The ‘Cimarrón’ in the archives: a re-reading of Miguel Barnet’s biography of Esteban Montejo

in New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

[First paragraph]"Aunque por supuesto nuestro trabajo no es historico (Miguel Barnet)" Apart from Manuel Moreno Fraginals's El ingenio, there is hardly any other book in Cuban historiography that has met with such wide circulation as Biografia de un cimarron by Miguel Barnet.1 It is, in spite of a series of contradictions, the classic in testimonio literature for contemporary studies on slavery as well as for the genre of historical slave narratives extending far beyond Cuba. In particular the various new editions and translations, such as the English versions that have been published under the titles Autobiography of a Runaway Slave (Barnet 1968), Autobiography of a Runaway Slave (Esteban Montejo & Miguel Barnet 1993) or Biography of a Runaway Slave (Barnet 1994) and the discussion that Barnet's book stimulated bear witness to this position.2

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The ‘Cimarrón’ in the archives: a re-reading of Miguel Barnet’s biography of Esteban Montejo

in New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

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