New Book: Gerard Aching’s “Freedom from Liberation—Slavery, Sentiment, and Literature in Cuba”


Indiana University Press (Blacks in the Diaspora Series) has just published Gerard Aching’s Freedom from Liberation: Slavery, Sentiment, and Literature in Cuba. The evocative cover art is a detail from Trinidadian artist Christopher Cozier’s “Looking in Watching” from his Tropical Night series.

Description: By exploring the complexities of enslavement in the autobiography of Cuban slave-poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797–1854), Gerard Aching complicates the universally recognized assumption that a slave’s foremost desire is to be freed from bondage. As the only slave narrative in Spanish that has surfaced to date, Manzano’s autobiography details the daily grind of the vast majority of slaves who sought relief from the burden of living under slavery. Aching combines historical narrative and literary criticism to take the reader beyond Manzano’s text to examine the motivations behind anticolonial and antislavery activism in pre-revolution Cuba, when Cuba’s Creole bourgeoisie sought their own form of freedom from the colonial arm of Spain.

Gerard Aching specializes in 19th- and 20th-century Caribbean literatures and intellectual histories, theories of modernism and modernity in Latin America, and 19th-century colonial literatures in the Caribbean, with a specific focus on the relations between slavery, literary sensibility, and philosophy. In the contemporary period, he has worked on visual regimes and politics in Caribbean popular cultures. He is the author of The Politics of Spanish American Modernismo: By Exquisite Design (Cambridge, 1997) and Masking and Power: Carnival and Popular Culture in the Caribbean (Minnesota, 2002). [. . .] Aching has been the recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship (Brown University, 1999) and a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2003).

For purchasing information, see

Also see Christopher Cozier’s artwork at

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