Journal of Romance Studies

The personal voice is political

Narration and female subjectivity in Maria Judite de Carvalho’s Os Armários Vazios

Journal of Romance Studies (2019), 19, (3), 487–509.

Abstract

Maria Judite de Carvalho’s 1966 novella Os Armários Vazios [‘The Empty Closets’] explores the experiences of several women who are united by the man who divides them: Ernesto Laje. This study will analyse how the first-person narrator of the novel, Manuela Lewis, both reveals and obscures the restrictions faced by three generations of women as they attempt to navigate their ambitions and give voice to their emotions, with their individual, subjective experiences being subordinated to the deceptive authority of a narrator who alternates between participation in the events described and distance from them. Despite Ernesto Laje’s apparent centrality to the plot, we interpret Carvalho’s text as a polyphony of stories (some told, some left untold but hinted at), all bound together by the isolation of their (female) protagonists, combining to produce a complex array of intertwining perspectives which belie the apparently straightforward nature of the narrative presented.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Works cited

Baptista-Bastos (1975) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma ternura magoada’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho, a Janela Fingida (Lisbon: Seara Nova), 11–18. Google Scholar

Beer, Gillian (1989) ‘Representing women, re-presenting the past’, in The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism, ed. Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education), 63–80. Google Scholar

Burns, Karin Garlepp (1999) ‘The paradox of objectivity in the realist fiction of Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin’, Journal of Narrative Theory 29: 27–61. Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1988) Tanta Gente, Mariana, 5th ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América, Lda.). Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1993) Os Armários Vazios, 2nd ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-America, Lda.). Google Scholar

Castelo Branco, Camilo (1988) A Brasileira de Prazins, in Obras Completas de Camilo Castelo Branco, vol. VIII. ed. Justino Mendes de Almeida (Oporto: Lello), 675–852. Google Scholar

Correia, Helena Araújo (2012) ‘La construction du sens textuel: subjectivité énonciative et objectivité événementielle’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 67–72. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1987) ‘Imagens da mulher e reverso simbólico na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’ MA diss., University of Coimbra. Unpublished. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1989) ‘A intimidade na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Letras e Letras III: 10–11. Google Scholar

Esteves, José Manuel da Costa (1999) ‘Seta Despedida de Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma forma abreviada sobre a dificuldade de viver’, in O Imaginário de Maria Judite de Carvalho: 1921–98 (Aveiro: Câmara Municipal de Aveiro), 23–29. Google Scholar

Fernandes, Ana Raquel Lourenço (2008) ‘In less than no time: Maria Judite de Carvalho’s Tanta Gente, Mariana’, Luso-Brazilian Review 45: 135–152. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Ana Paula (1996) ‘Home bound: The construct of femininity in the Estado Novo’, Portuguese Studies 12: 133–144. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Virgínia (1998–1999) ‘Os paradoxos da situação das mulheres em Portugal’, in Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 52–53: 199–227. Google Scholar

Freitas, Jane Pinheiro de (2013) ‘A escrita feminina na voz de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Revista de Estudos Literários da UEMS 4: 53–61. Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1935) ‘Fragment d’une analyse d’hystérie (Dora)’, in Cinq psychanalyses, trans. Maria Bonaparte and R. Loewenstein (Paris: Denoël et Steele), 7–109. Google Scholar

Grace, Daphne M. (2014) Beyond Bodies: Gender, Literature, and the Enigma of Consciousness (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi). Google Scholar

Johnson, Tracey (2002) ‘Archaeologies and utopias: reassessing Kristeva’s relevance to feminist literary practice’, Feminist Theory 3: 169–181. Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia (1981) ‘Women’s time’, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake. Signs 7: 13–35. Google Scholar

Lanser, Susan Sniader (1992) ‘Toward a feminist poetics of narrative voice’, in Fictions of Authority (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press), 3–24. Google Scholar

Lisboa, Maria Manuel (1996) ‘No mother’s daughter or the importance of being Ernesto: Identity and separation in Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Portuguese Studies 12, 106–132. Google Scholar

Machado, Álvaro Manuel (1984) A Novelística Portuguesa Contemporânea, 2nd. ed. (Lisbon: Instituto de Cultura Portuguesa), 74–77. Google Scholar

Martins, José Cândido de Oliveira (2012) ‘Lien précaire de l’existence: l’espace, le temps et la mélancolie dans Seta Despedida’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse, Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 185–194. Google Scholar

Moi, Toril (2002) Sexual/Textual Politics, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Owen, Hilary, and Cláudia Pazos Alonso (2011) Antigone’s Daughters?: Gender, Genealogy and the Politics of Authorship in 20th-Century Portuguese Women’s Writing (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press). Google Scholar

Perkins, Juliet (2016) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Introduction: The richness of reticence’, in Storytelling: Memory, Love and Loss in Portuguese Short Fiction, ed. Ana Raquel Fernandes, Paul Melo e Castro, and Patricia Odber de Baubeta (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Universidade de Lisboa), 69–82. Google Scholar

Schlichter, Annette (2003) ‘Critical madness: Enunciative excess: The figure of the madwoman in postmodern feminist texts’, Critical Methodologies 3: 308–329. Google Scholar

Showalter, Elaine (2009) A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing, rev. and expanded ed. (London: Virago Press). Google Scholar

Simões, João Gaspar (2004) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Os Armários Vazios’, in Crítica IV: Contistas, Novelistas e Outros Prosadores Contemporâneos 1942–1979 (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda), 242–245. Google Scholar

Torres, Alexandre Pinheiro (2008) ‘A Bíblia do pessimismo’, Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias, 28 January 1998. Google Scholar

Wagner-Carrozza, Elza (1995) ‘Masculino/feminino – o eterno contraponto: uma leitura dos contos de Maria Judite de Carvalho e Lygia Fagundes Telles’, in Cadernos da Condição Feminina, No. 43: O Rosto Feminino da Expansão Portuguesa, Actas II, 243–249. Google Scholar

Woolf, Virginia (1942) ‘Professions for women’, in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (London: The Hogarth Press), 149–154. Google Scholar

Baptista-Bastos (1975) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma ternura magoada’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho, a Janela Fingida (Lisbon: Seara Nova), 11–18. Google Scholar

Beer, Gillian (1989) ‘Representing women, re-presenting the past’, in The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism, ed. Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education), 63–80. Google Scholar

Burns, Karin Garlepp (1999) ‘The paradox of objectivity in the realist fiction of Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin’, Journal of Narrative Theory 29: 27–61. Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1988) Tanta Gente, Mariana, 5th ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América, Lda.). Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1993) Os Armários Vazios, 2nd ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-America, Lda.). Google Scholar

Castelo Branco, Camilo (1988) A Brasileira de Prazins, in Obras Completas de Camilo Castelo Branco, vol. VIII. ed. Justino Mendes de Almeida (Oporto: Lello), 675–852. Google Scholar

Correia, Helena Araújo (2012) ‘La construction du sens textuel: subjectivité énonciative et objectivité événementielle’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 67–72. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1987) ‘Imagens da mulher e reverso simbólico na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’ MA diss., University of Coimbra. Unpublished. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1989) ‘A intimidade na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Letras e Letras III: 10–11. Google Scholar

Esteves, José Manuel da Costa (1999) ‘Seta Despedida de Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma forma abreviada sobre a dificuldade de viver’, in O Imaginário de Maria Judite de Carvalho: 1921–98 (Aveiro: Câmara Municipal de Aveiro), 23–29. Google Scholar

Fernandes, Ana Raquel Lourenço (2008) ‘In less than no time: Maria Judite de Carvalho’s Tanta Gente, Mariana’, Luso-Brazilian Review 45: 135–152. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Ana Paula (1996) ‘Home bound: The construct of femininity in the Estado Novo’, Portuguese Studies 12: 133–144. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Virgínia (1998–1999) ‘Os paradoxos da situação das mulheres em Portugal’, in Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 52–53: 199–227. Google Scholar

Freitas, Jane Pinheiro de (2013) ‘A escrita feminina na voz de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Revista de Estudos Literários da UEMS 4: 53–61. Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1935) ‘Fragment d’une analyse d’hystérie (Dora)’, in Cinq psychanalyses, trans. Maria Bonaparte and R. Loewenstein (Paris: Denoël et Steele), 7–109. Google Scholar

Grace, Daphne M. (2014) Beyond Bodies: Gender, Literature, and the Enigma of Consciousness (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi). Google Scholar

Johnson, Tracey (2002) ‘Archaeologies and utopias: reassessing Kristeva’s relevance to feminist literary practice’, Feminist Theory 3: 169–181. Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia (1981) ‘Women’s time’, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake. Signs 7: 13–35. Google Scholar

Lanser, Susan Sniader (1992) ‘Toward a feminist poetics of narrative voice’, in Fictions of Authority (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press), 3–24. Google Scholar

Lisboa, Maria Manuel (1996) ‘No mother’s daughter or the importance of being Ernesto: Identity and separation in Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Portuguese Studies 12, 106–132. Google Scholar

Machado, Álvaro Manuel (1984) A Novelística Portuguesa Contemporânea, 2nd. ed. (Lisbon: Instituto de Cultura Portuguesa), 74–77. Google Scholar

Martins, José Cândido de Oliveira (2012) ‘Lien précaire de l’existence: l’espace, le temps et la mélancolie dans Seta Despedida’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse, Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 185–194. Google Scholar

Moi, Toril (2002) Sexual/Textual Politics, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Owen, Hilary, and Cláudia Pazos Alonso (2011) Antigone’s Daughters?: Gender, Genealogy and the Politics of Authorship in 20th-Century Portuguese Women’s Writing (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press). Google Scholar

Perkins, Juliet (2016) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Introduction: The richness of reticence’, in Storytelling: Memory, Love and Loss in Portuguese Short Fiction, ed. Ana Raquel Fernandes, Paul Melo e Castro, and Patricia Odber de Baubeta (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Universidade de Lisboa), 69–82. Google Scholar

Schlichter, Annette (2003) ‘Critical madness: Enunciative excess: The figure of the madwoman in postmodern feminist texts’, Critical Methodologies 3: 308–329. Google Scholar

Showalter, Elaine (2009) A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing, rev. and expanded ed. (London: Virago Press). Google Scholar

Simões, João Gaspar (2004) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Os Armários Vazios’, in Crítica IV: Contistas, Novelistas e Outros Prosadores Contemporâneos 1942–1979 (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda), 242–245. Google Scholar

Torres, Alexandre Pinheiro (2008) ‘A Bíblia do pessimismo’, Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias, 28 January 1998. Google Scholar

Wagner-Carrozza, Elza (1995) ‘Masculino/feminino – o eterno contraponto: uma leitura dos contos de Maria Judite de Carvalho e Lygia Fagundes Telles’, in Cadernos da Condição Feminina, No. 43: O Rosto Feminino da Expansão Portuguesa, Actas II, 243–249. Google Scholar

Woolf, Virginia (1942) ‘Professions for women’, in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (London: The Hogarth Press), 149–154. Google Scholar

Baptista-Bastos (1975) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma ternura magoada’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho, a Janela Fingida (Lisbon: Seara Nova), 11–18. Google Scholar

Beer, Gillian (1989) ‘Representing women, re-presenting the past’, in The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism, ed. Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education), 63–80. Google Scholar

Burns, Karin Garlepp (1999) ‘The paradox of objectivity in the realist fiction of Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin’, Journal of Narrative Theory 29: 27–61. Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1988) Tanta Gente, Mariana, 5th ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América, Lda.). Google Scholar

Carvalho, Maria Judite de (1993) Os Armários Vazios, 2nd ed. (Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-America, Lda.). Google Scholar

Castelo Branco, Camilo (1988) A Brasileira de Prazins, in Obras Completas de Camilo Castelo Branco, vol. VIII. ed. Justino Mendes de Almeida (Oporto: Lello), 675–852. Google Scholar

Correia, Helena Araújo (2012) ‘La construction du sens textuel: subjectivité énonciative et objectivité événementielle’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 67–72. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1987) ‘Imagens da mulher e reverso simbólico na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’ MA diss., University of Coimbra. Unpublished. Google Scholar

Costa, Maria de Lurdes Gouveia da (1989) ‘A intimidade na obra de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Letras e Letras III: 10–11. Google Scholar

Esteves, José Manuel da Costa (1999) ‘Seta Despedida de Maria Judite de Carvalho: uma forma abreviada sobre a dificuldade de viver’, in O Imaginário de Maria Judite de Carvalho: 1921–98 (Aveiro: Câmara Municipal de Aveiro), 23–29. Google Scholar

Fernandes, Ana Raquel Lourenço (2008) ‘In less than no time: Maria Judite de Carvalho’s Tanta Gente, Mariana’, Luso-Brazilian Review 45: 135–152. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Ana Paula (1996) ‘Home bound: The construct of femininity in the Estado Novo’, Portuguese Studies 12: 133–144. Google Scholar

Ferreira, Virgínia (1998–1999) ‘Os paradoxos da situação das mulheres em Portugal’, in Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 52–53: 199–227. Google Scholar

Freitas, Jane Pinheiro de (2013) ‘A escrita feminina na voz de Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Revista de Estudos Literários da UEMS 4: 53–61. Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1935) ‘Fragment d’une analyse d’hystérie (Dora)’, in Cinq psychanalyses, trans. Maria Bonaparte and R. Loewenstein (Paris: Denoël et Steele), 7–109. Google Scholar

Grace, Daphne M. (2014) Beyond Bodies: Gender, Literature, and the Enigma of Consciousness (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi). Google Scholar

Johnson, Tracey (2002) ‘Archaeologies and utopias: reassessing Kristeva’s relevance to feminist literary practice’, Feminist Theory 3: 169–181. Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia (1981) ‘Women’s time’, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake. Signs 7: 13–35. Google Scholar

Lanser, Susan Sniader (1992) ‘Toward a feminist poetics of narrative voice’, in Fictions of Authority (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press), 3–24. Google Scholar

Lisboa, Maria Manuel (1996) ‘No mother’s daughter or the importance of being Ernesto: Identity and separation in Maria Judite de Carvalho’, Portuguese Studies 12, 106–132. Google Scholar

Machado, Álvaro Manuel (1984) A Novelística Portuguesa Contemporânea, 2nd. ed. (Lisbon: Instituto de Cultura Portuguesa), 74–77. Google Scholar

Martins, José Cândido de Oliveira (2012) ‘Lien précaire de l’existence: l’espace, le temps et la mélancolie dans Seta Despedida’, in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Une écriture en liberté surveillée, ed. Maria Graciete Besse, Adelaide Cristóvão, and José Manuel da Costa Esteves (Paris: L’Harmattan), 185–194. Google Scholar

Moi, Toril (2002) Sexual/Textual Politics, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Owen, Hilary, and Cláudia Pazos Alonso (2011) Antigone’s Daughters?: Gender, Genealogy and the Politics of Authorship in 20th-Century Portuguese Women’s Writing (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press). Google Scholar

Perkins, Juliet (2016) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Introduction: The richness of reticence’, in Storytelling: Memory, Love and Loss in Portuguese Short Fiction, ed. Ana Raquel Fernandes, Paul Melo e Castro, and Patricia Odber de Baubeta (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Universidade de Lisboa), 69–82. Google Scholar

Schlichter, Annette (2003) ‘Critical madness: Enunciative excess: The figure of the madwoman in postmodern feminist texts’, Critical Methodologies 3: 308–329. Google Scholar

Showalter, Elaine (2009) A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing, rev. and expanded ed. (London: Virago Press). Google Scholar

Simões, João Gaspar (2004) ‘Maria Judite de Carvalho: Os Armários Vazios’, in Crítica IV: Contistas, Novelistas e Outros Prosadores Contemporâneos 1942–1979 (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda), 242–245. Google Scholar

Torres, Alexandre Pinheiro (2008) ‘A Bíblia do pessimismo’, Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias, 28 January 1998. Google Scholar

Wagner-Carrozza, Elza (1995) ‘Masculino/feminino – o eterno contraponto: uma leitura dos contos de Maria Judite de Carvalho e Lygia Fagundes Telles’, in Cadernos da Condição Feminina, No. 43: O Rosto Feminino da Expansão Portuguesa, Actas II, 243–249. Google Scholar

Woolf, Virginia (1942) ‘Professions for women’, in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (London: The Hogarth Press), 149–154. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Frier, David G.

Atkin, Rhian