The Misinvention of the Caribbean I: Columbus’s Diary and the Problems of Authorship

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The Misinvention of the Caribbean is a seminar series organised by TORCH Global South Visiting Fellow Eduardo Lalo, a professor of Literature, author and artist from Puerto Rico. The series will consist of three seminars exploring how forgein travelers have depicted and somehow misrepresented the Caribbean and it inhabitants through their travel accounts. For each session, Eduardo Lalo will interact with two discussants from various research fields, such as History, Literature, and Migration Studies. The series has therefore a strong interdisciplinary character, and contributions from the audience will be much appreciated.

The first two dates of this series will be dedicated to a textual examination of Christopher Columbus´ Journal of his first voyage. The history of Columbus writing and its problems of authorship will be considered and explored in this foundational text. Special attention will be given to how, from the first moments of contact between Europeans and Amerindians, a series of questionable and enduring concepts came into being. The genealogy of concepts such as “Indian”, “cannibal”, “discovery”, “servitude” will be examined.           

The third and final session of the series will be dedicated to the British “misinvention” of the Caribbean as seen in examples of travel literature by British authors of the XIX century. Works by Froude, Anthony Trollope and Sir St. John Spencer will be considered.

Speaker: Eduardo Lalo


María Del Pilar Blanco (Associate Professor in Spanish American Literature)

Second discussant TBC

The seminar is open to the general public. A drinks reception will follow the seminar from 6:30 to 7pm.


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