Like a milliner weeding wilted grapes and overripe bananas from Carmen Miranda's fruit-basket hat, Green brushes aside...

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BEYOND CARNIVAL

MALE HOMOSEXUALITY IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRAZIL

Like a milliner weeding wilted grapes and overripe bananas from Carmen Miranda's fruit-basket hat, Green brushes aside outworn cultural assumptions about Brazil's queer life to display its full glory, as well as the troubles which homophobia has sent its way. Exposing both the freedoms and limitations of Carnival for Brazilian queer life, Green (History/California State Univ., Long Branch) shows how the dizzying liberty of the festival scene masks a pervasive cultural rigidity. He argues that social codes, including those which characterize the active sexual partner in a homosexual relationship as the "real man" and the passive one as the "fairy," structure both gay culture and the paragons of "normalcy" who deride it, and unearths the link between homophobia and racism, showing how Brazil's racial politics and defense of the racial norm of whiteness created fantasies of an pure and ideal citizenry which could be maintained only through a rigorous program of social conformity. The historical sweep of Green's analysis—from the parks of Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 20th century to the Brazilian gay rights movement in the 1970s, from the nightlife of Sa— Paolo in the years before WWII to the Miss Brazil beauty pageant—illuminate Brazilian queer life with snapshot clarity. Stories of individuals are linked within a broad historical framework of governmental and social organizations, fleshing out the institutional with the personal. Green's survey climaxes with the queer takeover of Carnival, an occasion on which gay Brazilians first revel in the liberating release of the season and then take advantage of its freedoms for quotidian comforts throughout the year. This latest gem in Chicago's "Worlds of Desire" series offers a shimmering view of queer Brazilian life throughout the 20th century. (24 halftones, 10 line drawings, 6 maps)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 1999

ISBN: ---

Page Count: 390

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999