Juan Francisco Manzano (), an urban slave who taught himself to read and write, and who ultimately achieved fame as a poet in Cuba’s colonial. Autobiografía de un esclavo has ratings and 8 reviews. Kelsey said: El único testimonio escrito por un esclavo cubano en su época, La autobiografía d. Title. La narrativa en la Autobiografía de un esclavo de Juan Francisco Manzano Autobiografia, Cuba, Juan Francisco Manzano, wonderful, literary, analysis.

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He wrote two works and started his autobiography while still enslaved. He obtained his freedom in and later wrote manzank book of poems and a play. Manzano was falsely accused of being involved in manzabo conspiracy of La Escalera in After his release from prison in he never wrote esclwvo and died in poverty in Their mistress was a writer and poet. In his youth, Manzano was not allowed to play with other black children.

He was treated like a white child and had a comfortable life, in comparison to other slaves in the important sugar region. However, the life of a house slave was isolating. Manzano was a domestic slave with little power over his life, but he was taught to write by his master. His first mistress exposed him to the arts, and under her care, he memorized short plays, bits of opera, and other works of theater.

Subsequently, with a master, Manzano was not allowed to use time that he could be working to recite by heart or write letters, but he practiced writing letters with the discarded notes of his master, first copying the script and then writing himself. Writing allowed him to express his own viewpoints. The group took up a collection to buy Manzano’s freedom. Manzano’s poetry was edited by publishers who sought to create a cleaner version of the text, but in the process, the poems lost their authenticity.

While still enslaved, he wrote Poesias liricas and Flores pasageras Inhe began writing his life story at the request of Domingo del Montewho bought Manzano’s freedom in In correspondence between Manzano and Del Monte, Manzano was initially hesitant to reveal details that he though would not be well received by his benefactor.

He gained greater self-confidence and certainty about his autobiography with time. He held back some material that he wanted to put in a later book, which never appeared. The Autobiography of a Slave is the only existing documented account of 19th century Cuban Slavery and the only existing narrative account of slavery in Spanish America.

Irish abolitionist Richard Robert Madden published his Poems by a slave in the island of Cuba in Manzano’s play Zafira was published in His work appears to be the first slave narrative published in Spanish America. He writes, “remember amnzano you read me that I am a slave and that the slave is a dead being in the eyes of his master,” meaning Manzano had no control over his destiny.

Manzano’s biography makes reference to his body as a tool for his mistress’s pleasure. His body did manzaon belong to him. His second mistress, Marquesa de Prado Ameno, exercised control by dressing him up. When dressed in fine clothes, he was on his mistress’s good side. Frwncisco dressed manznao rags, this symbolized her displeasure. His change of dress publicized symbolically him being stripped of his identity in front of others.


Manzano’s dignity was removed, due to his constant change of costume [4]. Spanish colonial regime suppressed the history of marginalized social groups such as the African and the Chinese during the period the autobiography was written.

Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiografía de un esclavo : Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo – oi

During that time the Cuban sugar economy depended on slave labor for its wealth. Even after the end of the Spanish rule in esclavp, the book was unavailable to be published.

The autobiography was the property of Del Monte, passed to Del Monte’s heirs and then passed to the national library in Havana to be published in Lacking authority and respect from the white literary establishment, slaves needed white sponsors who could get their works published and distributed. In Manzano’s case, the mediators were Del Monte and Madden. Because a Spanish version could autobiogracia be published for some time, an English version translated by Richard Madden was created.

In North America, slave narratives were translated and edited, partly for dramatic effect and sometimes omitting details. In Manzano’s case, names, places and dates as well as instances of brutality were contradicted by moments of peace and happiness which were included in the later Spanish version. Molloy points out that “on occasion the narratives contain so many of the editors views that there is little room for the testimony of the fugitive”.

Madden’s translation of the text into English unauthorized the text by making it anonymous. Some details, however, remained that mamzano Manzano, such as how much it cost to liberate him or the fact that he was the only slave poet on the island.

Autobiography of a slave – Autobiografia de un Esclavo

Overall the text was to represent not one individual’s life but the life of a Cuban slave. Madden included the slave narrative in a book that offered poems about abolition and an appendix containing conversations between him and Del Monte. In the end, only a fourth of the text was written by the slave himself.


Some incidents were altered to present the suffering of the slave with more intensity. Manzano’s original text with its alternating suffering and moments of kindness autobiografja his helplessness at the hands of his mistresses. Madden also does away franisco details that show Manzano as an exception among slaves in order to portray Manzano as a “worthy victim”.

Manzano’s play, Zafirawas published in Zafira takes place in 16th century Mauritania in North Africa. The play follows Zafira, an Arabian princess, who mourns the loss of her husband and dreads the wedding with the Turkish pirate, Barbarroja, who wants to rule the coast.

Her son, Selim, returns in disguise to reclaim the throne. He allies himself with the slave Noemi to challenge the reign of Barbarroja.


Zafira references the Haitian revolution ofthe only successful slave revolt, and the black republic established there in Haiti stood esxlavo an example of freedom in an age that claimed human equality at birth. The revolt led wealthy landowners to flee to Cuba bringing stories of the rebellion. French slaves were not allowed in Cuba for fear of another revolt.

The presence of Spanish soldiers to prevent another uprising did not permit white Cuba’s autonomy. In the play, Selim possesses a mysterious letter which was not present in the Spanish version [ clarification needed ] of the play. Zafira presents the letter to Barbarroja who responds to the letter with fear. This represents the Spanish and Cuban’s fear of another uprising like the one in Haiti. The themes of tyranny, exile, subjugation, slavery and rebellion in auobiografia Havana indirectly challenged Spanish colonial rule.

Esclaov cautious, Manzano gave obscure reference to his views of personal and national sovereignty to the audience. The audience was already aware of a national consciousness, some of which identified with the anti-slavery sentiment of Zafira. His drama reflects francusco intellectual and political values of the enlightenment such as reason, order, justice and equality.

Although it was a subtle criticism of Spanish rule in Cuba, Zafira’s familiar wutobiografia did not raise concern. Cuban playwrights in the 18th and 19th centuries would take Spanish works and “Cubanize” them. The Spanish hero in the original version,was taken out in favor of the slave Noemi who represents Afro-Cuban slaves. In resistance writing, meaning is mnzano in a symbol that appears harmless although it is full of complex double meanings.

The appeal of Manzano’s work to 20th-century scholars was Cuba’s franciisco for its authentic roots following the revolution of Part of the appeal is that there are few personal accounts by slaves themselves. This is especially true in Latin America where actual slave accounts are rare.

Manzano’s autobiography is the only one from that region to date. Literary critic Jose Antonio Portoundo’s article “Toward a new history of Cuba”, written shortly after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, says: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them. The Autobiography of Juan Francisco Manzano. Ambivalence and the postcolonial subject: Volume 10 of Latin America. The Autobiography of a Slave: Wayne State University Press, Slave Narrative Collection Captivity narrative.

Juan Francisco Manzano – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

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