Traduzir o Outro oriental: a configuração da figura feminina na literatura portuguesa finissecular (António Feijó e Wenceslau de Moraes)

Marta Pacheco Pinto (egma@sapo.pt)
Programme in Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon
July, 2013
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Abstract

This study focuses on the literary configuration of the Far East woman in the work of two turn-of-the-century Portuguese authors, namely in the collection of translated poems titled (1890, 1903) by António Feijó (1859-1917) and the books published by Wenceslau de Moraes (1854-1929). Our point of departure consists of inscribing the selected corpus within a discursive practice that has already been analysed in critical studies on the Islamic Orient in the context of the Anglo-French tradition of literary Orientalism: the orientalist rhetoric of feminization of the Orient. Drawing on Edward Said’s 1978 legacy, our study concentrates on the literary geography of the Far East (China and Japan) at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. The orientalist characteristics identified in the aforementioned corpus converge in the feminization of that Orient, which we understand as an integral part of the phenomenon of cultural translation. Based on different relational modes with the Far East, the corpus illustrates an aesthetic apprehension of that geoculture through the female figure. This figure establishes a relationship of continuity with the space she represents and symbolizes, in which the European idea of the Orient, of gender difference, and of female body is implied. The analysis is organized around three key phrases: orientalism, cultural translation and feminization of the Orient. Formally, the dissertation is divided into two distinct parts: one theoretical-conceptual, which elaborates on each of those key phrases, and a second one, which provides our analysis of the literary corpus. This analysis explores imagery and metaphorical networks and their aesthetic-ideological implications for the understanding of the asymmetries and ambiguities linking turn-of-thecentury Portugal to the Far East. We expect our analysis of the literary aestheticization of the Far East to contribute to a broader understanding of the turn-of-the-century phenomenon of literary Orientalism, which relies on a process of cultural translation.