An Ethnological Interpretation of the Afro-Cuban World of Lydia Cabrera (1900-1991)

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Edited by Mariela A. Gutiérrez and Julio Wedel-Carballo
This work explores Cuban ethnologist’s Lydia Cabrera works that have a mythic symbolic base within her ethnological and literary production. More specifically the author’s approach comes out of the need to create a mythic-symbolic analysis regarding Cabrera’s opus. In this book the author accomplished the task of an in-depth analysis regarding the myth and symbolism that permeates Lydia Cabrera’s short stories which up to the present have remained unexplored. Includes the most complete and exhaustive bibliography on the author to date. This book contains eleven black and white photographs.


". . .bring[s] to light the infrastructure or psyche of Cabrerian short stories and their mythical foundations . . ." - Beatriz Varela, Professor Emerita of Spanish, University of New Orleans

“In undertaking this fascinating, yet difficult task, Gutiérrez reveals the manner in which the renowned Cuban author reflects the powerful African roots cohabitating within the Cuban culture. This allows the reader to penetrate steadily into both the powers of the Yoruba cult and the hybridization so common in the Afro-Cuban universe, hybridization clearly reflected in Cabrera’s symbolic language.” – Luis A. Jiménez, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages, Florida Southern University

“. . . yet another major scholarly undertaking by Gutiérrez who has made trailblazing contributions to the field of Afro-Hispanic Studies. As the world’s leading scholar on Lydia Cabrera, Mariela A. Gutiérrez’s studies are characterized by excellence in that she has always sailed against the tide by shying away from the beaten paths. Instead, she chooses a more challenging route by engaging and exploring unexploited/uncharted grounds. She is, if I may use the expression, an archaeological literary and cultural critic.”- Dr. Mbare Ngom, Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson, Department of World Languages and International Studies, Director, African Studies Program, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Table of Contents

List of Photographs of Lydia Cabrera

Foreword by Beatriz Varela, Professor Emerita


Author’s Prologue: Lydia Cabrera (1900-1991): Writer of Afro-Cuban Tales


Chapter I: African and Afro-Cuban Factors in the Structure of Lydia Cabrera’s Black Short Stories

Chapter II: The Characters: Gods, Animals, Humans, Supernatural Beings and Objects

Chapter III: The Theme of the Waters The Symbolic Language of the Waters in Lydia Cabrera’s Short Stories
Turtle’s Stories and Their Relation to the Waters
The Privilege of Intimating With the Waters
The Myth of the Wasteland

By Way of an Epilogue
Afro-Cuban Lore and Mores
El Monte: The Setting of Lydia Cabrera’s Cosmos
Aché: Cornerstone of Yoruba Mythology

Works by Lydia Cabrera
Publications on Lydia Cabrera’s Opus
Newspaper Articles about Lydia Cabrera
Works Cited and Consulted

Other Cuba Books

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