Title

Building Puerto Rico’s anti-colonial literary canon: Nilita Vientós Gastón’s venture with Asomante

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2019

Abstract

© 2019, Hunter College Center for Puerto Rican Studies. All rights reserved. After thirty years under US colonial rule, Puerto Rican intellectuals of the 1930s generation used literature to proclaim a Hispanic heritage and position themselves against US imperialism in their nation-building efforts. One of these thinkers was Nilita Vientós Gastón, lawyer and gestora cultural, who served as editor-in-chief of the Puerto Rican journal Asomante (1945-70). I argue that Asomante is crucial to understanding not only the role of literary journals in canon formation, but also to identifying cultural aspects of an anti-colonial nation-building project in Puerto Rico. In doing so, I draw from canon formation and cultural nationalism debates to highlight how Vientós Gastón launched Asomante as an alternative “Ministry of Culture.” I discuss how her editorial strategies—tracing genealogies, creating foreign connections with writers and other journals, instituting a venue for contemporary literary criticism, forming anthologies, and establishing a publishing house—constructed the island’s anti-colonial literary canon.

Publication Name

Centro Journal

Volume Number

31

First Page

25

Last Page

46

Issue Number

3

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