Caribbean Literature in Spanish and Dutch

Caribbean literature in Spanish

The literature of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico shows some parallels with the literature of the other Latin American countries, but due to specific factors it has followed a different path. In the Dominican Republic during the 19th century, costumbrist tales and novels that recorded the customs and traditions of the rural population also led to attempts to find a national identity, but the intellectual elites remained in fear of their neighbors Haiti even after independence was achieved in 1865 Spain bound. This becomes clear in the most famous Dominican novel to date, »Enriquillo« (1879/1882) by Manuel de Jesús Galván (* 1834, † 1910), in which the Indian resistance against the Spanish conquest is reconciled with the alleged “Spanishism” of the Dominicans. At the beginning of the 20th century, Federico García Godoy (* 1857, † 1924) provided a more realistic approach to the recent past with his historical novels; an appreciation of the African cultural heritage only happened in the poems of Tomás Hernández Franco (* 1904, † 1952) and Manuel del Cabral (* 1907, † 1999). During the dictatorship of R. L. Trujillo (1930–61), numerous intellectuals went into exile, among them J. Bosch, the most important Dominican narrator, and Pedro Mir (* 1913, † 2000), who was awarded the title of “national poet” for his popular poem “Hay un país en el mundo” (1949). The newer novel production – to be mentioned here are v. a. Aída Cartagena Portalatín (* 1918, † 1994), Marcio Veloz Maggiolo (* 1936, † 2021), Efraim Castillo (* 1940) and Andrés L. Mateo (* 1946)  - is influenced by the Latin American boom authors in terms of the narrative techniques used, but goes its own way with regard to the obsessive preoccupation with the Trujillo dictatorship, which was experienced as a trauma.

In Puerto Rico, during the 19th century, attempts were also made to capture the essence of a specifically Puerto Rican identity through costumbrist prose works; Manuel Zeno Gandía (* 1855, † 1930) did not deliver the first outstanding novels until the turn of the century , with his cycle of novels “Crónicas de un mundo enfermo” (1894–1925), which was committed to French naturalism. Under Spanish rule, the critical intellectuals, among them Eugenio María de Hostos (* 1839, † 1903) as an outstanding essayist, had decidedly turned against Spain; however, the annexation by the USA that took place in 1898 and the accompanying progressive “Americanization” of Puerto Rico caused protests – for example in the novels ofRamón Juliá Marín (* 1878, † 1917) and Enrique A. Laguerre (* 1906, † 2005)  - and the return to the Spanish cultural tradition, which was based on the epochal essay »Insularismo« (1934) by Antonio S. Pedreira (* 1899, † 1939) dominated the identity discussion for a long time. Luis Palés Matos (* 1898, † 1959) was the first to integrate African elements in his volume of poems “Tuntún de pasa y grifería” (1937); However, an appreciation of the Afro-American cultural element appropriate to the Puerto Rican reality was only given by José Luis González (* 1926, † 1996)and his cultural-historical essay »El país de cuatro pisos«, published in 1979. Since Puerto Rico received the status of a “Free Associated State” (Spanish: “Estado Libre Asociado”) in 1952 and a mass exodus to the USA as a result of forced industrialization and restructuring of the economy, one speaks of an “insular” and a “continental” puerto – Rican literature. The most important representatives of the »island« Puerto Rican literature, which, however, also addresses the world of Puerto Ricans in New York, are: for the theater René Marqués (* 1919, † 1979) and Francisco Arriví (* 1915, † 2007), for the narrative prose (alongside R. Marqués and JL González )Pedro Juan Soto (* 1928, † 2002), Emilio Díaz Valcárcel (* 1929, † 2015), Luis Rafael Sánchez (* 1936), Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá (* 1946) and Rosario Ferré (* 1938, † 2016), who – as a logical consequence of the specific situation in Puerto Rico – she wrote and published her last novels first in English. See for countries located in Caribbean.

Caribbean literature in Dutch

Due to the eventful colonial history and the extreme diversity of languages ​​- in addition to Spanish, Portuguese, French, English and Dutch, a large number of Indian languages ​​as well as Javanese, Hindi and Chinese – the need for a common lingua franca resulted in the development of Creole languages ​​in the Dutch possessions (such as Papiamento, Sranan or Sarnami) was also favored as a written language. However, only authors who write in Dutch and publish in the Netherlands receive international attention: after C. Debrot from Bonaire, more recently, Frank Martinus Arion (* 1936, † 2015) from Curaçao, Astrid Roemer (* 1947) from Suriname and Edgar Cairo (* 1948, † 2000), who came from Suriname, but published his last novels in two languages, in Dutch and Sranan.

So far, a Caribbean writer has received the Nobel Prize for Literature: D. Walcott (1992).

Caribbean literature in Dutch