The (Other) Third Space: The Poetry of Hilda Hilst

  • Caio Yurgel Duke Kunshan University
Keywords: Twentieth-century poetry and history, teleology, theology, queer theory


It can be refreshing not to have to discuss one’s own identity, especially if identity carries with it an idea of nation. This lack of interest in exploring—and placing herself within—national identities is one of Hilda Hilst’s many gifts, one which made her stand out among her (more localized and, at times, self-exoticizing) Latin American peers. Hilst was ambivalent at best toward Brazil. Situating her oeuvre against the backdrop of twentieth-century Brazilian history, this article does not seek simply to explore Hilst’s antiromantic refusal of the local color and of Brazilianness writ large, but to also show, through a close reading of her poetry, how her late work created a radical “third space” (pace Catherine Keller rather than Homi Bhabha) contesting the impositions of a redemptive telos by proposing scatology as an antidote to eschatology: failure and fallibility instead of messianism.