Dr. Luís Madureira received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California-San Diego and is currently Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published several articles on Portuguese, Latin American and African literatures and is the author of Cannibal Modernities: Postcoloniality and the Avant-garde in Caribbean and Brazilian Literature (University of Virginia Press, 2005), a re-examination of the Brazilian and Caribbean avant-gardes from a postcolonial perspective.2007 0-7734-5483-7
This study interrogates a series of utopian projections that have informed Portuguese and Luso-African letters and culture since the Renaissance. Concentrating on the three crucial historical moments – Portugal’s tenuous hegemony in the Asian seas in the sixteenth century, the collapse of its colonial empire in the mid-1970s, and the post-independence period of re-evaluating nationalisms in Africa – the study examines the familiar “long narrative” which casts the Portuguese Discoveries as an inaugural and enabling event in Europe’s conquest of the world. In the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century texts, a sense of belatedness and danger in the face of a vast commercial network which preceded by several centuries Portugal’s arrival in Asia undercuts this account. The narratives about Portugal’s colonial wars in Africa negate the Salazarist project to restore the mythologized age of discoveries and seek simultaneously to converge with anti-colonial guerrilla movements. The work of António Lobo Antunes eschews this trend, insisting instead upon the incommensurability between the liberation struggles and Portugal’s April Revolution. Concomitantly, recent Lusophone African literature pictures the struggle of liberation as a cancellation of historicity, and underscores the “differend” between official constructions of nationhood and the future imagined from below.