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The Flame-Coloured Dress and other stories
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Imprint: Aspects of Portugal
Publisher: Carcanet Press
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Nov 2023)
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This collection of stories, José Régio's controversial masterpiece Histórias de Mulheres, is here translated for the first time into English. Régio creates a gallery of women - women who are outsiders, born into a society in which they are constrained by class, education, money and social expectations.
Dulce is the pawn of feckless guardians. Miss Olímpia is trapped by poverty and her own pretensions. Rosa, for her part, refuses to conform to the stereotype of saccharine femininity, with serious consequences for herself and for her world. Some of the women cope, others go under. A few, in unexpected ways, triumph. Régio gets extremely close to his subjects, evincing a rare 'negative capability' and, in creating their worlds, effaces his own which is, after all, the very world that has confined them.
Régio, one of the outstanding Portuguese writers of the twentieth century, combines psychological subtlety and social satire. Like that great Portuguese ironist of the century before, Eça de Queirós, Régio evokes the prison-house that society is for men and women alike, and in doing so rattles the bars on the cage. If his narratives were taken to heart, radical change might ensue.
Margaret Jull Costa was a joint-winner of the Portuguese Translation Prize in 1992 for her version of Pessoa's The Book of Disquietude, and with Javier Marias won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for A Heart So White in 1997.
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