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Tentative Transgressions

Homosexuality, AIDS, and the Theater in Brazil

Severino J. Albuquerque

Publication Year: 2004

Starting at the beginning of the twentieth century, Albuquerque examines the way the Modernist movement both fueled and inhibited the use of gay imagery in Brazilian drama. This elegant and fluid study ultimately becomes an examination of a whole Latin society, and the ways in which Latin theatre has absorbed and reflected the culture's own changing sensibilities, that will intrigue anyone interested in Latin American culture, literature, or theater.


Winner, 2008 Elizabeth A. Steinberg Prize

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiii

The research for this book began as a project on representations of AIDS in Brazil—artistic and otherwise. As the work progressed I soon became aware of the forbidding scope of the project and decided to limit myself to artistic depictions, only to be again confronted with the enormity of the enterprise. I was then drawn to focus on stage representations, not only because of my previous interest in and familiarity with Brazilian...

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Chapter 1. Transgression, Homosexuality, and the Theater in Brazil

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pp. 3-41

Featured prominently in the long profile that Brazil’s leading newsweekly occasionally dedicates to the nation’s notables, soccer star Renato Gaúcho (the professional name of Renato Portaluppi, b. 1962) declared in 1993 that “real men don’t die of AIDS” and in the same breath that he has no use for condoms, since “only gay men contract the disease” (Alves 1993: 102)....

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Chapter 2. Modernist and Neorealist Backtracking

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pp. 42-82

By investigating heterosexual representations of homosexuality in the theater of Brazilian modernism, this chapter explores the different ways homosexuality was occluded in a key period of Brazilian culture and questions the extent to which playwrights like Oswald de Andrade and Nelson Rodrigues were ready or qualified to serve as critics of their own...

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Chapter 3. Beyond Evasiveness

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pp. 83-119

Seeking to apply the theories of transgression discussed in the introductory materials, this chapter situates the performative and transgressive aspects of theatrical practice in the historical context of a dramatic milieu that saw significant changes in the second half of the twentieth century. In the politically repressive but artistically vibrant period extending from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the homosexual camp finally secured a...

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Chapter 4. AIDS, Subalternity, and the Stage

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pp. 120-170

Not only a major public health problem, AIDS is a focal point for many of the social ills that plague numerous nations, including Brazil. The Brazilian artistic community has reacted to the epidemic by means of a multifaceted engagement, ranging from the relatively quiet act of writing an elegiac poem to loud participation in meetings and demonstrations....

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pp. 171-177

As this study of homosexualities in Brazilian theater began to take shape, some obstacles seemed more daunting than others. The cautious nature of the theatrical representation of homoeroticism and homosexual transgression in Brazil has presented a particular challenge. In attempting to locate such tentativeness under the diverse guises it has assumed, I had...


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pp. 179-219

Works Cited

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pp. 221-232


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pp. 233-255

E-ISBN-13: 9780299189235
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299189242

Publication Year: 2004