Dominican Republic Literature

Dominican Republic in the 2010’s

Middle America

Demography and economic geography . – State of insular Central America, occupying two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles group. According to a 2014 UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) estimate, the country is populated by 10,528,954 residents. (9,445,281 at the 2010 census), mostly young and mulatto. Just under a third of Dominicans live in Santo Domingo, the capital, and nearly a million in Santiago. There is a sizeable Haitian minority.

Economic growth (+ 4.5% in 2011, + 3.9% in 2012, + 3% in 2013, + 5.3% in 2014) is supported by the expansion of tourism (4.7 million visitors year), from the activity of the free trade zones, from the re-production of the Pueblo Viejo gold mine and from a sustained dynamism in the construction sector.

History. – With Leonel Fernández’s victory in the 2004 presidential elections, a phase of political hegemony in the Partido de la liberación dominicana (PLD) began, which continued in the following years. During his mandate, Fernández (former president between 1996 and 2000) promoted a revival of the economy based on the depreciation of the peso and on the construction and tourism sectors. Among the great infrastructural works inaugurated in this period were the Santo Domingo metro and the modernization of the road network. Economic growth and infrastructural development produced strong popular support which led to Fernández’s re-election in the 2008 elections.

Despite the high growth rates, Fernández’s second term was not without crisis; above all, the corruption scandals that involved members of the PLD and the devastating earthquake that hit the sister island of Haiti in 2010, causing a humanitarian and migratory crisis whose effects reverberated on the Dominican Republic. Activism in support of the Haitian cause strengthened the Fernández government both internally and internationally. Having largely won the 2010 legislative elections, the PLD won a third consecutive presidential term with the election of Danilo Medina Sánchez in 2012. Medina Sánchez took victory by promising more investment in social policies aimed at reducing the still high levels of poverty. and inequality.

Literature. – In the last decade, fundamental works by master storytellers have been released: Marcio Veloz Maggiolo (b.1936), the Dominican intellectual of greatest international prestige, archaeologist and anthropologist, with the social frescoes of Memoria tremens (2009) and Confesiones de un guionista (2009); the brilliant and controversial Pedro Peix (b.1952) with the irreverent El clan de los bólidos pesados (2010), a wide stylistic experimentation steeped in sex and violence; the delicate and powerful generational saga of Ángela Hernández Núñez (b.1954), with lyrical and baroque tones, intimate and concrete at the same time, which continues with the novel Leona, or la fiera vida (2013).

According to healthvv, Pedro Antonio Valdez’s profile as a novelist (b.1968) was consolidated with Palomos (2008), centered on street kids and built like a rap record, and the magmatic and intricate noir La salamandra (2013). Another important figure is that of José Acosta (b.1964) with Perdidos en Babilonia (2005) and La multitud (2011), and in the genre of the story we should mention the civic commitment of Memoria de la sangre (2008) by Luis Martín Gómez (b. 1962). Among the younger ones, the figures of Rey Emmanuel Andújar (b.1977) emerged, with the picaresque anti-epic of a desolate neighborhood in the novel Candela (2007), and the singer Rita Indiana Hernández (b.1977), who in the novels Papi (2005) and Nombres y animales (2013), adopting the point of view and the rhythm of childhood or adolescence, touches on themes such as consumerism, drug trafficking, Haitian immigration or political corruption, with linguistic inventiveness.

Numerous poetic voices of value. Two stand out for their continuity and abundance: the elegant and reflective one by José Mármol (b.1960), whose most recent collection is Lenguaje del mar (2012), and the experiential and protean one by Alexis Gómez Rosa (b.1950), gathered in ‘exuberant El festín (2011). Next to them, we remember among others Soledad Álvarez (b. 1950), Basilio Belliard (b. 1966), León Félix Batista (b. 1964). Among the latest generation, the transgressive passion of Rosa Silverio (b. 1978) and the irony of Frank Báez (b. 1978) are worthy of note. The influence of José Rafael Lantigua (b.1949), founder of the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo and Minister of Culture from 2004 to 2012, whose huge production of literary criticism fills the six volumes of Espacios y resonancias (2014-2015).

Dominican Republic Literature