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Open Access Toward a cultural history of America

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Toward a cultural history of America

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

[First paragraph]Caliban and otheressays, by ROBERTO FERNANDEZ RETAMAR. (Translatedby Edward Baker, Foreword by Fredric Jameson.) Minneapolis: Universityof Minnesota Press, 1989. xvi + 139 pp. (Cloth US $35.00, Paper US$14.95)Deconstructing America: representations of the other, by PETER MASON.London: Routledge, 1990. vii + 216 pp. (Cloth £ 30.00)Both these books beiong to a field of study that aims to analyze the ways in which Europe, or more generally the West, has represented to itself in words and images the non-European world. Edward Said's Orientalism inaugurated that field in 1978, immediately constituting a corpus of work through its author's recognition of precedent and analogue, then acting as indispensable touchstone to the subsequent development of the field during the 1980s. Although Said's work deals with the oriënt, however defined, a surprising amount of ideological analysis of colonial representation had already taken place within the Caribbean. Frantz Fanon, Eric Williams, and Aimé Césaire were three notable precursors recognized by Said; and Roberto Fernéndez Retamar's essays, especially those written in the late 1960s and early 1970s, pursued many similar themes within the rather different context of the Cuban Revolution. Four of those essays are now published in English, along with a more recent reflection on the most famous of them, "Caliban."

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