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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 11, 2018

Humorous sublimation of a dying Cuban writer in Reinaldo Arenas’ The Color of Summer

Christophe Panichelli ORCID logo and Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla ORCID logo
From the journal HUMOR


How does a human being deal with suffering? How can we emotionally cope with the vicissitudes of life, especially in times where they suddenly multiply themselves? In this study, we present an innovative interdisciplinary study on the use of coping mechanisms by career writers dealing with difficult life events. We focus in particular on the use of humor and sublimation, two creative mental mechanisms that contribute to the lowering of anxiety while at the same time dealing constructively with the external stressors. Never before have these mechanisms been studied in a complementary way in the context of a literary study. This paper offers an in-depth analysis of Reinaldo Arenas’ The Color of Summer. In this novel, this Cuban author introduces an autobiographical perspective of the Cuban sixties and seventies, intending to present a facet of history that would never appear in Cuban history books. The combination of both coping mechanisms, which we call humorous sublimation, offers a novel that not only helped the author cope with his tormented life, but also allowed the reader to gain an understanding of a dark period of Cuban history by means of a very funny and surreal reading.

*Christophe Panichelli and Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla contributed equally to this work.


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Published Online: 2018-08-11
Published in Print: 2018-09-25

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