Journal of Romance Studies

Lídia Jorge’s Combateremos a sombra: psychoanalysis, tragedy and ethics

Journal of Romance Studies (2011), 11, (3), 9–26.

Abstract

Even though Lídia Jorge’s fiction is known to testify to the socio-economic, cultural and moral effects of Portugal’s transition from a rural, fascist and colonial society to an urban, neo-liberal and postcolonial one, its object is not an abstract collective entity but, rather, concrete individuals. This article argues how, in Combateremos a sombra (2007) Jorge’s reworking of Greek tragedy through psychoanalytical insights explores the relations between desire, death and responsibility. The analysis proceeds by following the main registers of representation that the text engages, namely, the interpretative-analytical, the aesthetic and the ethical. The first centres on the representational activities of the protagonist, a psychoanalyst, professor and writer. While these ultimately bring him to embrace the Real of death, the photographs that a secondary character, a young Angolan woman, Rossiana de Jesus, takes of human life in the eminence of death embrace the fleeting but nonetheless precious Real substance of life. The two, in counterpoint, bring to the fore not the pathology of an abstract country, as some would prefer to see it, but how individual citizens can potentially respond to the appeal of ethics in representation, when the social, the political and the poetic cross paths in the course of following desire to its consequences.

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Ferreira, Ana Paula