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Intersecting Diaspora Boundaries

Portuguese Contexts


Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott

This collection of essays provides both critical and interdisciplinary means for thinking across diasporic travels within the Portuguese experience and its intersection with other peoples and cultures. The chapters are organized into four sections and offer rich, diverse, and insightful studies that provide a conceptualization of the Portuguese diaspora with special attention to the importance of cross-cultural interferences and influences. Within this framework, and from a variety of perspectives, some of the chapters depict identity-formation paths among Portuguese Jews and Luso-Indians in Australia, as well as the historical, cultural, and literary interplay among Portuguese and other diasporas in Goa, the West Indies, and Brazil. Other chapters analyze Portuguese-American literature and poetry, whereby the intersection of memory, dual identity, and place are meticulously explored. The last section of the book addresses Portuguese writers and poets who lived through (in)voluntary exile or were dislocated to Europe and Asia, and how their diasporic conditions interface with their textualized narratives. Place and memory as means of reconstructing a fragmented existence, in the writings of exiled writers, are also explored. The volume closes with a chapter on Portuguese illegal migration to France. The studies herein open new lines of inquiry into diaspora studies.
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Chapter Fourteen: Crossing Worlds: Echoes of Exile in the Narratives of Maria Ondina Braga


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Crossing Worlds

Echoes of Exile in the Narratives of Maria Ondina Braga



Maria Ondina Braga’s life is marked by continuous crossings of worlds, cultures, and languages. These experiences along with the perfectionist demands she makes of herself, become rooted and reflected in her literary works. Born in Braga in January 1932, where she also died (March 2003), this writer travelled to various countries, living in England, France, India (Goa), Angola, Macau, and China. Her travels and experiences in various corners of the world are transposed into her narratives, imbedding in them the marks of exile—both external and internal.

Drawing on the short stories, “A China Fica ao Lado,” “A Morta,” and the novel, Nocturno em Macau, and taking into consideration particularly the author’s experiences in Macau and China, this chapter analyses the manner in which Maria Ondina Braga represents “exile” in a foreign and exotic space. In other words, in this chapter we attempt to understand the mechanisms through which the author constructs exile, and the act of migration, as a decentring of the self that eventually gives rise to a process of identity reconstruction in the midst of alterity. In this context, we shall draw on imagology1 to analyse literary representations of the “Other.” As Pageaux explains, anchored in an intercultural perspective, this method questions “les modalités selon lesquels une societé se voit, se pense en...

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