O Braco De Prata and the Hand of Tyranny in Ana Miranda's Boca Do Inferno.
Romance Notes, 2005, Fall, 46, 1
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DETACHED, "ownerless" arms and hands, "stretching from the sky" were a common visual motif of the sixteenth and seventeenth century emblematic books of Western European nobility. These icons of disembodied arms, usually grasping swords, were designed to be symbols of aristocratic power. When accompanied by the inscription "Non sine causa" ("Not without cause") the emblems signified the just, divinely ordained authority duly residing in a noble lineage. Manual mutilation and synthetic limbs clearly had no place in this symbolic representation of a secure, heavenly sanctioned social order; hence Renaissance and Baroque illustrators took pains to avoid the semantic interpretation "cut off " by having the emblematic arms and hands appear from a cloud (Scholz 264). Ana Miranda's historical novel, Boca do inferno (1989) figuratively removes these emblematic clouds. Miranda's narrative presents the mutilated arm and its artificial replacement as a testimony to a clear nexus between the soi-disant "divine right" of aristocratic rule and the imposition of violence. Endowing a particular feature of the human anatomy with "qualities of intention and subjectivity" or "subjecting" a body part produces a fragmented view of the human anatomy, which in turn points to "conditions of bodily, social, and syntactic dislocation" (Hillman, Mazzio xix). By focusing on Luso-Brazilian colonial Governor Antonio de Sousa de Menezes's severed arm and metallic prosthesis, Boca do inferno portrays a sense of disintegration and estrangement that applies both to the late seventeenth century colonial Brazilian Body Politic as well as to O Braco de Prata's own fragmented sense of self.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: 22 September 2005
- Publisher: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Romance Languages
- Print Length: 11 Pages
- Language: English