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Arenas, Reinaldo (1943-1990)  
page: 1  2  

Arenas does not limit himself to simply declaring his homosexuality, but rather graphically presents his sexual escapades, going beyond what many readers would consider "good taste." Arenas was quite aware of the hypocrisy and of his Hispanic audience, but rather than making concessions, allowing himself to be closeted by bigotry disguised as "good taste," he expressed his experiences honestly, to the point of possibly alienating certain readers.

In 1992 in his review of the autobiography, Mario Vargas Llosa observed: "This is one of the most moving testimonies that has ever been written in our language about oppression and rebellion, but few will dare to acknowledge this fact since the book, although one reads it with an uncontrollable appetite, has the perverse power of leaving its readers uncomfortable" (my translation).

"Autoepitafio" ("Self-Epitaph"), one of the writer's last poems, splendidly captures Arenas's spirit of irreverence, pathos, and irony. The poetic voice, speaking in the third person, recounts the poet's instructions of what to do with his body after death: "He arranged for his ashes to be scattered into the sea / where they would flow forever. / Not having given up his habit of dreaming, / he awaits a young man to dive into his waters" (Voluntad de vivir manifestándose, my translation).

Francisco Soto

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Béjar, Eduardo C. La textualidad de Reinaldo Arenas. Madrid: Editorial Playor, 1987.

Foster, David William. "Critical Monographs, Dissertations, and Critical Essays about Reinaldo Arenas." Cuban Literature: A Research Guide. New York: Garland Publishing, 1985: 89-91.

_____. Gay and Lesbian Themes in Latin American Literature. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991: 66-72.

Hernández-Miyares, Julio, and Perla Rozencvaig, eds. Reinaldo Arenas: alucinaciones, fantasía y realidad. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1990.

Rozencvaig, Perla. Reinaldo Arenas: narrativa de transgresión. México: Editorial Oasis, 1986.

Schwartz, Kessel. "Homosexuality and the Fiction of Reinaldo Arenas." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 5, no. 1-2 (March 1984): 12-20.

Soto, Francisco. "Celestino antes del alba: escritura subversiva/sexualidad transgresiva." Revista Iberoamericana 57, no. 154 (enero-marzo 1991): 345-354.

_____. Conversación con Reinaldo Arenas. Madrid: Editorial Betania, 1990.

_____. "Reinaldo Arenas's Literary Legacy." Christopher Street Magazine 156 (May 1991): 12-16.

_____. Reinaldo Arenas: The Pentagonía. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994.

Valero, Roberto. El desamparado humor de Reinaldo Arenas. North Miami: Hallmark, 1991.

Vargas Llosa, Mario. "Pájaro tropical." El País (June 15, 1992): 15-16.


    Citation Information
    Author: Soto, Francisco  
    Entry Title: Arenas, Reinaldo  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated October 23, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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