A Cimarrón, in Italian

A Cimarrón, in Italian
Fecha de publicación: 
12 May 2024
Imagen principal: 

Miguel Barnet is an author edited and translated all over the world, but one of his books may stand out in his extraordinary literary itinerary: Biografía de un Cimarrón.

The Italian publishing house Quodlibet has just published in its collection Historia Viva, the eighty-sixth edition of that title from 1966, with notes by Alejo Carpentier and Ítalo Calvino.

About this work Calvino wrote: "A unique document, one of those rare cases in which ethnographic and sociological material spontaneously assumes, due to its inner force, a poetic and literary value."

And therein lies the key to the extraordinary transcendence of this text: more than testimony, it’s a testimonial novel, it becomes a committed and inspired recreation of a first-person narrative. And that narrative summarizes and explains significant aspects of national history.

Miguel Barnet's book opened a path in Cuban literature. And beyond literature. No wonder is  considered a classic.

When Miguel Barnet met him, in 1963, Esteban Montejo, the protagonist, was more than a hundred years old. It has been said that he was a shrewd, stubborn and proud man, with extremely vivid memories.

This book, the editors point out, was born from months of recordings of the conversations that both had at the Veterans House in Havana.

The result is a wonderful chronicle, which goes from the sugarmill and the plantation to the mountains, evoking the adventures of an individual in a particularly demanding context.

This recent Italian edition was curated by Elena Zapponi, an anthropologist from the University of La Sapienza, who also wrote an epilogue in which she analyzes the historical and linguistic values of the work, its originality in the testimonial genre, and the richness of its lyrical implications.

A note released by the publisher announces that the testimonial novel will be presented in different cities in Italy with the presence of Miguel Barnet. The Quodlibet publishing house will soon publish the novels Rachel's Song and Real Life, other significant Barnet texts.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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