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Utopias of Otherness

Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil

2003
Author:

Fernando Arenas

Utopias of Otherness

Forges a new understanding of how these two Lusophone nations are connected

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.

Arenas illustrates his points with copious and relevant references to media events, music, film and contemporary culture. . . . Arenas’s sensitive readings of these challenging authors show how their understanding of the concepts of selfhood, identity and nation lead them to construct postmodern, postcolonial, postfeminist, posthistorical alternatives to globalisation and capitalism.

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The closely entwined histories of Portugal and Brazil remain key references for understanding developments—past and present—in either country. Accordingly, Fernando Arenas considers Portugal and Brazil in relation to one another in this exploration of changing definitions of nationhood, subjectivity, and utopias in both cultures. Examining the two nations’s shared language and histories as well as their cultural, social, and political points of divergence, Arenas pursues these definitive changes through the realms of literature, intellectual thought, popular culture, and political discourse.

Both Brazil and Portugal are 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, Utopias of Otherness shows how these writers have redefined the concept of nationhood, not only through their investment in utopian or emancipatory causes such as Marxist revolution, women’s liberation, or sexual revolution, but also by shifting their attention to alternative modes of conceiving the ethical and political realms.

Utopias of Otherness

Fernando Arenas is associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is coeditor (with Susan Canty Quinlan) of Lusosex (Minnesota, 2002).

Utopias of Otherness

Arenas illustrates his points with copious and relevant references to media events, music, film and contemporary culture. . . . Arenas’s sensitive readings of these challenging authors show how their understanding of the concepts of selfhood, identity and nation lead them to construct postmodern, postcolonial, postfeminist, posthistorical alternatives to globalisation and capitalism.

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

As a valuable contribution to debates concerning globalization, post colonialism and postmodernism, Utopias of Otherness provides a solid basis for future elaboration. It also has the merit of being one of the first book-length studies written in English that deal with nationhood and subjectivity in relation to the literatures of Portugal and Brazil.

Luso-Brazilian Review

Utopias of Otherness will constitute a starting point for further transatlantic studies and will remain a key reference for understanding the complex roots of nationhood, subjectivity and utopias in the post-utopian era of late twentieth century Portugal and Brazil.

Luso-Brazilian Review

Well organized and clearly and concisely written.

Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association