The Antislavery Discourse in the Autobiography (1840) of Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1853), and the Novel Sab (1841) by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-73)
Antislavery literature in Cuba experienced its major peak during the first half of the nineteenth century with the works of the well-known “círculodelmontino” led by the writer and progressive lawyer, Domingo del Monte. Joining this group were liberal thinkers, mostly from the Cuban bourgeoisie, who contributed to the creation of an abolitionist and emancipating the program essential for the total liberation of Cuban slaves in 1886. There were several works with this antislavery motif that were written by individuals who frequented said literary circle due to the requests made by Del Monte. Among the earliest works we find the famous novel by Anselmo Suárez y Romero, Francisco, written in 1839 and published in 1880; the Escenas de la vida privada en la isla de Cuba that Félix Tanco y Bosmeniel wrote in 1938, first published in 1925; and the Autobiography that Juan Francisco Manzano wrote in 1835 which was translated to English in 1840 and printed in Great Britain (Luis, Literary Bondage 1). These and other writings by attendees of “círculo delmontino,”, as well as the novel Sab by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, written between 1836 and 1839, published in Madrid in 1841 (Servera 46), present a subversive counter-discourse toward the norms established by the Spanish Crown, which began to fall apart around the same time.