Masculinidade em questão: lei, corpo e desejo em "Dão-lalão"

  • Luiz Fernando Valente Brown University
Keywords: Body, desire, eroticism, law, patriarchy, João Guimarães Rosa


In the present essay, I examine eroticism in "Dão-lalão," by Brazilian fictionist João Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967). Calling into question Benedito Nunes’s argument that the dialectics of love in Guimarães Rosa's oeuvre points to a sense of harmony and totality, I view the erotic element in Guimarães Rosa’s work as a form of transgression. Focusing on the body in “Dão-lalão,” I revisit Guimarães Rosa’s skepticism regarding reason as the primary vehicle for understanding reality. Whereas Nunes relies on Plato, the Neoplatonists, and the mystic traditions of hermeticism and alchemy, I turn to the philosophy of Georges Bataille (1897-1962). Finally, I propose that in addition to asking probing questions about eroticism as an expression of what Bataille called non-savoir, "Dão-lalão" invites its readers to reconsider race and gender relations within a Brazilian cultural and historical context.

Author Biography

Luiz Fernando Valente, Brown University

Luiz Fernando Valente is Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Comparative Literature at Brown University. His publications include Mundivivências: leituras comparativas de Guimarães RosaHistória e ficção: convergências e contrastes, as well as more than eighty journal articles, book chapters, and reference work entries on Brazilian literature and intellectual history, and in comparative literature.