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Lusosex: Gender and Sexuality in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Susan Canty Quinlan
Fernando Arenas
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Challenging static notions of sexualities within the Portuguese-speaking world, these essays expand our understanding of the multiplicity of differences and marginalized subjectivities that fall under the intersections of sexuality, gender, and race. Contributors: Severino João Albuquerque, Jossianna Arroyo, César Braga-Pinto, Ana Paula Ferreira, John Gledson, Russell G. Hamilton, André Torres Lepecki, Mário César Lugarinho, Phyllis Peres, Ronald W. Sousa, João Silvério Trevisan, Richard Zenith.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9352-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxxviii)
    Fernando Arenas and Susan Canty Quinlan

    Since the 1980s in the English-speaking world, particularly in the United States, there has been an explosion of studies in the humanities, most notably in the fields of literary and cultural studies, that place sexuality at the center of their analyses of human subjectivity in ancient and modern societies, as well as within national cultures. This explosion has led to the formation of the academic discipline known as gay and lesbian studies. The rapid expansion and consolidation of this discipline, as well as its political and conceptual evolution, have led to the rise of queer theory, signaling an institutional transformation...

  5. PART I Early Stories of Desire

    • CHAPTER ONE Tivira, the Man with the Broken Butt: Same-Sex Practices among Brazilian Indians
      (pp. 3-11)
      João Silvério Trevisan

      When Brazil’s discoverer, Pedro Álvares Cabral, and his Portuguese squadron made port in Brazil in 1500, its members were awed before the beauty of the country and fertility of its lands, but also aghast at the nudity and laxity of its native inhabitants’ sexual practices. Indeed, the natives’ sexual codes shared nothing with the era’s Western Puritanism. For example, they gave little importance to virginity and condemned celibacy; in this vein, in 1556, the French clergyman and chronicler André Thévet observed that the Indians offered their daughters to the foreigners in exchange for trifles. In the same period, the German...

    • CHAPTER TWO Machado de Assis and Graciliano Ramos: Speculations on Sex and Sexuality
      (pp. 12-34)
      John Gledson

      This essay deals with Machado de Assis and Graciliano Ramos, two writers whose (well-justified) claim to fame has, at least apparently, nothing to do with their attitude to homosexuality. There are two reasons for this: one is the extreme paucity of the kind of relatively explicit material we have become more used to since the 1960s; the other is simply that the depth, richness and, I was going to say, honesty—and can still find no better word—of both writers’ works makes even their “incidental” comments worth paying attention to.

      João Guimarães Rosa and Clarice Lispector, who each began...

    • CHAPTER THREE Fernando Pessoa’s Gay Heteronym?
      (pp. 35-56)
      Richard Zenith

      The notion that Pessoa was probably a repressed homosexual and that this fact shaped his work is not new: João Gaspar Simões said as much in the biography he published in 1950.¹ But this was one of the biographer’s points of view that tended to be scorned, and since then little more on the topic has been written in Portugal, or elsewhere. Robert Bréchon, in his recent biography, instead of exploring the theme further, prefers to skirt it, though he also recognizes a “latent homosexuality” as a “component of [Pessoa’s] personality” (306). Homosexual and homoerotic elements permeate Pessoa’s work to...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Brazilian Homoerotics: Cultural Subjectivity and Representation in the Fiction of Gilberto Freyre
      (pp. 57-83)
      Jossianna Arroyo

      National literatures have had a long and intense commitment to desire. From patriotic desire we have seen ideal descriptions of cultural nationalism written in pages of essays, fiction, sociology, and so forth (Sommer). In the specific case of writing national discourses, we can confirm that these two main components—fiction and national desire—coexist depending on each other in a narcissistic way. Cultural identities, as the main components of national discourses, are also a fiction constructed with imaginary borderlines: between selfhood and otherness. Cultural subjectivity derives from this paradox of riskingone’s own selfto build one’s identity in relation...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Fictions of the Impossible: Clarice Lispector, Lúcio Cardoso, and “Impossibilidade”
      (pp. 84-104)
      Severino João Albuquerque

      In a key passage ofEpistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick addresses the important, and highly ironic, role the closet has played in Western culture in general, as one of its most productive tensions in the past one hundred years or so, providing culture with breadth and even a certain consistency and longevity. Although she acknowledges the risks inherent in such a claim and takes pains to remark on the ills entailed by the closet, Sedgwick asserts that it has been “inexhaustibly productive of modern Western culture and history at large” (68). The closet, or “the regime of the...

  6. PART II On Subjects, on Sex

    • CHAPTER SIX Loving in the Lands of Portugal: Sex in Women’s Fictions and the Nationalist Order
      (pp. 107-129)
      Ana Paula Ferreira

      Some time before António de Oliveira Salazar’sConstituição Política do Estado Novo(Political Constitution of the New State) was published, on April 11, 1933, theoretical models of nationalist womanhood, in the making since at least the preceding decade, begin to appear.² They are found mostly in speeches and pamphlets that reduce to a caricature or demonize feminist ideals as the sine qua non of endorsing the dictator’s plans for the moral reconstruction of the Portuguese family. The latter is considered the basic unit of what is to become the new corporate state. In line with other European fascisms, propagandists of...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Not Just for Love, Pleasure, or Procreation: Eroto-Racial, Sociopolitical, and Mystic-Mythical Discourses of Sexuality in Pepetela’s A geração da utopia
      (pp. 130-148)
      Russell G. Hamilton

      Pepetela’sA geração da utopiaqualifies as a landmark novel, not only for Angolan literature, but also for Lusophone African and, indeed, Portuguese-language writing in general. Moreover, since its publication in 1992, the novel has stirred up controversy—much, though not all, of it stemming from its portrayal of explicit sex. There is, of course, a history of sexuality in the literature of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé e Príncipe. On the other hand, until around the mid-1980s, explicit language and scenes of sex were virtually absent from the corpus of Lusophone African literature.¹

      In order to...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Border Writing, Postcoloniality, and Critical Difference in the Works of Orlanda Amarílis
      (pp. 149-167)
      Phyllis Peres

      To understand the works of Orlanda Amarílis, we must first address the author’s national identity and her inscription into a national literature. After all, Amarílis was born in 1924 in colonial Cape Verde at a time when Cape Verdeans were considered citizens of the metropolis.¹ A naturalized Portuguese who has been living mainly in Portugal since her marriage to the late writer and critic Manuel Ferreira, she writes narratives that are situated in both the archipelago and the European main-land. The seemingly facile question of her national identity—well, is she a Cape Verdean writer? a Cape Verdean born Portuguese...

    • CHAPTER NINE “I Was Evita,” or Ecce Femina: Lídia Jorge’s The Murmuring Coast
      (pp. 168-184)
      Ronald W. Sousa

      In a number of passages in the second, and principal, part of Lídia Jorge’s 1988 novelA costa dos murmúrios(The Murmuring Coast), the speaker recalls scenes, of some years earlier, in which she found herself in what can only be called desirous contemplation of another woman, the overaptly nicknamed “Helen of Troy,” beautiful wife of her new husband’s superior officer.¹ The contemplation reaches the point, toward the novel’s end (233 [222–223]), where, acting on a powerful attraction involving a complex attitude toward that other woman, she fondles Helen’s leg, and an erotic (same-sex) encounter of sorts ensues. On...

  7. PART III Brazilian Performativities

    • CHAPTER TEN Supermen and Chiquita Bacana’s Daughters: Transgendered Voices in Brazilian Popular Music
      (pp. 187-207)
      César Braga-Pinto

      “Everyone knows the pain and the delight of being what one is” (Cada um sabe a dor e a delícia de ser o que é), sings Gal Costa in Caetano Veloso’s “Dom de Iludir” (Gift for deluding).¹ Pain and delight (or pain and pleasure) in this case are not opposites, but rather define what is commonly called “identity.” According to Derrida’s citations of Nietzsche, “pain is something other than pleasure,” “it is not the opposite of pleasure,” and “one might perhaps characterize pleasure in general as a rhythm of small painful excitations” (1987: 408). But if pleasure is a kind...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Cross-dressing: Silviano Santiago’s Fictional Performances
      (pp. 208-232)
      Susan Canty Quinlan

      The genesis of this essay rests in understanding the cultural context of how Brazilian literature might elaborate configurations of sexuality, gender, and sex. The issue of postmodern discussions of otherness (often marked by discourses of transvestism orfantasia)¹ is one that occupies a central locus in Silviano Santiago’s critical and fictional work, whether in physical, political, or psychological materializations. Inherent in this discussion of transvestism are the particular ways used to construct the self and the other, usually in terms of political and national identity formation and the performance of these configurations within a more global arena. The novelStella...

  8. PART IV Queer Nations in Portuguese

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Small Epiphanies in the Night of the World: The Writing of Caio Fernando Abreu
      (pp. 235-257)
      Fernando Arenas

      Caio Fernando Abreu died of AIDS in February 1996 in Porto Alegre, in his native state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He is considered one of the most important Brazilian writers in the late twentieth century.¹ Caio Fernando Abreu wrote short stories, novels, and plays, and was a wellknown journalist forEstado de São PauloandZero Hora, among other print media.² His chronicles written forEstadoare considered by some critics as representative of the Zeitgeist of Brazilian society in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was one of the first Brazilian writers to thematize AIDS and was...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Impossible Body: Queering the Nation in Modern Portuguese Dance
      (pp. 258-275)
      André Torres Lepecki

      The body in public forms of representation in contemporary Portugal has been described by art and cultural critic Alexandre Melo as invisible, absent, lacking. In a provocative essay for the weeklyExpressoin 1993, Melo identified the image of the Portuguese body as pure negativity, astheabsolute loss in the cultural national landscape. The absence of a public discourse on the body in contemporary Portugal led Melo to title his essay, ironically, “Do the Portuguese Have a Body?”¹

      In the 1990s, Melo’s question echoes and relaunches important insights on Portuguese culture first brought forth by Eduardo Lourenço in the...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN Al Berto, In Memoriam: The Luso Queer Principle
      (pp. 276-300)
      Mário César Lugarinho

      Poet Al Berto (the pseudonym of Alberto Raposo Pidwell Tavares) is a foundational figure in the emergence of a “queer” literature in Portugal. Al Berto’s poetic work is the product of a “literary series” in which a gay male subjectivity has traditionally appeared as a marginalized and invisible figure in its difference vis-à-vis mainstream culture.¹ However, the notion of “queer” implies not only a marginalized gay subjectivity, but also a way of being in the world, which, by virtue of its difference, is capable of adopting a critical stance in relationship to mainstream culture (see Jagose). Thus, my appropriation of...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 301-304)
  10. Index
    (pp. 305-317)