By Arenas, Reinaldo; Arenas, Reinaldo; Olivares, Jorge
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Extra info for Becoming Reinaldo Arenas : family, sexuality, and the Cuban Revolution
Cuba, for many reasons, was always on his mind. At odds with Cuban Americans and even more so with other Latinos in the United States and at the same time disengaged from mainstream United States culture and the gay community, whose political and sexual practices he spurned, Arenas, a self-proclaimed loner, turned to where he always felt at home: the blank page. In New York, Arenas revised at a rapid pace texts that he had smuggled out of Cuba, rewrote lost and conﬁscated manuscripts, and penned new works.
A father ﬁgure to Juanito Santa Cruz (the male protagonist of Pérez Galdós’s novel), Plácido Estupiñá emerges in Arenas’s novel as Fortunato’s Spanish grandfather, Polo Estopiñán, the difﬁcult and taciturn shopkeeper who, like the nineteenth-century character he re-creates, is known for eccentric verbal behavior that adversely a√ects his business. ∏ Although Arenas initially rejected any intertextual relationship between El palacio de las blanquísimas mofetas and Fortunata y Jacinta, he ultimately c l i m b i n g t h e fa m i ly t re e .
In March 1968, before Le Monde hallucinant appeared in France, a fragment of Celestino antes del alba was published without Arenas’s knowledge in the Paris-based literary journal Mundo nuevo. Told that his possible hiring at the uneac, where he was to work as an editor, would be compromised if he did not express publicly his objection to the publication of his work in a journal that Cubans and the Latin American Left accused of being funded chapter one . 18 . ≤∂ Curiously, Arenas’s letter was followed by a notice of expulsion from the uneac of two prominent exiled Cuban artists, the writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante and the pianist Ivette Hernández, for betraying the revolutionary cause (see ‘‘Expulsión’’).