Havana: The Making of Cuban Culture
Fat cigars, big cars, dirty money, vibrant music, intellectual ferment, international tourism Havana, since its creation in 1535, has long offered a unique, bewildering mix of the backward and the hip, the seedy and the sophisticated. In many respects, it has seemed to share many of the characteristics of other colonial or post-colonial cities of the Caribbean and Latin America. But at the same time, Havana created its own niche both as an international city and a dynamic national capital on the one hand, one that both embraced and stood in opposition to its great neighbour of the North, and, on the other hand, one that simultaneously led the Cuban national search for identity and acted as a port of entry for external influences. Yet, despite Cubas fluctuating fortunes, Havana has always managed to thrive and develop its own unique character as an urban, social, economic, cultural and political site. Havana offers a sweeping account of the city and its cultural development, focusing especially on the last two centuries and on the role played by the city's cultural communities in the search for national identity. century, taking us through the periods when it was a sugar boomtown, pulled between empires, a decadent metropolis, a site of both cultural revolution and relative stagnation during the development of the Revolution to its revival in the 1990s. He looks at the often creative tensions between external influences (especially Spain, France and the United States) and indigenous cultural pressures. Areas covered include architecture, literature, music, dance, cinema and the press. Cosmopolitan playground and nationalist vanguard, Havana has developed its own original style while at the same time both reflecting and directing the complicated politics of the whole of Cuba. This book offers a concise introduction to one of the most intriguing cities of the twenty-first century.
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