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Gender, Discourse, and Desire in Twentieth-Century Brazilian Women's Literature

by Cristina Ferreira-Pinto

Publication Year: 2004

This study by Cristina Ferreira-Pinto explores the poetic and narrative strategies twentieth-century Brazilian women writers use to achieve new forms of representation of the female body, sexuality, and desire. Female writers discussed include: Gilka Machado, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Marcia Denser, and Marina Colasanti. While creating new forms, these writers are also deconstructing cultural myths of femininity and female behavior. In order to understand these myths, the book also presents new readings of some male-authored canonical novels by Jose de Alencar, Machado de Assis, Manuel Antonio de Almeida, and Aluisio Azevedo.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

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p. ix

This book has been some years in the making. In a sense, it started many years ago, as I began reading, teaching, and writing about Brazilian women writers and their works. I wish to thank Fred Ellison, Maria José Somerlate Barbosa, and Matthew Bailey, who read earlier versions of this book at different times and offered valuable comments and encouragement ...

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Introduction Brazilian Women's Literature as a Counterideological Discourse

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pp. 1-7

Before the mid-1900s, the number of female names that were part of the Brazilian literary canon was rather small, although women had certainly engaged in writing, first as a hobby or as a private way of self-expression and, around the beginning of the twentieth century, as...

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Chapter One Female Body, Male Desire

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pp. 8-37

Twentieth-century Brazilian women's literature constitutes a body of ideological discourse that stands in opposition to the work of male writers who typically have rendered female sexuality as subservient to masculine desire. The best example of this masculinist perspective of the female body is Jorge Amado's Gabriela...

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Chapter Two Brazilian Women Writers The Search for an Erotic Discourse

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pp. 38-74

As I discussed in the previous chapter, canonical Brazilian literature by male authors often represents the female body and sexuality as subservient to male desire, and has shaped myths of femininity that originate ...

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Chapter Three Representation of the Female Body and Desire: The Gothic, the Fantastic, and the Grotesque

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pp. 75-92

While many twentieth-century Brazilian women authors have attempted to give expression to female desire in a way that is liberating for the female subject, often they seem to have failed, falling into the old pattern of conceiving female sexuality and the female body as subservient...

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Chapter Four Sonia Coutinho's Short Fiction: Aging and the Female Body

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pp. 93-112

Cixous, in her famous essay."Le rire de la Meduse" (1975; "The Laugh of the Medusa," 1983), in which she celebrates women's sexual, erotic, and linguistic differences from men, urges us to take a new look at the Medusa. She encourages us "to look at the Medusa...

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Chapter Five Contemporary Brazilian Women's Short Stories: Lesbian Desire

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pp. 113-142

In his groundbreaking book Sexual Textualities: Essays on Queer/ing Latin American Literature (1997), Foster has pointed out that literary critics in Latin America have generally disregarded a tradition of lesbian writings by Latin American women (10). This is certainly true ...

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Chapter Six The Works of Marcia Denser and Marina Colasanti: Female Agency and Heterosexuality

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pp. 143-158

In the previous chapter I have focused on late-twentieth-century short stories in which lesbian desire is central to the narrative. It is important to highlight the existence of a lesbian tradition in literature by Brazilian women writers, in an effort to lift the silence usually surrounding the lesbian woman and lesbian sexuality in Brazil...

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Conclusion Brazilian Women Writers in the New Millennium

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pp. 159-164

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Brazilian women writers have come a long way in their representation of female desire, eroticism, and sexuality. From the first decades of the century with Gilka Machado's daring poetry, through the pioneering fiction of Rachel...

Appendix: English Translations

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pp. 165-178


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pp. 179-184


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pp. 185-198


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pp. 199-204

About the Author of This Book

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p. 205

E-ISBN-13: 9781612491011
E-ISBN-10: 1612491014
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557533524
Print-ISBN-10: 1557533520

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 645936113
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Gender, Discourse, and Desire in Twentieth-Century Brazilian Women's Literature

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Women and literature -- Brazil -- History -- 20th century.
  • Brazilian literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
  • Women in literature.
  • Sex role in literature
  • Desire in literature.
  • Brazilian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
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