Afro-Cubanism is a movement in Caribbean arts and letters that stemmed from a rediscovery of the region's African heritage during the 1920s and to some extent paralleled the Harlem Renaissance in the United States. Thus the movement was not an isolated fad but the result of a long-standing tradition. Intended for both scholars of Latin American literature and specialists in ethnic studies, this book traces the development of Afro-Cubanism from its origins in medieval Spain to its highest expression in the 1930s. Each chapter offers a close reading of a major text that represents a moment of canonical change. Throughout the volume, special attention is given to the role played by racial ideology in the construction of the literary portrayal of Afro-Cubans. Through a combination of literary history and insightful examination of key texts, the book clarifies issues regarding both the genesis of Afro-Cubanism and its importance in Spanish-American literature, and it links the movement to recent theories of canon formation by examining how Afro-Hispanic literary works have become valued by academic critics and writers. In order to show how nations of race and nationalism contributed to the shaping of the Afro-Cuban vogue, the volume looks at several major works and provides translations into English of a few short but influential studies.