This is my idea for the IILI conference at the Colegio de México. It would build on a piece I am giving here. It would revisit Schwarz’ concept of “misplaced ideas” — which may be somewhat outdated or limited or something, such that it is worth discussing and revising.
The concept really does apply to Cecilia Valdés, in two ways: one, modernization, the bourgeois family, and so on do not fit the reality of slavery. This is what makes the secrecy about adultery necessary, which in turn causes all the trouble in the novel. So it is, in that way, a novel on idéias fora de lugar.
More importantly, the novel itself is a misplaced idea, since it is secretly set in Louisiana (as it were) and based on the plaçage myth. My paper here will not go into the Schwarzian ideas, but my paper in Mexico could. That would help to draw out the implications of these newly discovered facts, that plaçage is a myth and that the myth is an expression of Anglo-American anxieties about miscegenation.
Does this mean that Cuba, like Bahia, sees itself through foreign eyes?