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Carnival and National Identity in the Poetry of
Afrocubanismo$
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Thomas F. Anderson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035581

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035581.001.0001

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“Comparsa habanera,” Emilio Ballagas's Emblematic Contribution to Afrocubanismo

“Comparsa habanera,” Emilio Ballagas's Emblematic Contribution to Afrocubanismo

Chapter:
(p.108) 4 “Comparsa habanera,” Emilio Ballagas's Emblematic Contribution to Afrocubanismo
Source:
Carnival and National Identity in the Poetry of Afrocubanismo
Author(s):

Thomas F. Anderson

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813035581.003.0005

This chapter focuses on Emilio Ballagas's lively carnival poem “Comparsa habanera.” It reveals that the poem is symbolic in different ways of the ambivalence felt by middle-class Cubans toward Afro-Cubans and their culture. The chapter argues that the poem echoes the sentiment prevalent in Havana in the mid-1930s that African-influenced cultural signs would be accepted as important parts of Cuba's national identity only if they were customized to fit the standards of the middle-class majority. The poem is adorned with vivacious rhythm and colorful imagery.

Keywords:   Emilio Ballagas, Comparsa habanera, middle-class Cubans, Afro-Cubans, Havana, Cuba, culture, cultural signs

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