Journal of Romance Studies

Italian effigies in ethical light: synecdoche and representation in Cecília Meireles’s mature poems (1945–56)

Journal of Romance Studies (2007), 7, (2), 53–74.

Abstract

Cecília Meireles’s Poemas italianos (1953–6; 1968) use the familiar sites of Italy to discuss the treatment of those who have suffered from the tragedies of history, particularly in reference to the Second World War. Meireles demonstrates, in an often sombre tone, how difficult it is to write poetry within a historical framework. Her Italian poems, which also have connections with her famous social poem, Romanceiro da inconfidência, present the complex process of incorporating the ethics of responsibility. In particular, this article theorizes her mature poetics alongside Emmanuel Lévinas’s philosophical understanding of the Other and shows how Meireles allows the absolute difference of the Other to exist.

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Peña, Karen