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Barnet, Miguel

KIMBERLY NANCE

Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Extract

Born January 28, 1940 in Havana, Cuba, ethnographer, novelist, poet, and critic Miguel Barnet is credited with initiating the Latin American literary genre known as testimonio . Barnet, who was studying advertising at the time of the Cuban Revolution, went on to research and teach ethnology, and was strongly influenced by Fernando Ortiz and by Alejo Carpentier, with whom he first worked in the 1960s at the Editorial Nacional. Barnet has served on the executive council of the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO), and is a founding member of the National Association of Cuban Writers and Artists. While Barnet has produced numerous books of poetry, novels, and critical texts, his most significant work consists of his testimonial novels, and in particular Biografía de un cimarrón (1966), which is regarded as the standard-bearer of the genre. Based on a series of interviews with Esteban Montejo, whom Barnet reportedly met as a result of a newspaper article honoring centenarians, the novel has twice been translated into English: in 1968 by Jocasta Innes with the title Autobiography of a Runaway Slave , and again in 1994 by W. Nick Hill as Biography of a Runaway Slave: A Novel . The narrative recounts the life experience of Montejo, who was 103 years old at the time of the interviews, from his birth on a plantation and childhood in the slave quarters, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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