Dominican Republic Culture

Dominican Republic Culture and Literature


The aspect that prevails in the colorful Caribbean world of the Dominican Republic should not be sought in literature, however rich and appreciated even outside the borders, just as it is not found in the figurative arts, albeit at the center of an evolution that has allowed them to emerge in the context of Central and Southern America; undoubtedly, the characteristic that characterizes the entire Dominican cultural sphere is represented by the contagious intensity with which the population of the island feels and participates in every occasion of celebration. It seems that nothing can affect the urge to dance, play and share a table, a sip of rum or one of the strong coffees that Dominicans never give up. It is probably the result of the traces left in the genetic heritage of the nation by indigenous people, Europeans, UNESCO included it among the World Heritage Sites in 1990. To this area are added churches and museums that make the city, the first to be founded by Europeans, a destination of all-round interest.


All the artistic and folkloric heritage of this country reveals its dual Creole and African origin; among the substantial aspects of Dominican culture we find the influence exerted by Catholicism, even if, from the religious point of view, superstitions and magic formulas persist in the country. Music and dance retain various indie influences, as well as Spanish and African. Among the dances, among the most popular are the tumba and the merengue, which rose to the dignity of national dance in 1850, to which two festivals of great appeal for the whole Caribbean area are dedicated. The best time to appreciate the colorful world of Dominican dance is certainly the carnival, celebrated according to different uses in dozens of locations on the island (from Santo Domingo to Santiago, from La Vega to Salcedo). The Dominican national dish is sancocho, a thick soup with meat, legumes, tropical herbs, oregano; very popular are also the bandera, also based on rice, beans, meat and vegetables and the chicharrone, composed of pieces of chicken and fried bananas. Some sweets are typical, similar to South American empanadas. National drink is coffee, prepared very strong but are also popular rum, beer, mabi and pru (the last two obtained from the fermentation of a tropical plant). It is frequent to consume these drinks with a good one cigar of which the Dominican Republic produces numerous qualities, appreciated all over the world. The national sport is baseball, widely followed and practiced in the country, to the point that many Dominican players are among the most famous and appreciated holders of the US professional championship.


First capital of the Spanish Empire of America, Santo Domingo soon had a court, archbishopric, convents and seminaries (bishop was also the Italian humanist Geraldini) and a notable cultural activity. Spanish writers such as Las Casas, Fernández de Oviedo, Eugenio Salazar and, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Tirso de Molina lived there . Some local “genius” (Castro, Martínez, Jarque, Morell de Santa Cruz) produced verses and prose. Then the island fell into decline and remained semi-deserted. Independence (1844) certainly did not bring peace, but it allowed a discreet literary flowering with the poets Manuel M. Valencia (1810-1870), Javier Angulo Guridi (1816-1884), first romantic and propulsor of the national theater (drama Iguaniona, 1867), Félix María del Monte (1819-1899), perhaps the most personal of all, José J. Pérez (1845-1900), who sang civil and “Indianist” themes, and Salomé Ureña de Henríquez (1850-1897), poet (Anacaona, 1880) and distinguished educator. Visit for Anglophone Caribbean literature.

Among the prose writers were Nicolás Ureña (1822-1875), magistrate and publicist, Esteban Pichardo (1799-1879) and especially Manuel de Jesús Galván (1834-1910), whose historical novel Enriquillo (1879-82) remains among the best Hispanic-Americans of the XIX century. The theater was cultivated by FJ Foxá, M. de J. Rodriguez, FG Billini, JF Pellerano and some others. In the twentieth century, Osvaldo Bazil (1884-1946), Luis Muñoz Rivera (1859-1916), Gastón F. Deligne (1861-1913), author of strong personality (Galaripsos, 1908 and 1946), AB Pellerano (1865-1916), also known as a playwright, the fruitful and elegant Fabio Fiallo (1866-1942), lyricist and narrator, such as Apolinar Perdomo (1882-1918); among the prose writers: M. Fernández Juncos (1846-1928), costume narrator, Manuel Zeno Gandía (1885-1930), good verist novelist, Tulio M. Cestero (1877-1955), F. García Godoy (1857-1924), narrator and critic, and the publicists and essayists A. Lugo, Federico Henríquez, MA Garrido and MF Cestero. Subsequently, among others, the poet Manuel del Cabral (1907-1999), one of the most original of Spanish America, who in 1974 also published the novel El Presidente negro, the essayist Pedro Henríquez Ureña (1884-1946), master of historical and philological criticism, his brother Max Enríquez Ureña, poet and critic, the playwright FA Pellerano (1889-1933) and the narrator and essayist Juan Bosch (1909-2001), also known as a democratic politician. Subsequent generations include poets and storytellers of some merit, such as Antonio Fernández Spencer (1923-1995), Ramón Francisco, poet, storyteller and essayist, Armando Almánzar (b.1935), Aída Cartagena Portalatín (1918-1994), co-founder of the novel experimental with Bosch, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo (b.1936), academic also known as an essayist and playwright, Diógenes Valdez (b.1941), Miguel Alfonseca (1942-1944), José Alcantara Almánzar (b.1946). After a transition phase between the seventies and eighties, to which the names of the poets José Enrique García (b.1948) and Cayo Claudio Espinal (b.1955) are linked, the last two decades of the twentieth century saw the emergence of some poets who take the distance from the themes and forms of their predecessors, and address issues such as eros and death. Among the most significant, Plinio Chahín, Dionisio de Jesús (b. 1959), José A. Peña (b. 1964). The prose does not reach the levels of the lyric, proposing a few new names of importance (AL Mateo, n. 1946). Important for Dominican literature is the separation between novel and short story, a genre that is more flourishing, which at the end of the twentieth century proposed the names of C. Zapata, Pedro Peix (b.1952), author of novels as well, Pedro A. Valdez (b. 1968), J. Acosta. Among the major essayists and critics are BR Candelier (b. 1941), D. Cépedes (b. 1941), Maria Ugarte (b. 1914) who, in recent years, received the most prestigious national literary prize. As far as the theater is concerned, an important event was undoubtedly the creation of the University Theater on the initiative of Máximo Avilés Blonda (b. 1931).

Dominican Republic Culture