NYPL | Digital Library Collections | Fernando Ortiz | Background | Acknowlegements
Full Text
 
The New York Public Library
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

 

 and
 InterAmericas

Studies Dedicated to
Fernando Ortiz

Background

Ortiz, born Fernando Ortiz Fernández, is known as the Tercer Descubridor (Third Discoverer) of Cuba for his groundbreaking writings and research exploring all aspects of Cuban politics and culture, in particular the deeply-rooted traditions of the island's Afro-Cuban population, which had been ignored by previous scholars. As he explains in his essay "On the Relations Between Blacks and Whites" he began with an investigation of secret societies of African origin in Cuba but soon realized that he was utterly confused.

For it was not only the curious phonomenon of Negro Masonry that I encountered, but also a most complex mélange of religious survivals of remote cultural origin. All this with a variety of social origins, languages, music, instruments, dances, songs, traditions, legends, arts, games, and folkways.... It was as though the four centuries of slave trade had deliberately hacked out and laid waste whole mountains of black humanity and thrown the countless branches, roots, flowers and seeds, torn from all the jungles of Africa, onto the soil of Cuba.

Although Ortiz published hundreds of articles and dozens of books in his lifetime, little of his work is available in the United States or in English translation. Miscelánea II, InterAmericas offers a compendium of carefully selected and edited texts intended to inspire further research into Ortiz's impressive body of work. As Jane Gregory Rubin, director of InterAmericas, writes in her introduction: "There is an urgent need to broaden the public's knowledge of the Ortiz materials, particularly through translation into English of the major works on the culture of the African diaspora." The title and format of Miscelánea II was inspired by a series of three volumes of essays related to Ortiz studies published in 1955, 1956, and 1957 by the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País: Miscelánea de estudios dedicados a Fernando Ortiz por sus discipulos, colegas y amigos, con ocasión de cumplirse sesenta años de la publicación de su primer impreso en Menorca en 1895, Volumes I, II, and III.

This electronic edition, sponsored and published by Schomburg Center of The New York Public Library and by InterAmericas, broadens access to this important author and historian still further. The complete text of the 1998 publication is now availabe worldwide.

Caricature of Fernando Ortiz
by Carlos R. Mestre y Badel, 1949.
Frontispiece in Miscelánea
de estudios dedicados a
Fernando Ortiz, III
(Havana: 1957).

  NYPL | Digital Library Collections | Fernando Ortiz | Background | Acknowlegements