Frier, David G. Books

Visions of the Self in the Novels of Camilo Castelo Branco (1850-1870) Reconstructed From His Letters
1996 0-7734-8836-7
This study, the first book on Camilo Branco to appear in English, follows in the tradition of a biographical focus on the novelist's work but reevaluates this line of interpretation through a more rigorous approach than that attempted by previous readings of this kind. Camilo's religious sentiment, his sense of maternal deprivation and his presentation of love (in particular the fictional representation of his relationship with Ana Plácido) - topics frequently discussed by previous critics - are reassessed through an examination of non-fiction sources as well as through the novels themselves. In addition, this study establishes for the first time common features in the novelist's perspectives. A new reading is proposed which places Camilo in the context of an intense solipsistic doubt, which in turn leads to a projection of alternative visions of the self which prefigures Pessoa's project of heteronymy and, in a broader literary context, to a sense of existential anguish similar to that of many 19th- and 20th-century writers in other cultures.