John Patrick Leary F'08

John Patrick Leary
Assistant Professor
Wayne State University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2008
Doctoral Candidate
Comparative Literature
New York University
The Long American Century: Literature, Journalism, and National Culture in the United States and Cuba, 1848-1958

This dissertation explores the cultural history of the United States’ close relationship with Cuba between the expansionist 1840s and the Cold War 1950s. It traces that history across the genres of travel writing, journalism, poetry, and fiction during this “long American century,” when Cuba became a crucial measure by which Americans defined their nation’s modernity and democracy. By unearthing obscure texts, like the 1850s Cuban exile press, and reconsidering canonical authors like Stephen Crane and Langston Hughes, this project recovers a literary history often overshadowed by the Cold War. Moreover, its comparative approach explores this history from both sides, examining the transnational pathways of exile, empire, and intellectual exchange across the fluid boundary of the Florida Straits.