Lisa Surwillo's Monsters by Trade: Slave Traffickers in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture is a necessary work. As its title suggests, the author discusses how Spanish literature (and culture) has represented the figure of the slave trader over the last 200 years. While her study stems from a thorough analysis of various literary works, Surwillo reaches beyond literature and literary criticism to further incorporate the analysis of other cultural expressions, including architecture, cultural tourism, and the politics of memory. Surwillo's starting point is clear: that coloniality is the other side of modernity, or as Robin Blackburn has put it, Atlantic slavery represented the dark side of European modernity. Thus, as Surwillo points out, the history of the modern Spanish nation-state's construction cannot be understood without taking into account the role played by slavery in Cuba. One should not forget that Spain was...
Book Review|February 01 2017
Martín Rodrigo y Alharilla; Monsters by Trade: Slave Traffickers in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 February 2017; 97 (1): 188–189. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-3727815
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