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Urban Space and Female Subjectivity in Contemporary Brazilian Literature


Contemporary Brazilian fiction has been showing the urban space, and the city in particular, as a privileged object of reflection and poetic imagination. This paper explores the representation of urban space/city in female writing. In other words, my goal is to study the role of urban space/city in the transgression of the patriarchal system, specifically regarding the roles traditionally assigned to women. My starting point will be the following two questions. First: can the city and urban experience promote the transgression of the rules of patriarchal society and help female characters to break with the past and gain agency? And, secondly, how are contemporary female writers conveying urban space in their fiction? I intend to employ theoretical concepts that deal with the characterization of the urban space/city, such as metropolis and megalopolis. I’m using the category of space here in a culturalist perspective, which defines space as a representational category intimately intertwined with social and psychological dimensions. Thus understood, space is not an immobile surface but an ongoing sphere where several human trajectories coexist and the social is constructed (Massey 2005). Given the broad range of authors at hand, I’ve decided to limit my reflection to four female writers: Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), Sônia Coutinho (1939-2013), Paloma Vidal (1975-), and Ana Paula Maia (1977-).

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