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Intimate FrontiersA Literary Geography of the Amazon$
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Felipe Martínez-Pinzón and Javier Uriarte

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941831

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941831.001.0001

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Nostalgia and Mourning in Milton Hatoum’s Órfãos do Eldorado

Nostalgia and Mourning in Milton Hatoum’s Órfãos do Eldorado

(p.248) Nostalgia and Mourning in Milton Hatoum’s Órfãos do Eldorado
Intimate Frontiers

Charlotte Rogers

Liverpool University Press

This essay explores the long-term implications of sexualized representations of El Dorado. Rogers discusses how Brazilian novelist Milton Hatoum’s Órfãos do Eldorado (Orphans of Eldorado, 2008) contrasts the colonial European depiction of Amazonia as a virgin land of promise with the present exploitation of the region. Her article shows how Hatoum uses the deflowering of Amazonian women as a metaphor for the destruction of an ostensibly virgin territory. The novelist, Rogers argues, employs an ironic nostalgia for the promises of El Dorado as an aesthetic stance in order to debunk the myth of Amazonia as an untouched site of riches. The novel, thus, re-inscribes the search for the utopian city of gold into contemporary literature by displacing the concept of an untapped wilderness of riches onto the virginal bodies of Amazonian women. Hatoum uses the ravaged indigenous female as a metaphor for the increasing urbanization and commodification of the wilderness. Yet rather than exhibiting an uncomplicated nostalgia for a previous historical time, Rogers argues, Orphans of Eldorado conveys a nostalgia for what is now known to be an illusion.

Keywords:   Órfãos do Eldorado (Orphans of Eldorado, 2008), Milton Hatoum (1952), Ironic nostalgia, Sexualized representations of Eldorado, Utopia

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