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Alejo Carpentier

Alejo Carpentier
The Pilgrim at Home

Series: Texas Pan American Series

January 1991
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335 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 |

Alejo Carpentier was one of the greatest Latin American novelists of the twentieth century, as well as a musicologist, journalist, cultural promoter, and diplomat. His fictional world issues from an encyclopedic knowledge of the history, art, music, and literature of Latin America and Europe. Carpentier’s novels and stories are the enabling discourse of today’s Latin American narrative, and his interpretation of Latin American history has been among the most influential. Carpentier was the first to provide a comprehensive view of Caribbean history that centered on the contribution of Africans, above and beyond the differences created by European cultures and languages. Alejo Carpentier: The Pilgrim at Home, first published in 1977 and updated for this edition, covers the life and works of the great Cuban novelist, offering a new perspective on the relationship between the two.

González Echevarría offers detailed readings of the works La música en Cuba, The Kingdom of This World, The Lost Steps, and Explosion in a Cathedral. In a new concluding chapter, he takes up Carpentier’s last years, his relationship with the Cuban revolutionary regime, and his last two novels, El arpa y la sombra and La consagración de la primavera, in which Carpentier reviewed his life and career.

  • Preface
  • Preface to the Paperback Edition
  • 1. Preamble: A Post-Carpenterian Reflection
  • 2. Lord, Praised Be Thou
  • 3. Fugitive Island
  • 4. The Parting of the Waters
  • 5. Memories of the Future
  • 6. The Pilgrim’s Last Journeys
  • Bibliography
  • Select Bibliography of Carpentier’s Works
  • Works Cited
  • Bibliographical Supplement to the Paperback Edition
  • Carpentier’s Works
  • Works Cited
  • Index

Roberto González Echevarría is Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literatures at Yale University.


“One of the most insightful and complete critical treatments of the life and works of a figure who has dominated Spanish American letters in this century and who has been credited with inventing the term 'magical realism.' . . . It is a very readable text, written with clarity and grace of style. It should be high on the list of anyone interested in the personality and literary production of Alejo Carpentier, as well as in the intellectual milieu out of which he arose.”
Latin American Anthropology Review

“It is impossible to convey in a review the endless richness of discovery and insight on adjacent topics that constitute this book ... In [González Echevarría's] work conceptual intelligence and critical subtlety are combined . . . His work is, without a doubt, a definitive contribution to the criticism of the Cuban author.”