Nivia Montenegro

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
With Pomona Since: 1980
  • Expertise


    Nivia Montenegro is a specialist in 20th and 21st-century Latin American literature and culture. She has published widely on Cuban and Cuban-American writers, particularly Boom author Guillermo Cabrera Infante, including an anthology of his works and a critical edition of his masterpiece, Tres tristes tigres (1967). She also writes about Cuban exile literature and history including authors such as Lydia Cabrera, a pillar of Afro-Cuban studies. Most recently she co-edited Libro De Arenas: Prosa Dispersa 1965-1990, a compilation of the work of the late gay Cuban dissident writer Reinaldo Arenas. Currently she is working on a book on the politics of Cuban and Cuban-American writings in the second half of the 20th-century. 

    Research Interests

    • Latin American narrative
    • Latin American cultural studies
    • Cuban history, literature and culture
    • Self-representation and nation-building
    • Theoretical approaches to the body
    • Film as historical representation

    Areas of Expertise


    • Latin American Narrative
    • Latin American Cultural Studies
    • Cuban History, Literature and Culture
    • Body Studies and Post-memory Narrative
  • Work



    Co-edited, compiled and published:

    Reinaldo Arenas, Libro de Arenas. Mexico: Conaculta/Ediciones del Equilibrista [December 2013] (co-editor E. M. Santí) a critical edition of previously uncollected prose (literary essays, reviews, open letters, lectures.) by Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas [1943-1990], with two critical introductions, 420 pp.

    Co-edited critical edition:

    Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Tres tristes tigres [Three Trapped Tigers] Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 2010. [Co-editor E. M. Santí] Critical edition of the 1967 novel; established text, critical introductions, bibliography, critical apparatus, including maps, over one thousand annotations, and variants from the Franco-era censored manuscript; in addition to the annotations; 677 pages.]

    Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Infantería. [with critical introductions; co-editor E. M. Santí]. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1999, 1,114 pages.

    Creative work and Translations:

    Islofobia’ y ‘La mística del equilibrio’” (essays from Memorias mínimas). Diario de Cuba (digital magazine), May 3, 2019.

    “Four Poems on Exile” (original unpublished poems). Camino Real [a peer- reviewed and multidisciplinary publication of the Instituto Franklin de Investigación en Estudios Norteamericanos-Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain], 7:10 (Fall 2015): 179-186.

    Memorias mínimas(fragments from autobiographical work in progress). Diario de Cuba [web], October 29, 2015.

    “Cariño cubano/Cuban Affection” [from Mi música en otra parte],” Trans. By Suzanne Jill Levine. The International Literary Quarterly [] 17 (2 January 2012).

    Mi música en otra parte [Collection of poems]. Madrid: Verbum, 2001. [Reviewed in: Caligrafías 2 (2002): 66-75; El Nuevo Herald, 30 June 2002:3E; Caribe 6.2 (2003-04): 135-38; Hispanic Poetry Review 7.1 (2007): 110-12.

    Book Chapters:

    “Más allá de la isla: postnacionalismo en el mapa identitario de una exiliada.” In Identidad y postnacionalismo en la cultura cubana. Eds. Laura P. Alonso Gallo and Belén

    Rodriguez Mourelo. Valencia: Aduana Vieja, 2019 (presented in Miami’s Intl. Book Fair November 2019).

    The Space of Absence in Guillermo Cabrera Infante.” In La escritura ecológica y meta-final de Guillermo Cabrera   Infante. Ed. Claudia Hammerschmidt. Potsdam-London: INOLAS Publishers LTD, 2017. [a study of Infante’s Inferno (1979)   and View of Dawn in the Tropics (1971)] 37-64.

    Three Trapped Tigers (Guillermo Cabrera Infante).” In Cuba: Its History and Its People. Ed.  Alan West-Durán. Detroit, MI: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2012. 987-991 [a study of Cabrera Infante’s masterpiece and its place in the Latin American literary canon].

    “Paisajes del recuerdo: La Habana de Guillermo Cabrera Infante” [expanded version of “Cuerpos de Cuba”]. In Guillermo Cabrera Infante: el subterfugio de la palabra. Ed. Humberto López Cruz. Madrid: Editorial Hispano Cubana, 2009. 109-25.

    Book Reviews and Newspaper Articles:

    “Norberto y sus fuentes en la cultura cubana.” Review article of book (Plaza sitiada: un libro para los enemigos 2018) that revisits the well-known 1971 Padilla Affair that divided the international intellectual community after a Cuban poet was apprehended and jailed for his poems and made to recant in public, Diario de Cuba, October 8, 2018.

    “De las UMAP a la 'Mariconga'.” Review article of documentary film on Mariela Castro, Cuba and Homophobia, Diario de Cuba, November 30 2016 (digital journal covering all aspects of Cuba and the Cuban diaspora).

    “Zenaida Manfugás: la fuga de una divina diva.” Diario de Cuba (digital magazine), Música, Madrid, 5 May 2012.

    “Entre el recuerdo y la memoria: dos visiones de la historia.” Diario de Cuba (digital magazine), Cultura, Madrid, 2 January 2012.

    1999 Lecture at Pomona: Orientation Week Distinguished Faculty Lecture [on Dominican-American writer Julia Alvarez’ novel Yo]: “The Call of the Isles: Personal Reflections on Julia Alvarez’s Yo,” August 1999.

  • Education


    University of Southern California

    Master of Arts
    University of Southern California

    Bachelor of Arts
    University of Miami

    Associate of Arts
    Miami Dade Community College

    Fluent Languages

    • English
    • Spanish

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Contemporary Spanish American Fiction
    • Images of Latin America In Fiction and Film
    • In Short: Latin American Story-Telling
    • Reading Bodies in Latin American Literature & Culture
    • Senior Paper in Spanish
    • Senior Thesis in Spanish
    • Survey of Spanish American Literature
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    University of Kentucky, Research Grant, 2001

    “Imagining Cuba.” Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellowship in the Humanities. Research on Cuban History, Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University, Miami, FL, Summer 1997.

    National Endowment for the Humanities, Travel to Collections Grant. [Research on Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ.], 1987

    Wig Distinguished Teaching Award, Pomona College's highest teaching award, 1984