Writing the Nation: Re-thinking the Masculinist Project in Eça de Queirós’s Ilustre casa de Ramires

  • Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez University of Wisconsin-Madison
Keywords: Historiography, novel, Portugal, l’écriture féminine, Hélène Cixous


This article examines José Maria de Eça de Queirós’s novel A ilustre casa de Ramires (1900) through a focus on the writing process of the main protagonist, Gonçalo Mendes Ramires, who attempts to produce a historical novella of his ancestry. Drawing on Hélène Cixous’s concept of écriture féminine and the visceral experience of writing through the body, I analyze the protagonist’s quest for political advancement and social acceptance. If Ramires yearns for enhanced virility in male-dominated political and literary circles, Eça’s ironic textual subtleties, humor, and multifaceted narrative all serve to question established norms of gender, power, and sexuality. In the end, both historiography and political glory emerge as ambivalent phenomena.

Author Biography

Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez is Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interests include Portuguese nineteenth- and twentieth-century narrative and poetry, performance, race and gender studies. Her latest book is Creating Carmen Miranda: Race, Camp and Transnational Stardom (Vanderbilt UP, 2016). She is currently preparing a monograph on the work of Eça de Queirós.