Women at Sea pp 161-181 | Cite as

A “Valiant Symbol of Industrial Progress”?

Cuban Women Travelers and the United States
  • Luisa Campuzano


Among the profusion of travelogues written by European and American visitors to Cuba in the nineteenth century, there is a significant number of texts written by women.1 These are works of great significance both for the information they contribute to our knowledge of everyday life on the island a century ago, and for their distinctive perspective, which incorporates details of the conditions under which Cuban women lived, and, by way of contrast, the parameters of women’s lives in the writers’ native countries. They are of special significance in the fields of cultural and gender studies for the ample documentation they provide about the conditions that inform women’s writing in the period, and about the outcome of past projects for the education and emancipation of women.


United States Slave Trade Native Country Concert Hall North American Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    The most recent anthology covering this subject, which gathers texts by 35 men and women travelers of various nationalities (German, Italian, French, as well as British and American) is that edited by Louis A. Pérez: Slaves, Sugar, and Colonial Society: Travel Accounts of Cuba (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1992). See also Viajeras al Caribe. Selection, prologue and notes by Nara Araújo (Havana: Casa de las Américas, 1983). All the works by women writers I cite below focusing entirely or partially on Cuba are included in this volume, except for that by the Peabody sisters, whose Cartas sobre Cuba remains unpublished; other American collections of letters or memoirs about Cuba held in libraries or private collections; and scattered texts published in magazines and never published in book form.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Francine Massielo’s “Diálogo sobre la lengua: colonial, nación y género.” Casa de las Américas (Havana). 34:193 (October–December 1993): 34. Ricardo Repilado, in his essay “Acerca de viajeros y novelistas” (from his book Cosecha de dos parcelas [Havana: Letras Cubanas, 1985], 367–385), and before him Louise Hall Tharp (The Peabody Sisters of Salem [Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1950]), have studied the presence in Cuba of these singular representatives of New England’s most important literary circle. Mary wrote when in her eighties a novel inspired by her Cuban experience: Juanita, A Romance of Real Life in Cuba Fifty Years Ago.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992), 6–7.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sara Mills, Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism (London and New York: Routledge, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Louisa Mathilde Woodruff, My Winter in Cuba (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1871), 260.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Eliza McHatton-Ripley, From Flag to Flag: A Woman’s Adventures and Experiences in the South During the War, in Mexico, and in Cuba (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1889). Subsequent references will appear in parentheses in the text.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Aihwa Ong, “Colonialism and Modernity: Feminist Representation on Women in Non-Western Societies.” Feminism and the Colonial Discourse. Special issue of Inscriptions 3/4 (1988): 79–93.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Julia Howe, A Trip to Cuba (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1860), 146, 231. Subsequent references will appear in parentheses in the text.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Julio Ramos, Desencuentros de la modernidad en América Latina: Literatura y politica en el sigh XIX (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989), 145.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Manuel Pedro González, “Las relaciones intelectuales entre los Estados Unidos e Hispano América.” Universidad de la Habana 8:24–25 (1939): 84–110; José de Onís, The United States as Seen by Spanish American Writers (1176–1890) (New York: Hispanic Institute in the United States, 1952); Elizabeth Rezner Daniel, Spanish American Travellers in the United States Before 1900: A Study in Inter-American Literary Relations. Ph.D. Diss. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1959); John T. Reid, Spanish American Image of the United States, 1190–1960 (Gainesville: The University Presses of Florida, 1977).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation, 1116–1914 (Reading, PA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1976); and Robert B. Downs (comp.), Images of America: Travelers from Abroad in the New World (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c. 1987).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Marion Tinling, ed. With Woman’s Eyes: Visitors to the New World, 1115–1918 (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1993).Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Mónica Tamborenea, “La constitución de la subjetividad en los relatos de viaje en los “80,” Dispositio XVII:42–43 (1992): 309.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    See Carolyn Porter, “What We Know that We Don’t Know: Remapping American Literary Studies.” American Literary History 6:3 (Fall 1994): 467–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 17.
    Condesa de Merlin [María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo], La Havane. 3 Vols (Paris: Librairie d’Amyot, 1844). Subsequent references will appear in parentheses in the text.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    See Salvador Bueno, “Introductión.” In Condesa de Merlín [María de las Mercedes Santa-Cruz y Montalvo], Viaje a la Havana (Havana: Editorial de Arte y Literatura, 1974), 30–34, 376–377. See also Urbano Martínez, Domingo del Monte y su tiempo (Havana: Ediciones Unión, 1997), 375, 376–377.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Antología poética (Havana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1983), 234–239.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    José Lezama Lima, “Conferencia sobre Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda.” Fascinación de la memoria (Havana: Letras Cubanas, 1993), 153–165.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    For another example of “counter-poems” by Avellaneda that have Heredia’s texts as referent, see Pratt, 193–194, and her “Las mujeres y el imaginario nacional en el siglo XIX.” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 19:38 (1993): 58–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 22.
    Dolores María Ximeno y Cruz, Aquellos tiempos … Memorias de Lola María. Prologue by Fernando Ortiz (Havana: Colección Cubana de Libros Inéditos o Raros, 1928–1930). 2 vols.Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    Inés María de los Dolores Madan y O’Sullivan, Les Américains chez eux (Paris: Librairie de la Nouvelle Revue, 1980).Google Scholar
  22. 25.
    Julián del Casai, “Libros nuevos. Los Estados Unidos por la Marquesa San Carlos de Pedroso.” In Prosas. Vol. 2 (Havana: Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963), 179–181. This text was published originally in La Discusión (Havana), 1 July 1890.Google Scholar
  23. 26.
    Juana Borrero, Epistolario. 2 Vols. Havana: Academia de Ciencias de Cuba, 17.Google Scholar
  24. 27.
    Aurelia Castillo de González, Un paseo por América. Cartas de México y de Chicago (Havana: Imp. La Constancia, 1895). A second edition appeared in her Escritos …. Vol. 3 (Havana: El Siglo XX, 1913).Google Scholar
  25. 28.
    María Luisa Dolz, La liberación de la mujer cubana por la educatión (Havana: Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad, 1955), 35–47.Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    See Enrique José Varona, “El movimiento feminista en Cuba.” El Fígaro (Havana) 10:19, 5 (May 1894), p. 198.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    Louis A. Pérez, Jr. “El diseño imperial: política y pedagogía en el período de la ocupación de Cuba, 1899–1902.” Estudios Cubanos 12:2 (1982).Google Scholar
  28. 33.
    See Evelyn Picón Garfield, Poder y sexualidad: el discurso de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1993), 53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Campuzano

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations