About Jorge Mañach
Jorge Mañach is one of the most important Cuban thinkers of the twentieth century. His activity as a philosopher, academic, journalist, historian and politician is an index of the dramas and conflicts of Cuba at that time. Mañach, author of Martí, The Apostle, is largely responsible not only for constructing the twentieth-century image of one of the nation’s founders, but also for dissecting the complex relationship between Cuba and the United States in the controversial Manifesto of the extremist political group ABC. His diverse list of writings includes the foreword to a clandestine edition of Fidel Castro’s famous 1953 speech, History Will Absolve Me. He also belonged to the CIA-backed Cuban Association of Congress for Cultural Freedom, whose goal was to destroy anti-totalitarian thinking around the world.
An Inquiry into Choteo by Jorge Mañach, translated by Jacqueline Loss
The first English translation of An Inquiry into the Choteo (1928) by Jorge Mañach, by the academic Jacqueline Loss, contains all the elements of a return, a return trip, a reparation. The author of this classic essay on Cuban culture was a translator of ideas and texts from English to Spanish, written and read in Cuba in the first half of the twentieth century. Mañach translated and played Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Santayana, James and Dewey. His most emblematic essay, Una indagación sobre el Choteo, was, at the same time, another translation exercise: an attempt to codify Cuban culture through one of its (non-)civilized practices. With this English translation, An Inquiry into the Choteo completes its meaning.Rafael Rojas, author of Fighting Over Fidel: The New York Intellectuals and the Cuban Revolution .
This is more than a translation of a foundational work, it is a reckoning. English-speaking audiences can no longer hide from Mañach’s great call to disorder. Through Loss’s skillful and erudite translation, this elusive gem of New World performance theory retains its attitude to critical play. This work offers embers, always ready to ignite what we thought we knew about humor, colonialism, and the deliberate activities behind national significance and bizarre systematic practices that it cannot fully contain. Loss’s achievement is a gift to Inter-American thought, an alternative starting point in the repertoire of speech acts, especially rich for the study of race and gender, and all creative negotiations with place and scale.Alexandra T. Vazquez, author of Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music.
An Inquiry into ChoteoJacqueline Loss
From the introduction to An Inquiry into Choteo
The fact that he is a difficult figure to define, textually and ideologically throughout his life, is part of my own motivation to carry out this translation of one of the most authoritative essays in Spanish, comparable to other classical meditations on Latin American and national identity, such as Nuestra América by José Martí, Ariel by José Enrique Rodó, Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana by José Carlos Mariátegui and El laberinto de la soledad by Octavio Paz, among others.
Jacqueline Loss is Professor of Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (2013) and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (2005), and co-editor of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (with José Manuel Prieto, 2012) and New Short Fiction from Cuba (with Esther Whitfield, 2007). His essays and translations have appeared in various publications such as Nepantla, Chasqui, Latino and Latina Writers, La Habana Elegante, New Centennial Review, Bomb, La Gaceta, Kamchatka, Words Without Borders, The Brooklyn Rail, among others. The Spanish translation of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary will soon be published by Almenara.