial; Luciano Franco, Comercio clandestino, 254–55. See also Ghorbal, Réformisme, 325. 53. Arango y Parreño, Obras, 2: 338–39; que los esclavos sean instruidos en los principios y prácticas religiosas; que tengan el descanso, alimento, vestido, alojamiento y asistencia necesarios; que, por ningún motivo, se trabaje los domingos; que se acaben las llamadas faenas y contrafaenas; que no se les castigue con exceso; que se guarde con las hembras el recato necesario, y se concedan, a las preñadas y paridas, los alivios que pida su situación; que los Protectores estén especialmente encargados de velar sobre todo esto, para corregir, como corresponda, a los amos descuidados.
Moreno defines the “faena” as Extra work on a holiday or outside of regular work hours. The most typical were called night faenas, which the slaves that returned at dusk from their work in the agricultural sector of the mill carried out in the factory sector. The faena lasted on average 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes other extra work was added to the faena which was called the contrafaena. A slave that performed his normal work, the faena and the contrafaena would be laboring around 20 hours a day. Trabajo extraordinario en día festivo o fuera de las horas regulares de tarea. Las más típicas fueron las llamadas faenas nocturnas que realizaban dentro del sector fabril del ingenio los esclavos que regresaban al atardecer de su trabajo en el sector agrícola. La faena tenía una duración promedio de 2 a 3 horas. A veces a la faena se agregaba otro trabajo extra que era llamado contrafaena. Un esclavo que rendía su labor normal, la faena y la contrafaena empleaba en ello unas 20 horas del día. (El ingenio, 631)
See also Tomich’s discussion Arango’s ideas on “economical” slave labor organization (“The Wealth of Empire,” 20–21). 54. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 324–25, 350. 55. Saco, La supresión, 45; “los esclavos han aumentado sin nuevas introducciones”; “En general, la mortandad anual de las haciendas es ménos que en tiempos anteriores, pues los hacendados, entendiendo ya mejor sus intereses, están persuadidos de que el modo de producir mucho, es tratar bien á sus esclavos.” 56. Cristóbal F. Madan, El trabajo libre y el libre-cambio en Cuba (Paris: Impr. de Bonaventure y Ducessois, 1864), 3; “La disminución de la trata de África y de la consiguiente facilidad en la reposición de brazos á bajo precio, ha estimulado á los propietarios á cuidar los siervos y promover su bienestar y comodidad.” Also quoted in Knight, Slave Society, 76.
[ 168 ] Notes to Pages 86–87
57. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 342, 351–56, 360–62; Ortiz, Hampa, 355–78; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 77–80, 96–97. 58. Arango y Parreño, Obras, 2: 338. 59. Specifically, Valdés would have been categorized according to the pseudoscience of the time as an octoroon, a racial designation for those of one-eighth black ancestry. 60. Though Doña Rosa may hold the title to La Tinaja, the narrator stresses that her husband is now its “lord and master” (339); “señor y amo” (461). This much is made clear in several scenes, such as when Rosa wants to give clemency to the slaves that have run away and returned of their own volition, but Cándido doesn’t permit it (338–40, English version; 460–63, Spanish). 61. See Alonso, The Burden, 78–81, for one. 62. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 34; “la Venus de la raza híbrida etiópico-caucásica” (100). 63. Here I modify slightly Murray’s argument regarding Saco’s pamphlets from 1837: “Ostensibly, he was trying to demonstrate to the Cuban planters that it was in their economic interest to move to free labour and end the constant influx of African slaves, but what he really wanted to do was to change conditions in Cuba as a prerequisite to a new campaign for political reforms from Spain” (Odious Commerce, 130). Corwin explains that the Republican Society of Cuban and Puerto Rico, which called for independence, was “founded in New York in 1865, [and] was really an outgrowth of the annexationist movement that had failed in the 1850’s” (Spain, 213–14). Gerald E. Poyo details Villaverde’s membership in this group (“With All, and for the Good of All”: The Emergence of Popular Nationalism in the Cuban Communities of the United States, 1848–1898 (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1989). 64. “mal tratamiento”; Moreno, El ingenio, 329. 65. This was the name of an actual mill that was also known as La Santísima Trinidad (Moreno, El ingenio, 95). 66. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 323; Spanish 443–44. 67. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 326; —Si me es dado decir lo que pienso—terció en este punto el Cura modestamente—, mi opinión es que no debe esperarse de gente tan ignorante como son los negros, el que juzguen y actúen cual las criaturas racionales. Sería excusado buscar la razón de sus alzamientos y delitos en los instintos de la justicia y el derecho. No. La causa ha sido quizá la más quimérica, la más absurda, la menos justificada . . . Es, sin embargo, coincidencia rara que a un tiempo se hayan alzado tantos negros y de aquellas fincas precisamente que han cambiado de poco acá su sistema de moler caña. ¿Será que esas estúpidas criaturas se han figurado que se les aumenta el trabajo porque en vez de moler con bueyes o mulas se
Notes to Pages 87–88 [ 169 ]
muele con máquina de vapor? ¿Qué sabemos? Vale la pena investigarlo. (446)
68. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 325, 318; “el tráfico constante en esclavos por muchos años” (445); “máquina de vapor con hasta veinte y cinco caballos de fuerza, recién importada de la América del Norte, al costo de veinte y tantos mil pesos, sin contar el trapiche horizontal, también nuevo y que armado allí había costado la mitad de aquella suma” (437). 69. Tomich, Through the Prism, 91. 70. Tomich, Through the Prism, 86; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 75; Bergad, “Slave Prices,” 632; Knight, Slave Society, 32. 71. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 318, 337; “trescientos o más brazos” (437, 459). 72. Moreno writes: “Nevertheless, quantitative growth forcibly determined qualitative changes” (El ingenio, 51); “Sin embargo, el crecimiento cuantitativo determinaba forzosamente cambios cualitativos.” Tomich critiques Moreno’s argument: “Quantitative expansion is counterposed to qualitative transformation” (Through the Prism, 89; see also 64, 75–94). 73. Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995), 33; Thomas, Cuba, 41; Tomich, Through the Prism, 125, 140. 74. Tomich, Through the Prism, 141; Ortiz, Contrapunteo, 72–73. 75. “An agricultural routine was adopted that minimized the effects of the natural seasonal break while the crop matured and kept the slaves continuously engaged in sugar production throughout the greater part of the year” (Tomich, Through the Prism, 141); Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 53–56. 76. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 352; “Tlabaja, tlabaja; poco comía; no conuca; no cochina; no mujé: cuera, cuera, cuera . . .” (477). 77. Tomich, Through the Prism, 145. 78. Tomich, Through the Prism, 145. 79. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 352; “Extrema era la flacura de este esclavo” (477). 80. This conversation benefits from Tomich, Through the Prism, 141–51. See also Ghorbal, Réformisme, 329; Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 72. 81. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 334; “Las hembras, de treinta a treinta y cinco por todas” (456). 82. Moreno, El ingenio, 332. 83. Ortiz, Hampa, 202–3; Thomas, Cuba, 31; Knight, Slave Society, 76; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 68 n13. 84. Turnbull, Travels, 146. 85. Moreno, El ingenio, 333. 86. Moreno, El ingenio, 332–33. 87. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 322–24; Thomas, Cuba, 170–71. 88. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 339–40. 89. Ortiz, Hampa, 205. 90. “semovientes de baja productividad per caput”; Moreno, El ingenio, 294.
[ 170 ] Notes to Pages 88–91
91. “impresionantes”; Moreno, El ingenio, 297; see also Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 59–61. 92. Luis, for one, writes that “Cecilia Valdés is indeed an antislavery novel” (Literary Bondage, 109, 114–16). 93. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 354; “¿No estaba en el interés del amo la conservación o la prolongación de la vida del esclavo, capital viviente? Sí lo estaba, a no quedar género de duda” (479). 94. See 202–9 English; 299–307 Spanish. 95. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 350 (I have modified Lane’s translation slightly); —¿De manera—repuso doña Rosa con la lógica parda de las mujeres—, que por conservar el prestigio de la autoridad de D. Liborio vas a dejar que acabe con los negros? —¡Acabar con los negros!—repitió D. Cándido fingiendo sorpresa—. No hará tal, por la sencilla razón de que de ellos está llena el África. —Allá se pueden estar todos los negros del mundo; el caso es que cada vez se dificulta más la reposición de los que se pierden por causa de los ingleses. (474)
96. Roberto Friol, “Introduction,” Diario del rancheador, by Cirilo Villaverde (La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1982), 59; Salvador Bueno, El negro en la novela hispanoamericana (La Habana: Letras Cubanas, 1986), 134. Certainly also of influence in these depictions of slave torture were Villaverde’s own experiences growing up on an ingenio, as he relates in “Autobiografías,” in Letras: Cultura en Cuba, vol. 4 (La Habana: Editorial Pueblo y Educación, 1987), 10–11. 97. “Respecto del Diario del Arranchador, esa es harina de otro costal. Yo lo copié hace ahora 44 años con el objeto de escribir una novela por el estilo de las de Fenimore Cooper sobre indios. Queria yo que los personajes fuesen tales negros y viendo q. no me era dado sacarlos entonces á plaza, dejé el asunto para luego y me he puesto viejo y me faltan las fuerzas para tamaña empresa” (“Letters to Manuel de la Cruz Fernández,” Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Villaverde, Office of El Espejo No. 4 Cedar Street [n.d.]). 98.
Comprendí yo desde luego, que aquel género de novelas, era inútil emprenderlo en Cuba, porque sería lo mismo que conservarlas manuscritas por mucho tiempo. Y no me faltaba tema para escribirlas. Precisamente había copiado por aquel tiempo El Diario Oficial del Rancheador de Cimarrones, de D. Francisco Estévez, en que había una mina inagotable de hechos sangrientos y trágicos en que los negros aparecían como los héroes, o los clanes de Escocia. Para escribir pues esa novela histórica, hubiera sido preciso convertir los negros cimarrones en indios y trasladar la escena a un país donde los hubiese,
Notes to Pages 91–93 [ 1 7 1 ]
cosa que repugnaba a mis ideas sobre la novela cuyo carácter local lo creo imprescindible. (Villaverde, “Autobiografías,” 6)
99. In “Autobiografías” Villaverde writes: “Through my friendship with Echeverría, I became interested in reading, that of Ezponda, to write romantic novels in the style of Victor Hugo. Though I soon learned the falsity of the romantic school and separated myself from it, as soon as Domingo del Monte introduced me to Walter Scott, to Cooper and finally to Manzoni” (4); “La amistad con Echeverría, me aficionó a la lectura, la de Ezponda a la de escribir novelas románticas a la Victor Hugo. Aunque yo bien pronto conocí la falsedad de la escuela romántica y me aparté de ella, tan luego como Domingo del Monte me dio a conocer a Walter Scott, a Cooper y al fin a Manzoni.” In a letter to Manuel de la Cruz Fernández from New York, June 7, 1887, he explains: “I have read very little of the Peruvian Palma’s legends and none of those of Gogol, Turguenet [sic] and Tolstoy. In my youth I only read Hoffmann’s stories and two or three of Walter Scott’s. These and the novels of Fenimore Cooper inspired my El Penitente, whose work I undertook following del Monte’s advice” (Villaverde, “Letters to Manuel de la Cruz Fernández”); “Yo he leído muy pocas leyendas de Palma el peruano ninguna de las de Gogol, Turguenet y Tolstoy. Solo leí en mi juventud los cuentos de Hoffmann y dos ó tres de Walter Scott. Estos y las novelas de Fenimore Cooper me inspiraron El Penitente, cuya obra emprendí por consejo de del Monte.” In other letters to Cruz, Villaverde further notes the importance of Scott and Cooper as exemplars. Villaverde counsels the writer to study Scott in a letter from New York, dated July 9, 1885, for example: “Study in Walter Scott the art of making a novel” (“Letters to Manuel de la Cruz Fernández”); “Estudie V. en Walter Scott el arte de hacer novelas.” Translations of Alfonso de Lamartine, Lord Byron, Walter Scott, Washington Irving, and Federico Ritcher appeared in pages of El Álbum alongside Villaverde’s early narratives, including “Excursión a la Vuelta Abajo,” “Engañar con la verdad,” and “El espetón de oro” (Jorge L. Arcos, Historia de la Literatura Cubana, vol. 1 [La Habana: Letras Cubanas, 2005], 214). Del Monte had reproached José María Heredia for exchanging American themes for theatrical translations (Martínez Carmenate, Domingo Del Monte, 170–71). See also Bueno, Las ideas literarias, 10–15. 100. My translation of “troqué mis gustos literarios por más altos pensamientos,” Villaverde, “Prólogo,” 4. 101. Turnbull, Travels, 293–94. 102. Turnbull, Travels, 293–94, 296. Thomas also considers Turnbull’s study of the Ubajai plantation (Cuba, 130). Thomas discusses the slaves’ conditions on a coffee farm in comparison to those obtaining on a sugar mill (Cuba, 179–80). 103.
The expense of forming a coffee plantation is not of course to be compared with the amount of capital required in the establishment of an ingenio. It is generally begun with a small force of labourers, perhaps
[ 172 ] Notes to Pages 93–94
not more than ten for the first year, and the following has been given me as an estimate and outline of the ordinary mode of proceeding:—The price of ten negroes, fit for such employment, is stated at $5000; the clearing of two caballerias of land, or sixty-four acres, $600; the salary of the mayoral, and the feeding of the negroes, $800;—making altogether $6400 for the first year. (Turnbull, Travels, 311)
104. Madan’s figures are discussed in Knight, Slave Society, 69; Thomas describes how even in the 1770s sugar production in Cuba was “already neurotically driven, since probably a majority of the new plantations had been at least partly funded on loans from merchants” (Cuba, 66); Goldberg, Racist Culture, 91. See also Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 51–52. 105. Turnbull, Travels, 309. 106. See my article “The Cuban Anti-Antislavery Genre.” 107.
Siquiera en los cafetales recolectar el café es una operación muy sencilla, antes distrae que molesta a los negros es cosa que se hace jugando hasta por los criollitos; de noche no se vela, se escoge el café un rato, y luego se van a dormir. Cuando no están en la cosecha, podar los cafetos y echar semilleros son todos los trabajos, tan pocos y tan simpoles en verdad que es menester ocupar la negrada en otros que no pertenecen al cultivo de aquella planta para no desperdiciar el tiempo, como en chapear y barrer las guardarayas, recortar los árboles y embellecer los jardines. Mas en los ingenios, quizás porque así lo exijan el cultivo de la caña y la elaboración del azúcar, las faenas son muy diferentes. (Anselmo Suárez y Romero, Colección de artículos [La Habana: Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963], 237–38)
108. Suárez y Romero, Colección de artículos, 237. Moreno discusses the “death of the forest” in El ingenio, 135–42. 109. See Adriana Lewis Galanes, “El album de Domingo Delmonte (Cuba, 1838/39),” Cuadernos Americanos 451–52 (Jan.–Feb. 1988): 255–65; Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 20. 110. “un inmenso ingenio de fabricar azucar, y un almacen monstruoso p.a venderla” (Domingo Del Monte, “Letter to J. J. Milanés, 21 August 1840,” Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Garcia, E., no. 22.) Fischer argues that “having a specifically Cuban literature meant that civilization had taken root” (Modernity, 113). 111. See Murray’s study of the British role in ending the transatlantic trade to Cuba, Odious Commerce, especially 133–57. 112. Quoted in José Antonio Saco, Historia de la esclavitud de la raza africana en el nuevo mundo y en especial en los países américo-hispanos, vol. 5 (La Habana: Imagen Contemporánea, 2006), 277. 8. ¿En qué proporción están los varones con las hembras en los ingenios?
Notes to Pages 94–96 [ 1 7 3 ]
—En la de 3 a 1. 9. ¿Y en los cafetales? —En la de 1½ a 1. 10. ¿Cuál es la mortandad media en los ingenios? —Un 8 %. 11. ¿En los cafetales? —Un 2. 12. ¿Exceden los nacimientos a las muertes en los ingenios? —¡Oh, no! 13. ¿Y en los cafetales? —En muchos.
113. For a study of coffee plantation slavery, see William C. Van Norman, ShadeGrown Slavery: The Lives of Slaves on Coffee Plantations in Cuba (Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 2013); Bergad et al. write: “Additionally, there was a hierarchy of living conditions for slaves bound to farms and this depended upon what crop or product was being produced. The nineteenth-century sugar plantation was the worst possible fate, especially as productive units became larger and discipline became a priority of owners and overseers. Coffee farms were supposedly places where better treatment prevailed.” (The Cuban Slave Market, 35); R. Scott explains that on a coffee plantation “conditions were traditionally viewed as less oppressive than those on ingenios” (Slave Emancipation, 11); Moreno (El ingenio, 334) and Ortiz (Hampa, 243–44) say the same. 114. Fischer writes that the film “forces the viewer into a critical recognition of the melodramatic conventions of abolitionist narratives by juxtaposing them with a brutally detached representation of the base objectification of life under slavery” (Modernity, 18; see also 108–9). This conversation also benefits from Fischer’s insistence that “the realization that the antislavery novels cannot be understood through the paradigm of realism or a reflection theory of ideology does not in itself answer the question of what happens when the fantasy that sustains the material practice of slavery comes to inform a literary text” (Modernity, 119). 115. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 283; 394. 116. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 284, 289, 308; “paraíso de Alquízar [ . . . ] jardín, allí donde los rosales de Alejandría, los jazmines del Cabo y las clavelinas, competidores de los más bellos de que se precian Turquía y Persia” (395), “el aire siempre cargado con el perfume de las flores o de las frutas en que tanto abundaba aquella morada encantadora” (401), “el cafetal La Luz, bello jardín, remedo del que perdieron nuestros primeros padres” (424). 117. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 491; “edén de Alquízar” (638); “infierno” (480). 118. See Sue Headlee, The Political Economy of the Family Farm: The Agrarian Roots of American Capitalism (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991), 112. 119. Lane incorrectly translates “refaccionista” as “repair man,” which I have modified (286);
[ 174 ] Notes to Pages 96–97
Es mi Mayordoma, cajera y tenedora de libros, y cree que primero es la obligación que la devoción. Lleva cuenta del café que se recolecta, del que se descascara, del que se remite a la Habana. Cuando se vende, glosa ella las cuentas del refaccionista, cobra y paga. Todo como un hombre. En una palabra, desde que murió mi esposa, que santa gloria haya, mi Isabel está hecho cargo de casa, del cafetal y de todos mis negocios. (397)
120. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 301, 296; “sentimientos filantrópicos” (416), “su misión” (410). She is the “affectionate and gentle mistress of submissive slaves” (302); “la dueña cariñosa y blanda de esclavos sumisos” (417). 121. Isabel says to Pedro, for instance, “Very well, I trust you, Pedro. It’s a great relief to us when we go away to leave the care of the house and the plantation to a man as rational and honest as you” (Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 287); “Bueno, confío en ti, Pedro. Es un gran descanso para nosotros, cuando salimos, dejar el cuidado de la casa y de la finca a un hombre tan racional y honrado como tú” (399). 122. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 288; 400. 123. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 285; 396–97. Moreno discusses how religion served as a “very useful vehicle to conserve the social order,” as a “break on slave rebellion” (El ingenio, 108, 100); “es un vehículo utilísimo para la conservación del orden social,” “un freno a la rebeldía negra.” See also Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, trans. Cedric Belfrage (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997), 85; Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 12; Ghorbal, Réformisme, 116–23. 124. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 303–4, 356; 419, 482. 125. This reading of Cecilia Valdés through the lens of buen tratamiento has benefited, as have many studies of the Cuban antislavery genre, from Benítez Rojo’s “Power/Sugar/Literature: Toward a Reinterpretation of Cubanness.” As discussed earlier, this foundational piece of scholarship imagines the sugar mill complex as “an ascending ladder of power,” a constellation or a machine that connected “the Spanish throne, the colonial government of Cuba, Spanish moneylenders and slave traders, the saccharocracy, the sugar mill” (16). Compellingly, Benítez Rojo asserts “that resistance exerted at any of the connecting points would necessarily extend throughout the entire figure” (16). It is in this regard that I read Villaverde’s attack on the peninsular merchant as an assault on the scaffolding of the imperial framework. Yet Benítez Rojo’s binary opposition of “the discourse of the sugar mill” (14) and the “counterdiscourse” (13) that resisted it “doesn’t adequately describe the geocultural complexities of the Cuban situation in the nineteenth century,” as Peter Hulme points out (Cuba’s Wild East: A Literary Geography of the Oriente [Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2011], 42). It should not go unmentioned that the author admits as much in the text itself (16). This does not absolve it, however, of reserving the designation of “slave-based” for the sugar complex alone, or what Benítez Rojo labels “Cuba Grande” and in the same sentence discussing
Notes to Pages 97–98 [ 1 7 5 ]
as its alternative “Cuba Pequeña,” calling this “subversive” to it, thus encouraging the misperception that the delmontinos’ “discourse of resistance” was a discourse of resistance against slavery (28). The point that I have by now belabored is that it is not slavery per se that is resisted by the texts that mythologize Cuba Pequeña and demonize Cuba Grande, such as Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés, but rather a particular form of slave labor organization and replacement, that of bad treatment. 126. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 353; “Vio, con sus ojos, que allí reinaba un estado permanente de guerra, guerra sangrienta, cruel, implacable, del negro contra el blanco, del amo contra el esclavo” (478). Thomas holds that The tragedy for Cuba in the decline of coffee is that this product could have been developed much more easily by white farmers or small black freeholders than sugar could. [ . . . ] The swift rise and decline of the coffee industry created in east Cuba a discontented class of rural gentry, closer to local conditions than the sugar planters and therefore more potentially dangerous to the social order. Such men believed that they had been ruined by sugar. It is scarcely surprising that several of them should adopt from the mid-1860s a revolutionary attitude which not only would express itself against the Spanish military government but also against an economy dominated by sugar. (Cuba, 132)
127. See Tomich, Through the Prism, 76–77. 128. Villaverde, “La Señorita Da. Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda,” in Faro Industrial de la Habana, Aug. 8, 9, 1842. 129. Simón Judas de la Paz [Cirilo Villaverde], La hija del avaro (La Habana: Impr. La Antilla, 1859), 89; “es tan gran usurero como Shilock.” Domingo Figarola Caneda attributes the translation to Villaverde (“Villaverde [Cirilo], Papeletas bibliográficas,” Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Archivo Academia de la Historia de Cuba, Colección Figarola Caneda, 141 documentos, signatura 3847, caja 318). 130. Villaverde demonized his enemies in this manner in a letter from December 11, 1852. Here he discusses his fight with the members of the junta of Cuban exiles and the editors of La Verdad with the following: “I am gathering bile from all over the Western world to spill on the heads of the Jews that have decided to crucify Cuba from New York” (“Letter to Juan Manuel Macías from Río Ohio, delante de la ciudad de Madison 11 de diciembre de 1852,” Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Villaverde, no. 13); “Yo estoi acopiando hiel por todos estos mundos del Oeste para derramarla, cuando llegue la hora, si Dios quiere que llegue, sobre las cabezas de los judios que se han propuesto crucificar a Cuba desde N. York.” From the pages of La Verdad he blamed English bankers and Jews for condemning filibusterers: “That is why the press, paid by English bankers and Jews, cannot find words strong enough to condemn the Cuban expeditions, nor colors black enough with which to depict the ‘American pirate bastards’ ”
[ 176 ] Notes to Page 98
(“El Sr. Saco,” 2); “Por eso la prensa, pagada por los banqueros ingleses y judios, no ha encontrado palabras bastante fuertes para condenar las espediciones á Cuba, ni colores bastante negros con que retratar los ‘desalmados piratas americanos.’ ” In a letter to José Gabriél del Castillo from May 11, 1873, he chides another adversary as a “Jew banker” (Veinticuatro Cartas Autógrafas de Cirilo Villa verde, Dirigidas a José Gabriél del Castillo. New York, 1872, 73, 73, 75, 76 y dos de fechas ilegibles,” Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Donativos y Remisiones, folios 1–71 caja 423, signatura o número 21); “un judio banquero.” 131. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 92–93; “subir a la cima de la riqueza”; Era él hombre de negocios, más bien que de sociedad. Con escasa o ninguna cultura, había venido todavía joven a Cuba de las serranías de Ronda, y hecho caudal a fuerza de industria y de economía, especialmente de la buena fortuna que le había soplado en la riesgosa trata de esclavos de la costa de África [ . . . ] Por hábito antes que por índole, era reservado y frío en el trato de su familia, teniéndole de ella alejado la naturaleza de sus primitivas ocupaciones y el afán de acumular dinero que se apoderó de su espíritu, luego que contrajo matrimonio con una criolla rica, y de las más encopetadas familias de la Habana. (170)
132. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 363, 369; “Don Cándido Gamboa y Ruiz [ . . . ] con ínfulas de noble, ya en camino de titular y ganoso de rozarse con la gente encopetada y aristocrática de la Habana” (489), “Él cree que en el primer correo de España le viene el título de Conde de La Tinaja o de Casa Gamboa” (497). 133. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 103–4; “se reía a carcajadas cuando [supo] su padre hacía construir en España, con el fin de titular, un árbol genealógico en que no había de verse ni una gota de sangre judío ni de moro” (183). 134. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 64; “Es que tu padre por ser español, no está exento de la sospecha de tener sangre mezclada” (135). 135. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 65; “es que estos españoles tienen más de judíos que de caballeros” (137). 136. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 250; “hija, no te cases con hombre de opuesta religión” (355). 137. Debra Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2003), 232; Gow, The Red Jews, 68. 138. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 55; “la color del rostro rubicunda” (125). 139. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 11; “persignándose cual si viese al diablo” (71). 140. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 22; “Aunque no debemos pensar mal de nadie, con todo, como puede ser un santo puede ser un de . . . —Y se persignó sin concluir la palabra—. El señor sea con nosotras” (85). 141. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 393; “formó dos cruces con los dedos cual si hubiera visto al diablo” (524). 142. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 483; “demonio [ . . . ] espíritu maligno” (628).
Notes to Pages 98–100 [ 1 7 7 ]
143. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 341; “el diablo” (463). 144. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 341; “Jesucristo de ébano en la cruz” (465). 145. Villaverde, “Epistolario,” 162; “Jesucristo Negro.” See Ghorbal, Réformisme, 91, 421–26; Manuel Moreno Fraginals “Anselmo Suárez y Romero,” in Órbita de Manuel Moreno Fraginals (La Habana: Ediciones Unión, 2009), 34–36. 146. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 226, 247–48; “¡Pobre de mi! Mucho tiempo hace que he andado la vía crucis, y que estoy en el calvario. Sólo falta mi crucificación” (327–28; 352). 147. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 414; “Enseguida procedió a darle el baño a la abuela con no menos fe y cariñosa humildad que la mujer que le lavó los pies a Jesucristo en casa de Simón” (548). 148. Cecilia’s mother is Susana in the unpublished chapter that was to follow the two published in La Siempreviva 1839. See “ ‘Cecilia Valdés’ (El capítulo no publicado en ‘La Siempreviva’),” in Letras: Cultura en Cuba, vol. 4 (La Habana: Editorial Pueblo y Educación, 1987), 86. 149. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 461; “al Comisario se le tapa de boca y se le estimula a obrar con discreción y celo poniéndole unas cuantas amarillas en la mano” (602). 150. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 106; “se ha vuelto más tacaño que un judío [ . . . ]. Yo no sé para qué guarda él tanto dinero” (186). 151. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 381. 152. Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés, 55, 150; “nariz grande aguileña” (125), “ese viejo narizón” (239). 153. Jacobson, Whiteness, 174. 154. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose,” 370. This is an expanded version of a chapter of the same name from his The Jew’s Body. Andrei Oișteanu writes that “the aquiline nose was a negative element not only from the aesthetic point of view, but also from the ethical one. It was said to bespeak not only the ugliness of the Jew, but also his perfidiousness” (Inventing the Jew: Antisemitic Stereotypes in Romanian and Other Central East-European Cultures, trans. Mirela Adăscăliței [Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2009], 41). See also Frank Uekötter, The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006), 26; Maurice Fishberg, Jews, Race and Environment (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2006), 78–85. 155. Gilman, “The Jewish Nose”; Gilman, The Jew’s Body, 60–103, 169–93. “The charge of Jewish lasciviousness may be traced back to ancient times,” avers Felsenstein (Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, 118). 156. See Andioc, “Presentación,” 4: v. 157. Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 20. See the section titled “Futura seguridad y tranquilidad de la isla,” in Arango’s Ideas sobre los medios de establecer el libre comercio de Cuba y de realizar un empréstito de veinte millones de pesos (Obras [La Habana: Publicaciones de la Dirección de Cultura del Ministro de Educación, 1952], 2: 292–308). 158. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 31.
[ 178 ] Notes to Pages 100–102
159. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 27. See also Williams, The Representation of Slavery, 186. 160. Martinez-Alier, Marriage, 71. 161. Pichardo, Diccionario, 357; “de estos hay algunos de color más blanco que muchos de la raza blanca.” Martinez-Alier recognizes that “only too often was it difficult if not impossible to detect any actual physical difference between a person of Spanish and one of partial African origin” (Marriage, 71). 162. Stoler, Race, 4, 7. 163. Martinez-Alier, Marriage, xiv. 164. Kutzinski, Sugar’s Secrets, 32. See Jean Lamore, “Introduction,” Cecilia Valdés o La Loma del Ángel, by Cirilo Villaverde (Madrid: Cátedra, 2004), 9–56; Jean Lamore, “La mulata en el discurso literario y medico francés del siglo XIX,” La Torre ns 2 (1987): 297–318; Jean Lamore, “De la ‘Virgencita de bronce’ à la femme cubaine ou la transmutation du mythe de Cecilia Valdés,” Femme des Amériques: Actes du Colloque International de Toulouse (April 1985) Université de Toulouse, 1986: 107–23. 165. Kutzinski also studies Esponda’s La mulata (Sugar’s Secrets, 66). 166. Villaverde mentions Ezponda (or Esponda) in “Autobiografías,” 4. In a letter penned in 1883 by Esponda to Villaverde it is clear that each critiqued the other’s work: S. D. Cirilo Villaverde New York Habana mzo 10, 1883 Mi estimado amigo: Siento que te hayas arreglado tocante al expendio de la Cecilia, por que con esto me quitas el gusto de haberte servido en algo; mas supuesto que otro te brinda ventajas positivas, sea en hora buena y esperemos el resultado con el deseo de que salga á satisfacción tuya. Recibí el ejemplar que me dedicaste, dándote gracias mil. Empecé la lectura inmediatamente; mas la he [illegible/destroyed] [sus] pendido á causa de que mi hija Rosario me quito el libro de las manos y todavía no me lo ha devuelto. Cuando lo haga seguiré y marcaré lo que me guste y lo que no me guste para comunicártelo particularmente con la franqueza y lealtad que debemos hacerlo. Tu juicio sobre mi novela esta segun me lo enviaste, por que las ocupaciones del foro me han traido á mal traer. Sin embargo el turno le llegará. Cuando esté arreglado, segun me vienes indicando en tus cartas, trataré de publicarlo en el periódico de Armas ó en otro que no sea la Revista de Cuba, por que en esta salió la crítica de Anselmo y tratando de contestarle no me lo concedió Cortina. Ynfiero de este antecedente que hoy se negaria quizas á la inserción de tu trabajo, tan opuesto al de Suárez.
Notes to Page 102 [ 1 7 9 ]
Concluyo por hoy dando á la buena Emilia mis cordiales gracias por su remedio y proponiendome usarlo en el caso de que se me repita el dolor de cabeza. Hace tres semanas que no lo siento y me figuro que me ha dejado libre de su molestia, por que [illegible/destroyed] no asiduamente y no sufro como antes sufria. Me alegro de que tu catarro se haya disipado tambien. Cuidate, como yo me cuido, por que ya somos abuelos y nos queda poco hilo que devanar. Siempre tuyo afectmo, E. Esponda (Eduardo Esponda, “Carta autógrafa de E. Esponda dirigida a Cirilo Villaverde, tratando asuntos personales de ambos,” Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Donativos y Remisiones, legajo 543, número 52.)
167. Eduardo Esponda, La mulata: Estudio fisiológico, social y jurídico (Madrid: Impr. de Fortanet, 1878), 26; “Maleado el sexo masculino, se malea el femenino de nuestra raza, y, á medida que aumenta el número de cortesanas, se aumenta la depravacion. En todos los rangos vemos las señales inequívocas de la inmoralidad. El contagio se viene difundiendo y reina en los círculos elevados, en los medios y en los inferiores una epidemia verdaderamente lamentable.” 168. Esponda, La mulata, 25; “La Isla de Cuba es una fragua de disolucion, y cada individuo trabaja, sin notarlo, en el infortunio de sus semejantes y de sí mismo. Hay un convenio tácito, y marchamos de acuerdo en lo de procrear mestizos, á quienes damos la más desdichada existencia, y, acerca de los efectos, un indiferentismo criminal y estúpido, no advirtiendo que tarde ó temprano recae sobre nosotros.” 169. Kutzinski’s intelligent reading has been of benefit. She writes of Muñoz’s poem “the poem’s ultimate purpose might appear to manage and reorder transgressive white, male desire [ . . . ] the opportunity his poem afforded white readers, male and female, to adopt a position of moral superiority both toward the mulata and toward those who courted her fatal charms” (Sugar’s Secrets, 32–33). Stoler’s Race and the Education of Desire has also been fundamental to this analysis. 170. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 123; 93; “no había sido ejemplar su conducta, ni digna de servir de guía a Leonardo, según nos lo ha dado a entender doña Rosa al final del VII capítulo. Por uno y otro motivo, quizás por su ignorancia supina, no se ocupaba de la educación de sus hijos, mucho menos su moralidad” (170). 171. Published in the third volume of La Siempreviva, the magazine in which Cecilia Valdés first made its appearance, was an article titled “Consideraciones sobre la influencia de las virtudes domèsticas en las virtudes sociales” (Considerations on the influence of domestic virtues on social virtues). Its author,
[ 180 ] Notes to Page 103
Manuel Costales, expounded: “Society is nothing if not a great family, and if there are not virtues in the latter, there cannot be any in the former either, just as a whole cannot have what the parts that compose it do not have in them” (Costales, “Consideraciones,” La Siempreviva. Vol. 3 [La Habana: Impr. del Gobierno y Capitanía General por S. M., 1840], 148); “La sociedad no es otra cosa que una gran familia, y si en estas no hay virtudes, no puede haberlas tampoco en aquella, por lo mismo que un todo no puede tener lo que en sí no tienen las partes que lo componen.” Saco argues along the same lines in Memoria sobre la vagancia en Cuba, in Obras, 1: 272. 172. An editorial printed in La Verdad on June 1, 1849, titled “Cuestion Negrera en la Isla de Cuba” (The question of the slave trader on the island of Cuba), penned by C. (Cirilo?), condemns the queen for her role in perpetuating in the slave trade: “bozal slaves just imported by the slaver society that resides in Madrid and is presided over by Doña Maria Cristina of Bourbon, and represented here by Don Antonio Parejo, Don Manuel Pastor and others involved in the continuation of that abominable traffic in human flesh against which the civilized nations protest” (Villaverde, “Cuestion,” “Correspondencia de La Verdad,” La Verdad [New York, June 1, 1849]: 3); “negros bozales acabados de importar por la sociedad negrera que reside en Madrid presidida por Da. Maria Cristina de Borbon, y representada aquí por Don Antonio Parejo, Dn. Manuel Pastor y otros interesados en la continuacion de ese abominable tráfico de carne humana contra el cual protestan las naciones civilizadas.” 173. Stoler, Race, 97. 174. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 130. 175. This turn of phrase is borrowed from Surwillo: “Nevertheless the slave/worker analogy that binds Tomás to María functions as more than metaphor” (Monsters by Trade, 37). 176. Stoler, Race, 129. 177. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 123. 178. Žižek, The Sublime, 125. 179. “How then do we take account of the distance between this corporatist vision and the factual society split by antagonistic struggles? The answer is, of course, the Jew: an external element, a foreign body introducing corruption into the sound social fabric” (Žižek, The Sublime, 126). 180. Žižek, The Sublime, 126.
Conclusion 1. Bauman, “Allosemitism,” 151. 2. Žižek, The Sublime, 126, 128. 3. This polemic is discussed by Ghorbal in Réformisme, 73–78. 4. “Cada cual en su puesto,” La Voz de Cuba, La Habana, August 18, 1882, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Morales, t. I,
Notes to Pages 104–5 [ 18 1 ]
n. 4; “de haber emprendido contra ellos farisáicas persecuciones,” “supóngase víctima de persecuciones farisáicas.” 5. “La verdad,” El Triunfo, La Habana, August 22, 1882, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Sala Cubana, Colección Manuscritos, Morales, t. I, n. 4. Also quoted in Ghorbal, Réformisme, 75; “Por este tiempo, los hombres que dirigían la opinión ilustrada del país, los la Luz, los Saco, los Del Monte, eran conocidamente abolicionistas, y sus opiniones les acarreaban disgustos no pequeños.” 6. Ghorbal, Réformisme, 78; quoted in Ghorbal, Réformisme, 77; “entonces no había abolicionistas.” Murray writes: “To talk of a Cuban abolitionist movement as such in the island in the 1830s and 1840s would be an exaggeration, but there were individual creoles prepared to defy the censorship imposed by the metropolitan government and publish condemnations of the slave trade, though not of slavery” (Odious Commerce, 128). While there was no abolitionist movement, there certainly were Cuban abolitionists in the nineteenth century and before (see Cepero Bonilla, Azúcar y abolición, 32–34; Thomas, Cuba, 81; Fischer, Modernity, 41–56). 7. Rodríguez, “Romanticismo literario,” 50–51; “desear libertades políticas y económicas para ellos, pero temer las mismas para los esclavos.” 8. Rodríguez, “Romanticismo literario,” 39; “Así queda muy someramente formulado el problema de la relación entre la escuela literaria romántica y una postura política que en la Cuba de principios de siglo mal podíamos llamar liberal.” Cepero Bonilla makes a similar assertion: “Slavery was the test in which, invariably, the planters’ liberalism was adulterated” (Azúcar y aboli ción, 36); “La esclavitud era la prueba donde se adulteraba, invariablemente, el liberalismo de los hacendados.” 9. A case in point is how literary historians have downplayed or altogether concealed Anselmo Suárez y Romero’s slaveholding. See my article “The Cuban Anti-Antislavery Genre.” 10. My rereading is informed by Tomich’s Through the Prism, especially 31 and 76, and by his “The Wealth of Empire.” 11. Tomich writes of “the compatibility and interdependence of liberal political economy and pro-slavery thought” in nineteenth-century Cuba (“The Wealth of Empire,” 5). Thomas affirms the same: “Arango and his generation were liberals par excellence, concerned with the relation between freedom and riches, pursued with all the energy and also the naïvety with which a new discovery is often pursued, oblivious of any discrepancy between free trade and forced labour” (Cuba, 74). 12. Tomich, “The Wealth of Empire,” 5. 13. “Indeed, the Discurso demonstrates not the incompatibility, nor even the simultaneous co-existence of liberal ideas and pro-slavery thought, but the ways these positions derive from the shared conceptual field of political economy” (Tomich, “The Wealth of Empire,” 5). See also Goldberg, for one, who observes: “Liberalism plays a foundational part in this process of normalizing and naturalizing racial dynamics and racist exclusions. As modernity’s defini-
[ 182 ] Notes to Pages 106–7
tive doctrine of self and society, of morality and politics, liberalism serves to legitimate ideologically and to rationalize politico-economically prevailing sets of racialized conditions and racist exclusions” (Racist Culture, 1). 14. Charles Mills, “Liberalism and the Racial State,” in State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the United States, ed. Moon-Kie Jung, João H. Costa Vargas, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2011), 39. JensUwe Guettel examines and gives a bibliography for further exploration of how certain tendencies within liberalism “led many liberals to both develop and easily embrace racialized worldviews” (German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism and the United States, 1776–1945 [Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012], 27). As Christopher Schmidt-Nowara has described, “During the constitutional periods of the first third of the nineteenth century (1810–1814, 1820–1823, 1833–1840), Spanish liberals had specifically excluded any person of African heritage, even if free, from active citizenship. Moreover, Cuban and Puerto Rican deputies [also liberals] forecast bloody race wars at the very mention of abolition” (Schmidt-Nowara, Empire and Antislavery, 176). Moreno too writes of the links between liberalism and slavery as well (El ingenio, 228–29). Fischer explains that “the position held by the Creole liberals was by no means radical and did not necessarily imply any opposition to racial subordination” (Modernity, 111). 15. Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Ed. and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004), 69. This understanding has also been informed by David T. Haberly’s “Abolitionism in Brazil: Anti-Slavery and Anti-Slave,” Luso-Brazilian Review 9.2 (Winter 1972): 30–46. 16. I am instructed once again by Cheyette, who hopes “that by concentrating on the ambivalence of ‘the Jew,’ I will make it easier to historicize the kind of unstable and promiscuous identities, and multiple and impure national traditions, that all agree are needed to rethink the certainties of the West” (“Neither Black nor White,” 32). 17. Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 18. 18. Sartre, “Preface,” 26. Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier, 1. 19. “To put it another way, does that promising sequence—modernity, culture, the Jew—belong exclusively to a closed entity, a ‘geo-body’ named Europe? What forms of consciousness, solidarity and located subjectivity does that sequence solicit or produce? What might modernity, culture and the Jew comprise if the unspoken link with Europe was broken, stretched or even tested a little?” (Gilroy, “Afterword,” 287). Regarding this passage, Cheyette and Marcus note that “Paul Gilroy would wish to break down Bauman’s Judaeocentric and Eurocentric construction of racial ambivalence and include the history of slavery and anti-black racism within his conceptual framework” (“Introduction,” 10). Graff Zivin finds that “while a substantial research corpus exists on representations of ‘Jewishness’ in North American and European literature and culture, few studies have analyzed the symbolic ‘Jew’ within the context of Latin America” (The Wandering Signifier, 12).
Notes to Pages 107–8 [ 183 ]
20. Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993), 31; also quoted in Cheyette, Diasporas of the Mind, 19. 21. Cheyette, “White Skin,” 106–7; Cheyette and Marcus, “Introduction,” 1–3; Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, 49, 71; Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 1–12; Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, 1–31. 22. Cathy N. Davidson and David T. Goldberg critique the “silos that separate departments, disciplines, and divisions of universities” (The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010], 113); see also Cheyette, “White Skin.” 23. This idea is informed by Zygmunt Bauman’s Modernity and Ambivalence (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1991) and his “Allosemitism,” 154–55. 24. US War Department, Report on the Census of Cuba, 1899 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1900), 98. 25. José Antonio Saco, Análisis por Don José Antonio Saco de una obra sobre el Brasil, intitulada: Notices of Brazil, in Obras, 2: 65. 26. Here I borrow from Slavoj Žižek’s First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (New York: Verso, 2009), 42; Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab and Autobiography, 97; “acaso sólo necesitan para romperla, oír una voz que les grite: ¡Sois hombres!” (Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab, 133). 27. Malchow, Gothic Images of Race, 177. 28. Quoted in David Chidester, Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2014), 56.
[ 184 ] Notes to Pages 108–9
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Aanerud, Rebecca, 67 Abbott, Abiel, 31 Acosta, José Julián, 58, 59, 76 Ainsworth, William Harrison, 98 Alcoff, Linda Martín, 54 “Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern” (Bauman), 19 Alonso, Carlos J., 163n6 Álvarez Curbelo, Silvia, 152n17, 153–54n25 American Colonization Society, 79 Amerindians, 55–56 André, Domingo, 122n12 Andrei Oișteanu, 178n154 annexationist movement, 80–81 anti-Semitism without Jews, 2–3, 14–15 Arango y Parreño, Francisco de, 71–72, 86, 87, 91, 101, 107 Arendt, Hannah, 37 Armas, Manuel de, 76–77 Armas y Céspedes, Francisco de, 7–8 Arndt, Susan, 67 asiento system, 71–72 Augustine of Hippo, 5–6 Autobiografía (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 53–54, 142n76, 144n91 Ayesterán, Joaquín de, 23 Azúcar y abolición (Cepero Bonilla), 24, 25 Bachiller y Morales, Antonio, 15–16, 31, 35 Baldorioty de Castro, Román, 58, 59 Balzac, Honoré de, 18, 39 bardo de Guamaní, El (Tapia y Rivera), 59
Bauman, Zygmunt on heterophobia, 130n87 on Jews and anti-Semitism, 2, 15, 18– 19, 21, 49, 111–12nn6–7, 118–19n51, 120n2, 121n4, 121n7, 122n8, 123n26, 137nn12–13, 139–40n58, 139n56, 146–47n114 on particularist approach, 108 Bejarano, Margalit, 114n13 Bell, Derrick, 107 belle Juive (trope), 48 Benítez Rojo, Antonio, 14, 74, 84, 126n68, 159n95, 175–76n125 Bergad, Laird, 24, 174n113 Betancourt Cisneros, Gaspar, 9, 118n49, 128n77 Betancourt family, 135–36n2 Biblioteca histórica de Puerto Rico (Tapia y Rivera), 59 blanqueamiento (whitening), 52–53, 67, 101–2 blood purity, 50, 99, 104 bon nègre (trope), 58, 70, 77 Bonnin Orozco, María Isabel, 152–53n25 Bosque, José Antonio, 23 Bosquejo económico político de la isla de Cuba (Torrente), 25–26 Boyarin, Daniel, 2 Boyarin, Jonathan, 2 bozales (Cuban slaves born in Africa), 85, 97 Brackman, Harold, 5–6, 116n30 Bretón de los Herreros, Manuel, 15
[ 19 9 ]
Brickhouse, Anna, 8 British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 96 British Empire and British merchants abolition of slavery and, 83 in Sab, 35–40, 41–42, 45–51 slave trade and, 42–44 sugar industry and, 40–42 buen tratamiento (good treatment of slaves), 11, 81–82, 84, 85–87, 88–92, 93–96 Buscaglia-Salgado, José F. on Amerindians, 150n154 on mulataje, 21, 45, 113n7, 119n52, 149n140 on race, 56 Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 18, 39, 172n99 Calatrava, José María, 74 Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio, 76 Cárdenas y Rodríguez, José María de, 122n12 Carlos III, King of Spain, 72 Castillo, José Gabriél del, 177n130 Castro Alves, Antônio de, 148n138 Cecilia Valdés o La Loma de Ángel (Villaverde) Judaized merchant in, 31, 82, 87, 98–101, 102–4 mulattos and mulataje in, 67, 82, 87, 100, 102 as racial project, 10–11, 109 sexuality in, 102–4 slavery in, 70, 81–82, 88–92, 93–94, 96–98 Cepero Bonilla, Raúl on slavery, 84, 126n68, 158n87, 182n8 on sugar industry, 24, 25, 127n71 Chamberlain, Houston Stewart, 20 Cheyette, Bryan on Gilroy, 183n19 on Jews, 3, 20, 114n14, 114n16, 115n19, 120n60, 124n37, 146n114, 147n122, 149n140, 183n16 on particularist approach, 108
on Roth, 48, 119n52, 156n71 on Said, 119n52 on slavery, 11 cholera, 85 cimarronaje (a slave’s self-liberation), 88, 92–93 Cintra, José Antonio, 122n12 Cocking, Francis Ross, 58 coffee industry, 93–98 Colección de artículos satíricos y de costumbres (1847), 122n12 Colonial Bank of London, 125n49 Conspiración de la Escalera (Ladder Conspiracy), 44, 58 Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar (Ortiz), 93 Cooper, James Fenimore, 92–93 Corwin, Arthur F., 76, 169n63 Costales, Manuel, 180–81n171 Cruz Fernández, Manuel de la, 92–93 cuarterona, La (Tapia y Rivera) as abolitionist play, 69–70 Del Monte and, 60, 62 Judaized merchant in, 58, 60, 62–66, 67–68, 77–78 mulattos in, 57–58, 63, 66–69 plot and setting of, 61–62 as racial project, 10, 57–58, 77–78, 109 slavery in, 58, 69–71 cubanos pintados por sí mismos, Los (1852), 16–17 “Cursor Mundi” (poem), 18 Davidson, Cathy N., 184n22 Davies, Catherine, 51, 118n49, 137n10 De la esclavitud en Cuba (Armas y Céspedes), 7–8 Debré, Moses, 18 Del Monte y Aponte, Domingo Cintra and, 122n12 Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga and, 9 Heredia and, 118n49, 172n99 Madden and, 95–96 racial project of, 79–80, 84 refaccionistas and, 23
[ 200 ] The Merchant of Havana
slave trade and, 8, 43–44, 58, 70, 74–75, 84 Tapia y Rivera and, 10, 58, 59–60, 62 Villaverde and, 78, 80, 93 Del Monte y Aponte, José, 126n57 Diago, Fernando, 23 Diario del rancheador (Estévez and Villaverde), 92–93 Diccionario provincial casi razonado de vozes y frases cubanas (Pichardo y Tapia), 1, 3, 102 Dickens, Charles, 18, 38–39 Discurso sobre la agricultura de La Habana y medios de fomentarla (Arango y Parreño), 71–72, 107 Don Junípero (satirical magazine), 31–32 dotaciones (slave crews), 85 Drake and Company, 23 Du Bois, W. E. B., 3, 109 Dundes, Alan, 134n117 Ely, Roland T., 22, 122n12 Epiphane de Moirans, 6–7 “Esclaves dans les colonies espagnoles, Les” (Merlin), 44 Esponda, Eduardo, 102–3 Estatutos de limpieza de sangre (statutes of blood purity), 50 Estévez, Francisco, 92–93 Everett, Alexander Hill, 43–44 Ewige Jude, Der (film), 48 exile, 69 Fein, Helen, 129–30n82, 132n96, 137n12 Felsenstein, Frank, 38–39, 134n114, 152n19 Figarola Caneda, Domingo, 176n129 Fischer, Sibylle on abolitionist literature, 165n14 on Cuban narrative literature, 8 on “Good Slave” trope, 157n86 on El otro Francisco (film), 174n114 on Plácido, 124n40 on Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 142n75 on slavery, 158n87, 162n136, 183n14 Foucault, Michel, 10–11, 103
Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, The (Chamberlain), 20 Fradera, Josep Maria, 160n108 Francisco (Suárez y Romero), 69, 95 Francisco de Jaca, 6, 7 Franco, José Luciano, 86, 161n123 Garb, Tamar, 37, 137n10, 138nn34–35 García, Antonio, 94 Ghorbal, Karim, 106, 119–20n56, 127n68, 161n122, 165n16, 166n35 Gilman, Sander, 19–20 Gilroy, Paul, 3, 108, 114n16 Giral, Sergio, 96 Girard, Patrick, 123n26 Goldberg, David Theo, 16, 60, 182–83n13, 184n22 Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, Gertrudis, 9–10, 39, 44, 53–54. See also Autobiografía (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga); Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga) González Larrinaga, Bonifacio, 23 Gow, Andrew Colin, 38, 62–63 Graff Zivin, Erin, 108, 112–13n7, 146n107, 183n19 Gray, Richard, 117n35 Grito de Lares (1868), 77 Gross, John, 18 Guettel, Jens-Uwe, 183n14 Guichard, Joseph-Benoit, 118n49 Haberly, David, 52, 148n138 Haitian revolution (1792), 13, 40, 43, 71, 83 Hatfield, Charles, 77 Havane, La (Merlin), 29–30, 35, 44 Heredia, José María, 9, 118n49, 172n99 Hill, Ruth, 36 Historia de una pelea cubana contra los demonios (Ortiz), 39 Hobsbawm, Eric, 41 Hostos, Eugenio Maria de, 57 Hugo, Victor, 18, 39 Hulme, Peter, 175n125 Humboldt, Alexander von, 24
Index [ 201 ]
Ideas sobre la incorporación de Cuba en los Estados Unidos (Saco), 80–81 île de Cuba, L’ (Piron), 13, 14 incest, 87 ingenio: Complejo económico social cubano del azúcar, El (Moreno Fraginals), 24–25 “Ingenios” (Suárez y Romero), 95 Irving, Washington, 172n99 “isla de los Monopantos, La” (Quevedo), 18 Island of Cuba, The (Humboldt), 24 Jacobson, Matthew Frye, 20, 38, 39–40, 57, 66, 119n52, 124n31 “Jesus Christ Slave” (trope), 100 Jewishness, as racial identity, 19–21, 37–38, 39–40 Judaized merchant in Cecilia Valdés (Villaverde), 31, 82, 87, 98–101, 102–4 in La cuarterona (Tapia y Rivera), 58, 60, 62–66, 67–68, 77–78 in Los cubanos pintados por sí mismos, 16–17, 31 in Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 35–40, 41–42, 45–51 slave trade and, 73–74, 85–86 slavery and, 5–8 as stereotype in literature and culture, 2–3, 5, 14–15, 17–20, 31–32 usury and, 17–19, 32–34, 37, 64 in La venta de un ingenio (Bachiller y Morales), 15–16, 31, 35 judío (Jew), use of term, 1, 13, 17, 122n12 Junta de Información de Ultramar (Colonial Reform Commission), 76–77, 78 Kirkpatrick, Susan, 53–54, 142n75, 148n138, 149n143 Knight, Franklin, 25, 27, 166n47 Knox, Robert, 20 Kutzinski, Vera M. on blanqueamiento, 102
on Cecilia Valdés (Villaverde), 102, 180n169 on Cuban narrative literature, 8 on marquillas, 145n100 on La mulata (Landaluze), 156n63 on mulataje, 124–25n40 on Muñoz, 119n55, 133–34n109, 135n113 on Olympia (Manet), 146n105 on Plácido, 140n58 Ladder Conspiracy (Conspiración de la Escalera), 44, 58 Lamartine, Alphonse de, 172n99 Lamore, Jean, 102 Landaluze, Víctor Patricio de, 31–32, 156n63 Lazo, Rodrigo, 165n12, 165n15 Liebman, Seymour, 116n33 Luis, William, 148n129, 171n92 Luschan, Felix von, 109 Macbeth (Shakespeare), 39 Madan, Cristóbal, 87, 94 Madden, Robert Richard, 43, 95–96 Madrid, Treaty of (1817), 42, 73 Madrid, Treaty of (1835), 42–43, 82–83 “maestro de escuela, El” (Millán), 16–17, 31 Maluquer de Motes, Jordi, 125n47, 150n153 Manet, Édouard, 146n105 Marcela, o ¿a cuál de los tres? (Bretón de los Herreros), 15 Marcus, Laura, 3, 11, 114n16, 115n19, 183n19 Marin, Bernd, 2, 14–15, 113n9 marronage (a slave’s running away), 89–90 Martí, José, 77 Martinez-Alier, Verena, 50, 102, 179n161 Martínez Villergas, Juan, 32 Méndez Vigo, Santiago, 75 Merchant of Venice, The (Shakespeare), 18–19, 38–39 merchants, 22–30. See also Judaized merchant
[ 202 ] The Merchant of Havana
Merlin, Maria de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, comtesse de, 29–30, 35, 44 Millán, José Agustín, 16–17, 31 Mills, Charles, 107 Mis memorias o Puerto Rico como lo encontré y como lo dejo (Tapia y Rivera), 58–60, 75 Miser’s Daughter, The (Ainsworth), 98 Modernity and the Holocaust (Bauman), 19, 111–12n6 Monte, Ricardo del, 105–6 Moreno Fraginals, Manuel on “Jesus Christ Slave” trope, 100 on merchants, 27, 125n49, 129n80 on nobility, 65, 132n96 on notional Jewishness, 17 on slavery and slave trade, 82, 91, 122n12, 166n44, 167n53, 170n72, 183n14 on sugar industry, 22, 24–25 mulata, La (Esponda), 102–3 mulata, La (Landaluze), 156n63 “mulata, La” (Muñoz del Monte), 119n55 mulattos and mulataje Buscaglia-Salgado on, 21, 45, 113n7, 119n52, 149n140 in Cecilia Valdés (Villaverde), 67, 82, 87, 100, 102 in La cuarterona (Tapia y Rivera), 57–58, 66–69 Kutzinski on, 124–25n40 in Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 45–47, 50–53, 54, 66–67 Muñoz del Monte, Francisco, 119n55, 133–34n109, 135n113 Murray, David R., 43, 73, 140n60, 161n122, 169n63, 182n6 Nation of Islam, 5 Nochlin, Linda, 36 Notes on Cuba (Wurdemann), 1, 24, 27, 30, 31 “Nuestra América” (Martí), 77 Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (ingenio), 23
O’Donnell, Leopoldo, 44, 58, 87 Oliver Twist (Dickens), 38–39 Olympia (Manet), 146n105 Omi, Michael, 2 Ortiz, Fernando ajiaco metaphor by, 4 on Cuban racial categories, 156–57n73 on extranjerismo, 131n92 on Jews, 39, 99–100 on loans, 22 on slavery and slave trade, 84 on sugar industry, 41, 89 on tobacco industry, 93 Othello (Shakespeare), 39 otro Francisco, El (film), 96 Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Lord, 74 Paquette, Robert L., 64, 65–66, 131–32n94, 135–36n2, 147–48n124, 159n95 Pastor, Brigida, 138n29 Pérez, Louis A., 22 “Petrona y Rosalía” (Tanco y Bosmeniel), 146n113 Pichardo y Tapia, Esteban, 1, 3, 102 Pick, Daniel, 123n26 Piron, Hippolyte, 13, 14 Plácido (poet), 124n40, 140n58 Poyo, Gerald E., 169n63 privilegio de ingenios (privilege of sugar mills), 16, 22–23, 153n25 proteophobia, 19 Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The, 18 Puerto Rico, 57–59, 76–77, 78 Pushkin, Aleksandr, 18 quadroon, use of term, 67. See also cuarterona, La (Tapia y Rivera) Quevedo, Francisco de, 18 Quiñones, Francisco Mariano, 76 Races of Men, The (Knox), 20 Ramiro y Corrales, Mariano, 32–34 Real Consulado, 25 refaccionistas (financing merchants), 22–27, 152n25
Index [ 203 ]
Reglamento de esclavos (Slave regulations), 87 Representación al Rey sobre la extinción del tráfico de negros y medios de mejorar la suerte de los esclavos coloniales (Arango y Parreño), 72, 86, 87 Revista Bimestre Cubana (magazine), 75 Ritcher, Federico, 172n99 Rodrigo y Alharilla, Martín, 159n101, 160n107 Rodríguez, Ileana, 106, 163n1, 165n14 Rosemond de Beauvallon, Jean Baptiste, 26, 31 Rothberg, Michael, 3, 107–8, 120n58, 122n9 Ruether, Rosemary R., 112n6, 123n17, 145n100 Ruiz Belvis, Segundo, 76 Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga) as abolitionist and feminist novel, 53–54 Amerindians in, 55–56 historical context of, 40–44 Judaized merchant in, 35–40, 41–42, 45–51 mulattos and slavery in, 44–47, 50–53, 54, 66–67 as racial project, 9–10, 56, 108–9 Villaverde on, 98 Saco, José Antonio annexationist movement and, 80–81 on blanqueamiento, 101 on slavery and slave trade, 43, 74, 86– 87, 147–48n124, 157–58n87, 163n4 Said, Edward, 108, 119n52 Saint Domingue. See Haitian revolution (1792) Sancho, Vicente, 74–75 Sand, George, 18, 39 Santner, Eric L., 121n6 Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher on Puerto Rico, 162n133, 162n137 on slavery, 77, 154n28, 159n95
on Spanish empire, 159–60n103, 183n14 Scott, Nina M., 143n84 Scott, Rebecca J., 143n82 Scott, Walter, 18, 39, 93 Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, The (Nation of Islam), 5 Serrano y Domínguez, Francisco, 62 servitus Judaeorum (“Servitude of the Jews”), 5–8 Shakespeare, William, 18–19, 38–39 Siempreviva, La (magazine), 180–81n171 Siervos libres o la justa defensa de la libertad natural de los esclavos (Moirans), 6–7 slave trade, 8, 42–44, 70–75, 82–84, 85–87 slavery British Empire and, 83 buen tratamiento and, 11, 81–82, 84, 85–87 in Cecilia Valdés (Villaverde), 70, 81–82, 88–92, 93–94, 96–98 coffee industry and, 93–95 in La cuarterona (Tapia y Rivera), 58, 69–71 Del Monte on, 79–80, 96 phases of, 72–73, 82–83 in Puerto Rico, 76–77, 78 in Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 44–47 servitus Judaeorum and, 5–8 sugar industry and, 13–14, 22, 24–25, 41, 83, 84–87 Tapia on, 75–76 uprisings and, 21 women and, 90–91 social order, 1–2, 14, 21, 26–30. See also merchants Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Puerto Rico), 58 Sociedad Recolectora de Documentos Históricos de la Isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico, La, 59 Sollors, Werner, 67, 69, 156n70 Sommer, Doris, 55–56, 70
[ 204 ] The Merchant of Havana
Stevens, Camilla, 151n6 Steyn, Juliet, 136n4, 147n120 Stoler, Ann Laura, 102, 115n22 Stratton, Jon, 150–51n4 Suárez y Romero, Anselmo, 23, 69, 95 sugar industry British credit and, 40–42 credit crisis and, 22–26, 83–84 growth of, 1, 8–9, 13–14 Haitian revolution and, 13, 71 privilegio de ingenios and, 16, 22–23, 153n25 slavery and, 13–14, 22, 24–25, 41, 83, 84–87 supresión del tráfico de esclavos africanos en la isla de Cuba, La (Saco), 86–87 Surwillo, Lisa, 181n175 Tabaré (Zorrilla de San Martín), 55–56 Tacón y Rosique, Miguel, 43, 74 Taguieff, Pierre-André, 118n51, 147n115 Taíno Indians, 55–56 Tanco y Bosmeniel, Felix, 146n113 Tapia y Rivera, Alejandro, 23, 56, 58–60, 75–76, 126n57. See also cuarterona, La (Tapia y Rivera) Ten Years’ War (1868–1878), 77, 78, 81 Thomas, Hugh on Betancourt family, 136n2 on coffee industry, 176n126 on loans, 22 on merchants, 28, 116n33 on slavery and slave trade, 44, 73, 84, 166n30, 172n102, 173n104, 182n8 on sugar industry, 111n4, 127–28n75 tobacco industry, 93 Tomich, Dale on Arango, 107 on slavery, 11, 72–73, 82, 120n57, 120n59, 127n74, 159n97, 165n17, 166n50, 170n72, 170n75, 182n8 on sugar industry, 1, 123n16 Torrente, Mariano, 25–26 trabajo libre y el libre-cambio en Cuba, El (Madan), 87
tragic mulatto and tragic mulata (trope), 4, 54, 63, 67 Travels in the West (Turnbull), 24, 93–95 Treaty between Great Britain and Spain for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1817), 42, 73 Treaty between Great Britain and Spain for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1835), 42–43, 82–83 Triunfo, El (journal), 105–6 Turnbull, David, 24, 43, 58, 90–91, 93–95 United States, 80–81 “usurero, El” (Ramiro y Corrales), 32–34 usury and moneylending, 17–19, 32–34, 37, 64 Valdés, Gerónimo, 87 Varela, Félix, 79 Velázquez, Diego, 5 venta de un ingenio, La (Bachiller y Morales), 15–16, 31, 35 Verdad, La (newspaper), 80–81, 176– 77n130, 181n172 Villaverde, Cirilo, 78, 80–82, 92–93, 102– 3. See also Cecilia Valdés o La Loma de Ángel (Villaverde) Voz de Cuba, La (journal), 105, 106 white slavery, 79–80 Williams, Lorna Valerie on Francisco (Suárez y Romero), 152n23 on Sab (Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga), 52, 139n46, 141n73, 142n78, 147n116, 148n132 on slavery, 160n112 Winant, Howard, 2 Wurdemann, John George F., 1, 24, 27, 30, 31 Žižek, Slavoj, 49, 60, 82, 104, 121n4, 163n1 Zola, Émile, 18, 39 Zorrilla de San Martín, Juan, 55–56
Index [ 205 ]