Narratives of Power and Resistance in Jorge de Sena’s <em>O Físico Prodigioso</em>

  • Rhian Atkin Cardiff University


This article examines Jorge de Sena’s interrogation of power and resistance in O Físico Prodigioso (1966). While the second half of the novella functions as a clear allegory for the Portuguese and Brazilian dictatorships of the mid-twentieth century, political oppression and repression are in fact deeply ingrained in Sena’s vision of society. The apparent freedom that is witnessed before and after dictatorship is not (and cannot be) universal, because for Sena even the power of discourse holds the potential for oppression. Drawing on Foucault’s work, the article posits that O Físico Prodigioso’s shifting narrative functions as a call for continual resistance against oppression in all of its forms.

Author Biography

Rhian Atkin, Cardiff University

Rhian Atkin is Lecturer in Portuguese at Cardiff U. Her research focuses on gender and corporeality in Portuguese literature and culture. Her most recent book is Lisbon Revisited: Urban Masculinities in Twentieth-Century Portuguese Fiction (2014), and a second article on Jorge de Sena is forthcoming in Romance Studies. She is currently working on "Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations."