Cecilia Valdes has ratings and 14 reviews. Ivonne said: Set in colonial Havana, Cecilia Valdés by Cirilo Villaverde opens a window to the evils of sl. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The main plot of Cecilia Valdes is typical of the Romantic novel, . Esteban Rodriguez Herrera, ed., Cirilo Villaverde, Cecilia Valdes o laLoma del Angel.

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Return to Book Page. Preview — Cecilia Valdes by Cirilo Villaverde. Cecilia Valdes is arguably the most important novel of 19th century Cuba. Originally published in New York City inCirilo Villaverde’s novel has fascinated readers inside and outside Cuba since the late 19th century. In this new English translation, a vast landscape emerges of the moral, political, and sexual depravity caused by slavery and colonialism.

Set in the Ha Cecilia Valdes is arguably the most important novel of 19th century Cuba. Set in the Havana of the s, the novel introduces us to Cecilia, a beautiful light-skinned mulatta, who is being pursued by the son of a Spanish slave trader, named Leonardo. Unbeknownst to the two, they are the children of the same father.

Eventually Cecilia gives in to Leonardo’s advances; she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl.

Cecilia Valdés or El Angel Hill

When Leonardo, who gets bored with Cecilia after a while, agrees to marry a white upper class woman, Cecilia vows revenge. A mulatto friend and suitor of hers kills Leonardo, and Cecilia is thrown into prison as an accessory to the crime. For the contemporary reader Helen Lane’s masterful translation of Cecilia Valdes opens a new window into the intricate problems of race relations in Cuba and the Caribbean.

There are the elite social circles of European and New World Whites, the rich culture of the free people of color, the class to which Cecilia herself belonged, and then the slaves, divided among themselves between those who were born in Africa and those who were born in the New World, and those who worked on the sugar plantation and those who worked in the households of the rich people in Havana.

Cecilia Valdes thus presents a vast portrait of sexual, social, and racial oppression, and the lived experience of Spanish colonialism in Cuba. Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Cecilia Valdesplease sign up.

Cecilia Valdes : Cirilo Villaverde :

Lists with This Book. Written inVillaverde was describing contemporary evils much as Harriet Beecher Stowe did.

Think of it as the Cuban Uncle Tom’s Cabineven if it goes light on violence and heavy on flowery romance. Her grandmother, Chepilla, after five years, is able to regain custody of the girl through threats of exposure, and brings Cecilia up, but Chepilla doesn’t disclose Cecilia’s paternity.

The coquettish and beautiful Cecilia has many admirers, but she gains a dangerous one: However, like his father, Leonardo has a roving eye. Leonardo unwittingly falls in love with Cecilia, his half-sister, and she with him.

But the fickle Leonardo faldes Cecilia for Isabel Ilincheta and respectability. Needless to say, this tale of star-crossed lovers will end tragically.

In addition to critcisms of slavery, the novel also shines a light on the racial and class system of colonial America. The Spanish-born oligarchs top the social hierarchy, followed by the white Cuban colonists criollossorted by wealth and family distinction.


Class distinctions also exist among those who are mixed race and those who black, between those who are free and those who are still enslaved, those who toil on the sugar plantations and those in domestic service at the homes of the elite, between those who were born on Cuban soil and those who were plucked from Africa.

The novel needs to be read in light of its 19th century ceccilia. The multi-cast recording makes the action easy to follow, and at vilalverde a little over two hours, this abridged version won’t get too overwhelming.

Cecilia Valdes: Or El Angel Hill by Cirilo Villaverde

This isn’t just for those trying to improve their Spanish. Nov 11, Ferris rated it it was amazing. Set in the early s in Cuba, this novel encompasses a marvelous melodrama and genuinely interesting, if depressing, history of social class and slavery of the period.

The only negative is that the ending, after pages of detail and delight wraps up in 1 page in a very unsatisfying manner. Al leer esta narrativa situada en Cuba en el siglo XVIIII, se reconocen con no mucha sorpresa las nociones racistas con que hemos crecido.

Aun dentro de nuestras propias culturas, nuestras familias, escuelas, conversaciones con pinceladas de prejuicios emergen de la memoria. Cecilia Valverde es una novela que ya repite en el dialogo de los personajes las actitudes de una sociedad en esclavitud. Toda la sociedad es esclava de los prejuicios.

Cuando la abuela mulata le dice a la muchacha que porqu Al leer esta narrativa situada en Cuba en el siglo XVIIII, se reconocen con no mucha sorpresa las nociones racistas con que hemos crecido. Cirilo Valverde crea un personaje que lleva sus propias iniciales: Villaverde’s novel is a source of great Cuban literary pride, and many lazily refer to it as the country’s first great piece of fiction. Studying the book for cecliia PhD exam alongside contemporary works like Huck Finn and Silas LaphamI wondered if the book ceilia as “American” as it is “Cuban” considering Villaverde wrote it after living in the United States for decades, but that’s a question for a longer investigation Apr 15, Laura Bulawski rated it really liked it.

The book takes place in early 19th century Cuba and was published in in Havana, revised several times, then published in New York City in The story is like a Greek tragedy, even Shakespearean. Unfortunately, it misses the mark of great literature imho, not because of the plots and subplots which are riveting but the unevenness of the writing and a few villaverfe contradictions, in the English language version at least.

Through much of the book, Villaverde goes into minutely detailed descriptions of scenes in Cuba. As for Cecilia, our mixed-race heroine, she is often described as looking very much like her lover’s sister who is white.

Villavrde different parts of the book, her grandmother and great-grandmother are described as mulatto with white fathers. This is important in the story since these minor differences were very important in 19th century slave countries. Regardless, no matter how her lover, Leonardo, felt about her, he could not marry her and expect to be accepted by his family and friends. Also, Leonardo’s mother refers to herself as creole and her husband as Spanish from Spain.

Presumably, the older definition of ‘creole’ is being used in the book. There are sub-plots involving Cecilia’s enslaved wet-nurse and her husband and several side stories which are related in greater detail than the conclusion of the main story.

In the last few pages very few pagesthe fate of Cecilia, her faithful friend, Leonardo’s betrothed and Cecilia’s wet-nurse are described hurriedly as if the author had 10 minutes to finish the book. It’s startling in a book with so many detailed descriptions of people’s lives, the streets of Valds and landscapes of Cuba’s countryside which only a person familiar with Cuba would find interesting.


So here’s the spoiler: Neither Leonardo nor Cecilia knew they were brother and sister.

It seems only 3 people knew: Cecilia’s father, mother and her grandmother who raised her. Cecilia looked white and aspired to marry her handsome upper-class white boyfriend, Leonardo.

She adores him, failing to see his shallow character. Leonardo is described as a spoiled, self-absorbed young man. So his devotion to Cecilia seems out of character. He may have been a narcissist because Cecilia is described valds looking exactly like Leonardo’s full sister.

His mother is a malignant enabler. The feckless Leonardo wants it all. Ultimately, he succeeds in making Cecilia his mistress. She gets pregnant and he gets bored with her.

Enabling mother to the rescue: She arranges to have Cecilia locked up on false charges and arranges Leonardo’s wedding to the appropriate Isabel. When Cecilia found out he was planning to marry someone else, she turned to her old friend and admirer, Pimienta and told him, “This marriage must not take place.

Cecilia was grief stricken. Oddly, there is no mention of Valde fate after the murder. But Cecilia is arrested as an accomplice and put vldes an insane asylum where she meets her cecilua who’s been locked up in the same asylum since Cecilia’s birth. Cecilia had thought her mother was dead. Isabel, who was always tender-hearted and anti-slavery, decided to join a convent.

Most of this was suddenly thrown at the reader at the end of the book. The book was a fascinating look into Cuban life in the 19th century, made all the more fascinating for me by a valldes to Cuba in There are several subplots such villaverde the escaped slave who succeeds in killing his wily captor and the life of Cecilia’s wet-nurse who was also a wet-nurse for Leonardo’s family.

She had a close relationship to the escaped slave mentioned above. Sep 12, Valerie Sherman rated it liked it. I don’t know how to describe this experience except to say that it is like a very important Cuban version of “Gone with the Wind;” the racism is more prevalent but also more tongue in cheek.

Very interesting post-Cuba-trip reading. Apr 10, Howard rated it really liked it Shelves: This is arguably the most famous Cuban literary book of the late s and relates the life villzverde times in the slavery communities in It was published in but with an early short story version in which was much altered and expanded — to now some pages on text.

The author Villaverde had his own history of problems related to a plot to annex Cuba to USA in and was imprisoned only to escape. I understand the book was made into a film in This is yet another of This is arguably the most famous Cuban literary book of the late s and relates the life and times in the slavery communities in Goodreads make this worse by confirming fillaverde remaining 0.

Slavery cscilia still vigorous if internally challenged.