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Reading: Danza and the Signifying Process in Rosario Ferré’s Maldito amor


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Research Article

Danza and the Signifying Process in Rosario Ferré’s Maldito amor


Stephanie Gates

Wheaton College, US
About Stephanie
Stephanie Gates is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Wheaton College, specializing in 20th century Latin American Literature.
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Rosario Ferré’s 1986 novella Maldito amor takes its name from a famous Puerto Rican danza written toward the end of the 19th century by composer Juan Morel Campos, who had both African and Spanish heritage. This article explores the tradition of the danza, the significance of Ferré’s use and mirroring of Morel Campos’s danza in the narrative, as well as the signifying process she explores and manipulates in an effort to question official versions of Puerto Rican history. By using the composer’s danza as a subtext for the structure and themes of the novel, Maldito amor creates another set of signifiers for how we consider this traditional piece of music. The title of the novel also demonstrates the ambivalent attitudes that Puerto Ricans often have toward the ruling elite on the island itself: the bourgeoisie function as both hegemonic power but are also oppressed under that of the United States. By re-writing history via the “Maldito amor” danza, the novella recognizes the constant chain of signifiers that constitutes reality, and adds a new and subversive one to include in the chain of discourse surrounding Puerto Rican history and identity.
How to Cite: Gates, S., 2019. Danza and the Signifying Process in Rosario Ferré’s Maldito amor. Latin American Literary Review, 46(92). DOI:
Published on 12 Nov 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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