Erotic Bodies/Erotic Politics in Latin American Women's Writing
Throughout the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, literature written by Latin American women underwent a uniquely enriching narrative renovation. A preference for the theme of the erotic drove this process, and provided the primary source of power and the most salient characteristics of the texts in question. Three Latin American women writers from the last decades of the twentieth century who can be classified as representatives of this literary renaissance are Brazilian novelist Márcia Denser, Chilean writer Diamela Eltit, and Uruguayan novelist and poet Cristina Peri Rossi. In my dissertation I examine three novels from these authors that show their common interest in the theme of women’s sexuality as a means to articulate a variety of attitudes, from the uneasiness caused by the rigidity of patriarchal norms and the repression of political regimes to the anxiety and anguish of daily life and the difficulty and complexity of human relationships. The novels are Denser’s Animal dos motéis (1981), Eltit’s Lumpérica (1983) and Peri Rossi’s Solitario de amor (1988). In these texts, the woman’s erotic desire is presented as a subversive act in which the woman appropriates power with the purpose of proposing not only new patterns of sexual behavior but also new political and cultural values and models that differ from those belonging to the male domain. As a comparatist, my work is to find differences as well. Thus, my research has also aimed to differentiate the treatment of eroticism in the fiction of Denser, Eltit, and Peri Rossi by contending that different narrative styles and perspectives toward female sexuality reveal the heterogeneity of the erotic imagination in Latin American women’s prose.