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Title: Homosexuality and invisibility in revolutionary Cuba : Reinaldo Arenas and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Author: Lopez, M. E.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an attempt to demonstrate that the discourse of the homosexual community to preserve their sexual identity has survived in Cuba, in spite of the institutionalized homophobia ushered in by Fidel Castro’s regime. I will centre part of my analysis on Reinaldo Arenas’s irreverent discourse on sexuality and national identity as developed in extremis in Cuba and in exile. I will refer to Arenas’s status in terms of visibility and invisibility. These terms are essential to an understanding of Arenas’s struggle to secure the publication of his books abroad since his books have been censored in Cuba where he is considered a persona non grata. I will also tackle Gutiérrez Alea’s allegorical portrait of the issue of homosexuality and homophobia in revolutionary Cuba in his film Fresa y chocolate (1993). I take both Arenas’s discourse on defence of sexual and intellectual freedom and Gutiérrez Alea’s film as indicatives that all attempts to silence the issue of homophobia in Cuba have had the opposite effect since they have increased the discrepancies between dissidents and supporters of the Castro system and made visible the issue for the population in general. In my work it has been essential to consult Arenas’s long correspondence with family, friends and editors, the interviews with him in Cuba and in exile and the manuscripts of his works, which are at the Firestone Library’s Rare Books Collection at Princeton University. My correspondence with the person who seems to have inspired the plot of Fresa y chocolate, the Cuban writer Roger Salas, has been essential in order to approach Gutiérrez Alea’s film. Salas’s own account of the events in his short story ‘Helados de pasión: el cordero, la lluvia y el hombre desnudo’ (1998) offers an alternative meaning to Gutiérrez Alea’s portrait in Fresa y chocolate of how ideological intolerance operated in Cuba during the 1990s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available