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Utopias of Otherness: Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil

Fernando Arenas
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Utopias of Otherness
    Book Description:

    In Utopias of Otherness, Fernando Arenas considers Portugal and Brazil, both subject to the economic, political, and cultural forces of postmodern globalization. Arenas analyzes responses to these trends in contemporary writers including José Saramago, Caio Fernando Abreu, Maria Isabel Barreno, Vergílio Ferreira, Clarice Lispector, and Maria Gabriela Llansol, ultimately revealing how these writers have redefined the concept of nationhood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9291-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxxii)

    The myth of the “country of the future,” which has governed the modern Brazilian imaginary, has inevitably entailed the gradual erasure of Portugal as a primary cultural point of reference. This myth is the result of a complex historical and cultural metamorphosis that started with the Christian utopian vision of the “earthly paradise” that was projected onto Brazil from the moment of the Portuguese arrival in 1500. Both mythical-utopian visions underscore the movement from a colonial to a postcolonial era, as well as the peculiar relationship between a weak (former) colonial power on the edge of Europe and the enormous...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Portugal: Ideas of Empire and Nationhood
    (pp. 1-21)

    Chapters 1 and 2 situate the reader within the currents of history and intellectual thought that have influenced the ideas of national identity for both Portugal and Brazil. Although the two nations are treated separately in each chapter in order to highlight individual particularities, comparative allusions are made in order to illustrate the ways Brazil and Portugal impinge upon each other’s respective national identity formation. Before embarking on the literary and philosophical discussions that will occupy all subsequent chapters (chapters 3 through 5), discussions that emphasize the notion of the weakening of the nationstate and its correlative myths or utopias...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Brazilian National Identity: Intellectual Debates and Changing Cultural Realities
    (pp. 22-41)

    In a vein similar to that of chapter 1, which focuses on macrological views of Portuguese nationhood and their eventual weakening or relativization in today’s cultural landscape, this chapter traces the movement from the emergence of grand narratives of national identity since the 1930s in the Brazilian intellectual field to the upsurge of a multiplicity of smaller narratives of nationhood across various discursive fields, social arenas, and media in contemporary Brazil. Thus, we observe a shift from macrological approaches that have privileged constructs such as “racial democracy,” social typologies such as “the cordial man,” or geopolitical binaries such as the...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Subjectivities and Homoerotic Desire in Contemporary Brazilian Fiction: The Nation of Caio Fernando Abreu
    (pp. 42-65)

    The late twentieth century was an era of tremendous upheaval for Brazil: a twenty-year dictatorship, a slow and lengthy transition toward democracy, periods of euphoria and despair, many unfulfilled promises but also remarkable achievements, painful betrayals and profound hope. This dramatic transition process has been amply recorded through a variety of cultural and artistic expressions such as cinema, popular music, and literature, to name some of the most outstanding. From the visceral and poetic films of Walter Salles, Sérgio Bianchi, and Sandra Werneck to the dazzling art-pop music and lyrics of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Adriana Calcanhotto, Marisa...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Women’s Difference in Contemporary Portuguese Fiction: The Case of Maria Isabel Barreno
    (pp. 66-86)

    The late twentieth century was a period of major historical transformations for Portugal. The single most important event was the April Revolution of 1974, which toppled the forty-year-old authoritarian Salazar/Caetano regime at the same time as it brought about the end of approximately five hundred years of Portuguese colonialism in Africa and Asia. Certainly, the end of Portuguese colonialism was the result of a historical dialectic between events in Portugal and the successful campaign of national liberation movements throughout Portuguese-speaking Africa and East Timor. Nonetheless, after a brief period of political turmoil, the April Revolution opened the path for the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Worlds in Transition and Utopias of Otherness
    (pp. 87-125)

    The previous four chapters have traced the shift from the grand narratives of nationhood proposed by various currents of Portuguese and Brazilian intellectual thought to a proliferation of micronarratives of nationhood in the realms of literature, popular culture, and the political arena in contemporary Brazil and Portugal. Although this study has focused primarily on Portuguese and Brazilian national cultures, this epistemological shift has clearly been an international phenomenon due to a multiplicity of interrelated factors, namely (in varying order of intensity) globalization, the relative weakening of foundationalist thought structures (for example, nationalisms, Marxism, and Christianity); the affirmation of micro or...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 126-130)

    The preceding chapters stress the weakening of the nation-state at the dawn of the twenty-first century in a multiplicity of arenas such as the economic, the political, and the cultural. However, national questions have not entirely disappeared from the horizon of interests of the Portuguese and Brazilian fiction writers discussed throughout this study, although they have been progressively deemphasized. Interestingly, throughout their respective writing careers, Vergílio Ferreira and Clarice Lispector tended to avoid an explicit treatment of national questions altogether.

    From the early part of his career in the late 1940s, Ferreira felt increasingly marginalized in a Portuguese national context...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 131-160)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 161-174)
  13. Index
    (pp. 175-180)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-181)