Narrating the Animal

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The literary portrayal of the animal has changed in the course of time, so as to represent the human anxieties prevalent in each historical moment. Over the last decades of the 20th century, and particularly in the first decade of the 21st, the relationship between the human and the non-human has undergone a profound transformation which has inevitably been reflected in the field of literary creation. The fictional representation of the animal and the ties connecting humanity and animality take on new shapes and complexities, and the animal metaphor has easily adapted to contemporary contexts. In this paper, we seek to reflect on the ways some Portuguese contemporary authors have dealt, through fictional intermediation, with these new forms of interaction with animality, such as becominganimal, metamorphosis, or the inquiry and disclosure of man's animal spirit. We will illustrate our reflections with the discussion of Maria Velho da Costa's novel Myra (2008), a short story by A. M. Pires Cabral ("O porco de Erimanto ou os perigos da especializacao", published in 2010), and Goncalo M. Tavares's perplexing work entitled animalescos (2013).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-156
Number of pages15
JournalRevista Olho d’água
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Bestiality
  • Becoming-animal
  • Human
  • Metamorphosis


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