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21. The appearance and use of <i>bozal</i> language in Cuban and Brazilian neo-African literature

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Abstract

Towards the end of the 19th century, in both Cuba and Brazil, scholars became increasingly interested in the contributions of African slaves to the formation of these societies. In Cuba, the ethno-historical and scientific studies of Fernando Ortíz, among others, inspired numerous writers to produce literary works reflecting<i>el ethos del negro </i>as an integral part of Cuban society. These writings, which evoked numerous Afro-Cuban themes, were supposedly written in a style of language that reflected how Afro-Cubans spoke as a consequence of contact between Spanish and various Sub-Saharan languages. Similar literary works were produced in Brazil. During the 19th century, waves of African slaves to Brazil, above all from the Kwa group, left an indelible imprint on the society. Along with the various scientific studies that emerged from this time, the<i>Semana de Arte Moderna </i>served to inspire authors to write literary works aimed at capturing cultural trends termed “<i>neoafronegroide</i>.” One important aspect of this was language use. This chapter analyzes the literary antecedents of these movements in Cuba and Brazil as well as the language of these texts. Did these texts authentically reproduce Creole or<i>bozal </i>varieties of language, or did they merely produce varieties of literary style that achieved a kind of “African ambiance”? This research also demonstrates a few ways in which these authors incorporated<i>bozal </i>varieties into their writings, principally in poetry.

References

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