The ‘other’ Havana of Leonardo Padura Fuentes: Palimpsests, heterotopias and cultural subversion in La neblina del ayer

Diana Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

his article examines Cuban author Leonardo Padura Fuentes’ presentation of Havana in La neblina del ayer as a palimpsestic city where different spatial and temporal strata have been built one on top of the other as a consequence of the rapid historic and political changes in Cuba. I argue that, through his narrative representation of Havana, Padura challenges the binary and exclusionary image of Cuba promoted by the Revolution, proposing instead a composite picture encompassing the complex intertwining of space, history and power. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopias, de Certeau’s city-text metaphor and Quiroga’s palimpsest model, I show how the erasure of the past is resisted in Cuba. In fact, these concepts violate conventional temporal and spatial norms and help us to stress the presence of counter-spaces and counter-histories which subvert the revolutionary hegemonic discourse. Therefore this article considers Padura’s depiction of the geographical and cultural stratification of Havana as a contestation of any form of historical or cultural homogeneity and as a critical reinterpretation of the Cuban present and past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Romance Studies
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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