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Amor prohibido: La mujer y la patria en Ramon Emeterio Betances

Emma Rivera-Rabago, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation studies the ethic-esthetic project of the Puerto Rican patriot, Dr. Ramon Emeterio Betances Alacan, during half a century of revolutionary struggle. For this study, we will use various texts on Betances that have been preserved to present time. Among them, Betances by Luis Bonafoux is of great importance, in addition to the texts published by Carlos M. Rama, and the written by Feliz Ojeda Reyes. Furthermore, we will rely on the biography, El Antillano by Ada Suarez Diaz, a text of principal importance for this study. However, La virgen de Borinquen y epistolario intimo, the book that contains Betances' poetry, and some of his revolutionary speeches and proclamations, deserves particular attention since they are fundamental to emphasize the symbiosis between the great loves of the patriarch: the fatherland, liberty and a woman. The first chapter is dedicated to explaining the birth and formation of Betances as a patriarch. We will look into the influences Betances received from the bosom of his home. In addition, we will see the importance that Betances' home upbringing had in his political growth and maturity in the revolutionary Paris of 1848, as well as in the rise of his campaign for the abolition of slavery after his return to Puerto Rico in 1856. This part of our study will aim to link his family experience to his revolutionary activities in Paris, in an attempt to reveal the birth of Betances the patriarch. The second chapter will be dedicated to the study of Betances' epistolary texts. Maria del Carmen Henri Betances, the only woman loved by the patriarch, is the cornerstone upon which these texts will be sustained. Maria del Carmen Henri is the muse that illuminated Betances' existence, and whose sudden death unleashed his most poetic and heart-rending writings. This contributed to the link between his esthetic and political concepts, achieving with this a "betanciana" poetry of the fatherland. In the third chapter we will study the narrative, La Virgen de Borinquen, where we will see the symbols of the beloved woman and the fatherland as the center that moves the spirit of this writer. In the fourth chapter we will analyze some of Betances' poetry, as well as a few of his revolutionary proclamations and speeches, in which he uses biblical references to advocate the independence of Puerto Rico. The final chapter will offer the conclusions of this study.

Subject Area

Caribbean literature|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Rivera-Rabago, Emma, "Amor prohibido: La mujer y la patria en Ramon Emeterio Betances" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9841918.