Author Presents Cuba Book in UA Lecture

Author Dr. Philip Beidler will present a lecture on his book, “The Island Called Paradise: Cuba in History, Literature, and the Arts,” as an Authors@Gorgas event spotlighting outstanding books by Alabama writers.

The lecture will take place Thursday, April 3, at noon in room 205 of Gorgas Library. It is free and open to the public.

Beidler is a professor of American literature in the Department of English and has written several books and articles on the Vietnam War and Alabama history.

In 12 original essays, Beidler introduces many of the central figures, both real and literary, of Cuban and Cuban-American history, such as Cecilia Valdés, the young mixed-race heroine of a 1839 novel that takes readers to the poor streets of Spanish colonial Cuba, and Narciso López, a real-life Venezuelan adventurer who attempted to provoke a Cuban uprising against Spain. Beidler will also discuss the 20th century lives of “the two Ernestos” (Ernest Hemingway and Che Guevara) and the Cuban pop culture icon Ricky Ricardo.

Beidler will pay close attention to the theme of Cuba and the imagination and will include musical interludes between readings.

“Specifically, I will focus on a chapter entitled ‘Ignacio Pineiro, George Gershwin, and the Schillinger System,’ which describes how techniques of Cuban popular song, American jazz, and European classical composition became fused into a small modernist masterpiece, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture,” Beidler said.

Alabama Center for the Book, sponsored by the University Libraries at The University of Alabama, and The University of Alabama Press invite the community to Beidler’s talk, the third Authors@Gorgas lunchtime speaker event. Attendees are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch or purchase lunch in the library’s café. For more information about the series, visit