AuthorGertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda
Publication date

Sab is a novel written by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda in 1841 and published in Madrid.[1] In the story, Sab, a mulato slave—who is in love with Carlota, the white daughter of his master—is the main character. The pain and struggle of his secret passion for Carlota leads Sab to his own death, which occurs in the same hour as Carlota's wedding with Enrique Otway. The novel was first published in Cuba in 1914.

Sab is regarded by some scholars as an antislavery novel, and some have also suggested that it criticizes the institution of marriage.[citation needed] The novel was written a decade before Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The publishing of Sab, in effect, was a turning point in being a precursor to the antislavery movements.[citation needed]Thus, the novel was not freely published in Cuba until 1914.

According to the Spanish literature professor Catherine Davies, Sab is "the only feminist-abolitionist novel published by a woman in nineteenth-century Spain or its slaveholding colony Cuba."[2]


The novel is set on a sugar plantation located halfway between the city of Santa María de Puerto Príncipe (modern-day Camagüey) and the village of Cubitas. While most of the novel takes places of the plantation, some of it takes place in Puerto Príncipe, some in the Cubitas Mountains, and some in the northern port of Guanaja.[3] Enrique Otway, an English tradesman, seeks to marry Carlota because he thinks that this arrangement will bring him money. As the story develops, Sab learns of Enrique's dishonorable conduct and tries to secretly aid Carlota.


Although Sab was initially published in Madrid in December 1841,[4] Avellaneda began writing the book in Cuba and continued working on it during the two-month journey to Europe in 1836.[3]


  1. ^ Murray, Christopher John (13 May 2013). ¤Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760–1850. Routledge. ISBN 9781135455781.
  2. ^ Davies 2001, p. 1.
  3. ^ a b Davies 2001, p. 2.
  4. ^ Davies 2001, p. 202.


  • Davies, Catherine (2001). "Introduction". Sab. Hispanic Texts. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0719057069.