Cristina Peri Rossi
Considered a leading light of the post-1960s period of prominence of the Latin-American novel, she has written more than 37 works. She was born in Montevideo, Uruguay but was exiled in 1972, and moved to Spain, where she became a citizen in 1975. As of 2005[update] she lives in Barcelona, where she continues to write fiction and work as a journalist. She studied at the University of the Republic.
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La nave de los locos (The Ship of Fools) (1984) is generally regarded by critics as Peri Rossi's most important work. It is an experimental novel which takes the form of a pastiche of travel writing. The protagonist, Equis, is a misfit who travels to a number of deliberately vague locations. By inviting the reader to see modern society through the eyes of Equis, Peri Rossi is using the technique of defamiliarisation to produce a biting satire of today's world. This includes a strong dose of feminism: Equis eventually renounces his own sexuality, declaring that there is "harmony in impotence," which can be read as a denouncement of patriarchial and phallogocentric society. More generally, the work shows toleration and arguably even idealisation of sexualities that have been traditionally considered dissident, including gerontophilia and controversially, in the character Morris' love for a ten-year-old boy, pedophilia. The novel exposes the dangers of arbitrary dictatorial government in its inclusion an emotional depiction of a concentration camp in a country which remains unspecified, but which could be based on any of the various Latin American dictatorships of the latter half of the twentieth century. The title of the book is taken from the Ship of Fools legend, which is reworked by Peri Rossi in the novel itself. The novel shows sympathy for those condemned to the ship of fools and there is a clear parallel between this medieval episode and the modern-day aforementioned concentration camp passage.
The themes established in La nave de los locos are ones which Rossi revisits in other works. Her latest novels include Solitario de amor (Solitaire of Love) (1989), La última noche de Dostoievski (Dostoyevsky's Last Night) (1992) and El amor es una droga dura (Love is a hard drug) (1999). All of these novels are formally less experimental than Nave. They deal with male protagonists who, like Equis, gradually explore their sexualities, discovering that they have to renounce traditional gender roles both in sexual behaviour and in the real world to find fulfilment. However, there is little political commentary in these novels.
Peri Rossi has also produced an impressive amount of poetry, again covering many of the ideas outlined above. The lesbian eroticism of Evohé (1971) caused a scandal when first released.
In 2004, Peri Rossi published Por fin solos, a collection of short stories where love is a result of eroticism and frustration. The lovers, whatever their condition or sex, seek a reason in the beloved so that they may feel saved, as is the case in "Náufragos". Peri Rossi also uses (determinedly) symbols that link with the deterioration of heterosexual relationships, such as the bottle of lye, the scarf, and flowers, among others.
Cristina Peri Rossi is active as a journalist and political commentator in Barcelona. She is a radio journalist for the public Catalan station Catalunya Radio. She was sacked from this position in October 2007 and accused the station of 'linguistic persecution', claiming she was sacked for speaking Spanish instead of Catalan. She was later re-instated to her post after an outcry.
She is well known for her defense of civil liberties and freedom of expression. She has long supported gay marriage and welcomed Spain's decision to recognize it.
In an El Mundo article in March 2006, she spoke out against the rise of religious extremism in Europe, and specifically the violence that followed the 'Danish Cartoons Affair'. In the article she expresses her support to the 'Together Facing the New Totalitarianism' Manifesto, which was published in the left-leaning French weekly Charlie Hebdo in March 2006.
Peri Rossi maintains a website at http://www.cristinaperirossi.es/
Complete list of published works
- Viviendo (1963)
- Los museos abandonados (1968)
- El libro de mis primos (1969)
- Indicios pánicos (1970)
- Evohé (1971)
- Descripción de un naufragio
- Diáspora (1976)
- La tarde del dinosaurio (1976)
- Lingüística general (1979)
- La rebelión de los niños (1980)
- El museo de los esfuerzos inútiles (1983)
- La nave de los locos (1984)
- Una pasión prohibida (1986)
- Europa después de la lluvia (1987)
- Solitario de amor (1988)
- Cosmoagonías (1988)
- Fantasías eróticas (1990
- Acerca de la escritura (1991).
- Babel bárbara (1991),
- La última noche de Dostoievski (1992)
- La ciudad de Luzbel y otros relatos (1992)
- Otra vez Eros (1994)
- Aquella noche (1996)
- Inmovilidad de los barcos (1997)
- Desastres íntimos (1997)
- Poemas de amor y desamor (1998)
- Las musas inquietantes (1999)
- El amor es una droga dura (1999)
- Estado de exilio (2003)
- Por fin solos (2004)
- Estrategías del deseo (2004)
- State of Exile (2008)
- Peri Rossi acusa Catalunya Ràdio de persecución lingüística · Actualidad · Diario Ibérico · La otra visión de España
- "Contra el totalitarismo islámico", Cristina Peri Rossi, 14 March 2006: http://www.almendron.com/tribuna/?p=2629
"Panic Signs," a collection of short stories by Cristina Peri Rossi in English translation by Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts and Angelo Augusto Borrás, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Toronto, 2002.
These are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women," editor Majorie Agosin, White Pine Press, New York, 1998. (English translations of poetry by Cristina Peri Rossi, Gabriela Mistral, and Giannina Braschi).
The Best of Review: Celebrating the Americas Society's 40th Anniversary,editors Tess O'Dwyer and Doris Sommer, Routledge, Francis & Taylor, London, 2005. (English translation excerpts of Latin American literary classics by Cristina Peri Rossi and her contemporaries Luisa Valenzuela, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Derek Walcott, and Giannina Braschi).
"A Forbidden Passion," stories by Cristina Peri Rossi in English translation by Mary J. Treacy, Cleis Press, 1993.
"Solitaire of Love," stories by Cristina Peri Rossi in English translation by Robert S. Rudder and Gloria Arjona, Duke University Press, 2000.
"Afternoon of the Dinosaur," stories by Cristina Peri Rossi in English translation by Robert S. Rudder and Gloria Arjona, ebook, RSR Pub., Amazon.com, 2012.