Journal of Romance Studies

Shameful things in the city: Writing and re-righting colonial urban space in José Luandino Vieira’s Luuanda

Journal of Romance Studies (2014), 14, (3), 37–53.

Abstract

As critical opinion has recognized, and his adopted name attests, José Luandino Vieira’s oeuvre is closely bound up with the capital city of Angola. I argue here that in the three estórias that comprise his collection Luuanda of 1963, Vieira engages with the different levels of the city as a colonial palimpsest, where the mass white emigration of the postwar period, the colonial discourse of the Salazar dictatorship and the uneven absorption of Luanda into transnational capitalism had been layered atop the native black and creole population, the experience of a peripheral colonialism and non-exploitative modes of socio-economic interaction. Yet in his counter-discursive depiction of Luanda in what were to prove the final years of Portuguese colonial rule, Vieira also shows how the culture and experience of the impoverished, mainly (though not exclusively) black shanties known as musseques (which surrounded the white ‘asphalt city’) were not just spaces of oppression and displacement but the source of possibilities for challenging Portuguese colonial control and the creation of an independent Angola with a non-hierarchized syncretic national culture.

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Bender, Gerald (2004). Angola Under the Portuguese (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press). Angola Under the Portuguese Google Scholar

Burgess, Ernest (1998) ‘The growth of the city: an introduction to a research project’, in The City Reader, eds. Richard LeGates and Frederick Stout (London: Routledge), 161–170. The growth of the city: an introduction to a research project The City Reader 161 170 Google Scholar

Calafate Ribeiro, Margarida (2006) ‘E Agora José, Luandino Vieira? An interview with José Luandino Vieira’, Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies 15/16, 27–35. E Agora José, Luandino Vieira? An interview with José Luandino Vieira Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies 15/16 27 35 Google Scholar

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Donald, James (1999) Imagining the Modern City (London: The Athlone Press). Imagining the Modern City Google Scholar

Fanon, Frantz (1975) Peau noire, masques blancs (Paris: Editions du Seuil). Peau noire, masques blancs Google Scholar

Fanon, Frantz (1996) Les Damnés de la terre (Paris: Editions La Découverte). Les Damnés de la terre Google Scholar

Ferreira, Manuel (1978) ‘A Libertação do Espaço Agredido Através da Linguagem’, in José Luandino Vieira, A Cidade e a Infância (Lisbon: Edições 70), 9–47. A Libertação do Espaço Agredido Através da Linguagem A Cidade e a Infância 9 47 Google Scholar

Freund, Bill (2008) The African City: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). The African City: A History Google Scholar

Freyre, Gilberto (1961) O Luso e o Trópico: Sugestões em Torno dos Métodos Portugueses de Integração de Povos Autóctones e de Culturas Diferentes da Europeia Num Complexo Novo de Civilização: O Luso-Tropical (Lisbon: Comissão Executiva das Comemorações do V Centenário da Morte do Infante D. Henrique). O Luso e o Trópico: Sugestões em Torno dos Métodos Portugueses de Integração de Povos Autóctones e de Culturas Diferentes da Europeia Num Complexo Novo de Civilização: O Luso-Tropical Google Scholar

Froment, Cécile (2006) ‘A walk through the city: stories and histories of Luanda 1575-1975’, Ellipsis 4, 49–77. A walk through the city: stories and histories of Luanda 1575-1975 Ellipsis 4 49 77 Google Scholar

Fuss, Diana (2000) ‘Interior colonies: Frantz Fanon and the politics of identification’, in Postcolonialism: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies Vol.III, ed. Diana Brydon (London: Routledge), 1103–1131. Interior colonies: Frantz Fanon and the politics of identification Postcolonialism: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies Vol.III 1103 1131 Google Scholar

Henderson, Lawrence W. (1979) Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict Google Scholar

Huyssen, Andreas (2003) Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press). Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory Google Scholar

Lefebvre, Henri (1986) La Production de l’espace (Paris: Antropos). La Production de l’espace Google Scholar

Loomba, Ania (2005) Colonialism/Postcolonialism (London: Routledge). Colonialism/Postcolonialism Google Scholar

Macedo, Tânia (2008) Luanda, Cidade e Literatura (São Paulo: Editora UNESP). Luanda, Cidade e Literatura Google Scholar

Melas, Natalie (2007) All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison (Stanford: Stanford University Press). All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison Google Scholar

Memmi, Albert (1985) Portrait du colonisé, précedé de portrait du colonisateur (Paris: Gallimard). Portrait du colonisé, précedé de portrait du colonisateur Google Scholar

Messiant, Christine (1989) ‘Luanda (1945-1961): colonisés, societé coloniale et engagement nationaliste’, in ‘Vilas’ et ‘Cidades’: Bourgs et villes en Afrique lusophone, ed. Michael Cahen (Paris: L’Harmattan), 125–199. Luanda (1945-1961): colonisés, societé coloniale et engagement nationaliste ‘Vilas’ et ‘Cidades’: Bourgs et villes en Afrique lusophone 125 199 Google Scholar

O’Connor, Anthony (1983) The African City (London: Hutchinson and Co). The African City Google Scholar

Pires Laranjeira, José Luís (1995) Literaturas Portuguesas de Expressão Portuguesa (Lisbon: Universidade Aberta). Literaturas Portuguesas de Expressão Portuguesa Google Scholar

Raban, Jonathan (2008) Soft City (London: Pan Macmillan). Soft City Google Scholar

Santilli, Maria Aparecida (1985) Africanidade (SP: Editora Ática). Africanidade Google Scholar

Smyth, Gerry and Jo Croft (2006) ‘Culture and domestic space’, in Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi), 11–26. Culture and domestic space Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture 11 26 Google Scholar

Sorensen, Eli Park (2010) Postcolonial Studies and the Literary (London: Palgrave Macmillan). Postcolonial Studies and the Literary Google Scholar

Sousa Santos, Boaventura de (2002) ‘Between Prospero and Caliban: colonialism, postcolonialism, and inter-identity’. Luso-Brazilian Review 39(2), 9–43. Between Prospero and Caliban: colonialism, postcolonialism, and inter-identity Luso-Brazilian Review 39 9 43 Google Scholar

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2000) ‘Foreword: upon reading the Companion to Postcolonial Studies’, in A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, eds Henry Schwarz and Sangeeta Ray (London: Blackwell), xv–xxii. Foreword: upon reading the Companion to Postcolonial Studies Companion to Postcolonial Studies xv xxii Google Scholar

Tiffin, Chris and Lawson, Alan (1994) ‘Reading difference’, in De-scribing Empire: Postcolonialism and Textuality, eds Chris Tiffin and Alan Lawson (London: Routledge), 230–235. Reading difference De-scribing Empire: Postcolonialism and Textuality 230 235 Google Scholar

Tonkiss, Fran (2005) Space, the City and Spatial Theory: Social Relations and Urban Forms (Cambridge: Polity Press). Space, the City and Spatial Theory: Social Relations and Urban Forms Google Scholar

Torres, Adelino (1989) ‘Le processus d’urbanisation de l’Angola pendant la periode coloniale (années 1940-1970)’, in ‘Vilas’ et ‘Cidades’: Bourgs et villes en Afrique Lusophone, ed. Michael Cahen (Paris: L’Harmattan), 98–117. Le processus d’urbanisation de l’Angola pendant la periode coloniale (années 1940-1970) ‘Vilas’ et ‘Cidades’: Bourgs et villes en Afrique Lusophone 98 117 Google Scholar

Trigo, Salvato (1981) Luandino Vieira, o Logoteta (Oporto: Brasília Editora). Luandino Vieira, o Logoteta Google Scholar

Vale de Almeida, Miguel (2004) An Earth-Coloured Sea: ‘Race’, Culture and Politics of Identity in the Post-Colonial Portuguese-Speaking World (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books). An Earth-Coloured Sea: ‘Race’, Culture and Politics of Identity in the Post-Colonial Portuguese-Speaking World Google Scholar

Van Baak, J.J. (1983) The Place of Space in Narration (Amsterdam: Rodopi). The Place of Space in Narration Google Scholar

Vieira, José Luandino (1972) Luuanda (Lisbon: Edições 70). Luuanda Google Scholar

Vieira, José Luandino (1978) A Cidade e a Infância (Lisbon: Edições 70). A Cidade e a Infância Google Scholar

Vieira, José Luandino (1980) Luuanda, trans. Tamara Bender (London: Heinneman). Luuanda Google Scholar

Westphal, Bertrand (2011) Geocriticism: Real and Fictional Spaces (London: Palgrave-Macmillan). Geocriticism: Real and Fictional Spaces Google Scholar

Wheeler, Douglas and René Pélissier (1971) Angola (London: Pall Mall Press). Angola Google Scholar

Williams, Raymond (1991) Writing in Society (London: Verso). Writing in Society Google Scholar

Wirth-Nesher, Hana (1996) City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel Google Scholar

Young, Robert (2001) Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (London: Blackwell). Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction Google Scholar

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e Castro, Paul Melo