Roberto Fernández Retamar

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Roberto Fernández Retamar (9 June 1930 – 20 July 2019, Havana) was a Cuban poet, essayist, literary critic and President of the Casa de las Américas. In his role as President of the organization, Fernández also served on the Council of State of Cuba. An early close confidant of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, he was a central figure in Cuba from the 1959 Revolution until his death in 2019. Fernández also wrote over a dozen major collections of verse and founded the Casa de las Americas cultural magazine.

Professor Joao Cesar Castro de Rocha, at the University of Manchester has described Retamar as "one of the most distinguished Latin American intellectuals of the twentieth century."[1] In 1989, he was awarded the National Prize for Literature, Cuba's national literary award and most important award of its type.

On Caliban[edit]

Responding to the arielismo of Jose Enrique Rodo, who used the Shakespeare created character Caliban as a metaphor for Latin American civilisation,[2] Retamar in 1971 influentially set up instead Caliban as a symbol of the Cuban people,[3] stating that: “Our symbol is not Ariel, as Rodó thought, but Caliban….I know no other metaphor more expressive of our cultural situation, of our reality”.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cuban Cultural Leader Makes Rare Visit to England Manchester 1842, May 26, 2009
  2. ^ P. Hulme, ‘’The Tempest and its Travels’’ (London 2000) p. 217
  3. ^ A Vaughan, ‘’Shakespeare’s Caliban’’ (Cambridge 1991) p. 156
  4. ^ Quoted in A Vaughan, ‘’Shakespeare’s Caliban’’ (Cambridge 1991) p. 156


  • ‘’Caliban and Other Essays’’ (Minneapolis 1989)
  • Todo caliban San Juan, PR: Ediciones Callejon, 2002. ISBN 1-881748-11-1

External links[edit]