Paula Rego's Map of Memory : National and Sexual Politics book cover
1st Edition

Paula Rego's Map of Memory
National and Sexual Politics

ISBN 9781315193762
Published October 23, 2017 by Routledge
252 Pages

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Book Description

This title was first published in 2003. The artist Paula Rego was born in Portugal but has lived in Britain since 1951. In this well-illustrated book, Maria Manuel Lisboa explores the background behind Rego's decision to leave the land of her birth and, in doing so, provides fascinating insights into Rego's persistent portrayal of uneasy and predatory relations between men and women. Looking back over the national, religious and sexual politics of Portugal during Rego's childhood under the shadow of the Salazar dictatorship and subsequently, Lisboa locates the origins of the artist's preoccupation with power and powerlessness, violence and abuse within the political and ideological status quo of Portugal, past and present. The author's  clear and thoughtful analysis offers an ambitious contribution to the study of patriarchy, Catholicism and Fascism and their expression in the work of this artist.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: A patriot for me; Past history and deaths foretold: nation, self and other from the 1960s to the 1980s; (He)art history or a death in the family: the late 1980s; The sins of the fathers: mother and land revisited in the 1990s; An interesting condition: the abortion pastels; Conclusion: Artist and model: let me count the ways I love you; Bibliography; Indexes.

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Maria Manuel Lisboa is senior lecturer in Portuguese, Brazilian and African Lusophone literature at Cambridge University and is a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. She is the author of two books on Portuguese and Brazilian authors and of articles on themes of gender, nationality and origin in nineteenth and twentieth-century Portuguese and Brazilian literature.


'Lisboa enriches our response to Rego's art by restoring its historical and political context. Rego's play on cruelty and power has been remarked on before, but Lisboa uncovers deeper layers of resonance.' Frances Spalding, TLS 'This valuable addition to the literature on the contemporary Portuguese artist Paula Rego is particularly useful since it places her work in a specifically Portuguese context, one which has not been adequately explored by other studies of her work in English... a vigorous new analysis of this important contemporary artist which should be useful both to scholars of Portuguese culture and society and to those more interested in Rego from a purely painterly perspective.' David Frier, Bulletin of Spanish Studies '... this magnificent guided tour.' The Contemporary Review