Santiago, Silviano 1936-

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SANTIAGO, Silviano 1936-


Born September 29, 1936, in Formiga, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Education: University of Minas Gerais, B.A., 1959; University of Rio Janeiro, Diploma of advanced study, 1961; Sorbonne, D.Univ., 1968.


Home—Brazil. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Duke University Press, P.O. Box 90660, Durham, NC 27708-0660.


Poet, novelist, and literary critic. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, lecturer; Rutgers University, Brunswick, NJ, lecturer; State University of New York—Buffalo, associate professor of French literature; Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil, professor of Brazilian literature. Visiting professor at Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, and University of Texas.


(With Ivan Angelo) Duas faces, Editôra Itatiaia, 1961.

Brasil prosa e poesia: Antologia, Las Americas (New York, NY), 1969.

O Banquete, Editôra Saga (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1970.

Salto (poems), São Sebastião do Paraiso (Brazil), 1970.

Barroco, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), 1971.

Latin American Literature: The Space in between, Council on International Studies, State University of New York-Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), 1973.

O Olhar, Edições Tendência (Brazil), 1974.

(Author of commentary) Iracema, José Martiniano de Alencar, Livraria F. Alves Editôra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1975.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade (criticism), Editôra Vozes (Petrópolis, Brazil), 1976.

Glossário de Derrida, Livraria F. Alves Editôra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1976.

A Bagaceira, Universidade Federal do Paraná (Curitiba, Brazil), 1976.

Crescendo durante a Guerra Numa Província Ultra-marina, Livraria F. Alves Editôra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1978.

Uma literature nos Trópicos: ensaios sobre dependência cultural, Editôra Perspectiva (São Paulo, Brazil), 1978.

Em liberdade (fiction), Paz e Terra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1981.

Vale quanto pesa: ensaios sobre questões politicoculturais, Paz e Terra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1982.

Stella Manhattan (novel), Editôra Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985, translation by George Yudice, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1994.

(Translator) Jacques Prévert, Poemas, Editôra Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1986.

Nas malhas da letra: ensaios (essays), Companhia das Letras (São Paulo, Brazil), 1989.

História de um livro, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1989.

(With Oswald de Andrade and Mário da Silva Brito) Ponta de lança, Editôra Globo (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 1991.

Leitura e Iitensidades discursivas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1991.

(With Tania Barros Maciel) O Ambiente inteiro: a contribuição crítica da universidade à questão ambiental, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1992.

Uma história de família (fiction), Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1992.

(With Edilberto Coutinho) Amor na boca do Túnel: antologia (fiction), Tempo Brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1992.

Cheiro forte, Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1995.

Viagem ao México, Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1995.

Keith Jarrett No Blue Note: improvisos de jazz, Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1996.

(With Eneida Maria de Souza and Wander Melo Miranda) Navegar é preciso, viver: escritos para Silviano Santiago, Editôra UFMG (Brazil), 1997.

Silviano Santiago: depoimento em 11/09/95, Fundacao Memorial da América Latina (São Paulo, Brazil), 1997.

Worldly Appeal: Local and Global Politics in the Shaping of Modern Brazilian Culture, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1997.

De cócoras (fiction), Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1999.

(With Wander Melo Miranda) Narrativas da modern-idade, Autêntica (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), 1999.

(With Else Ribeiro Pires Vieira and Macdonald Daly) Silviano Santiago in Conversation (interviews), Zoilus Press (London, England), 1999.

Intérpretes do Brasil, Editôra Nova Aguilar (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 2000.

The Space In-between: Essays on Latin-American Culture, edited by Ana Lúcia Gazzola, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2001.

Also contributor, with others, to Alexandre Eulálio, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1989.


Silviano Santiago taught for several years at universities in the United States, including University of New Mexico, State University of New York at Buffalo, and University of Texas. He is a professor of Brazilian literature at the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niterói, Brazil. Best known to North American readers for Stella Manhattan, a novel, Santiago has produced a diverse body of work that includes poetry, fiction, criticism, and essays. He is considered to be one of the most important Brazilian authorities on French literature and criticism.

As critic Idelber Avelar explained in a Modern Fiction Studies article, Santiago rejected the prevalent Brazilian literary styles of the 1980s, which were based on modernism, and challenged the conventions of modernism by re-evaluating the canon of respected authors. He argued that the use of popular literary forms, hitherto dismissed by modernist critics, was a useful stylistic response to the threats contemporary writers face from the mass media. Santiago introduced post-structural theory to Brazil and made seminal contributions to postcolonial theory.

Santiago illustrates his critical ideas in his book Em liberdade, which he describes as an essay-novel. The book is structured as a fictional continuation of Graciliano Ramos's acclaimed work, Memorias do carcere, which purports to be Ramos's account of his imprisonment by the regime of Getulio Vargas in 1936. Santiago presents himself as the editor of Ramos's unpublished manuscript, and provides commentary and notes that pose questions regarding literature's use of the past. As Adolfo Marin-Minguillon put it in a Latin American Literary Review article, Em liberdade "questions cultural codes," whereas other postmodern Brazilian novels "pursue the exploitation of those codes."

Stella Manhattan, which Amerícas contributor Barbara Mujica described as "a riveting thriller," established Santiago's fame in the United States. The novel presents the story of a gay transvestite from Brazil whose father, through his old friend Colonel Valdevinos Vianna, gets him a job in the Brazilian consulate in New York City. Eduardo/Stella develops a strong bond with Vianna, who appears to be a respectable and charming married man. Vianna, however, has military links to the Brazilian junta and is a known torturer. He also enjoys a secret life within New York's sadomasochistic club scene. When a Brazilian communist group recruits Eduardo to help them trap Vianna, the dangers intensify, and Eduardo eventually finds himself suspected by both the FBI and Vianna.

Mujica praised the novel for its depiction of Eduardo's dual existence and for its "sense of New York's vibrant, chaotic Brazilian community in the sixties." Booklist reviewer Whitney Scott admired the book's unlikely combination of tragedy and farce, describing the novel as a "tumultuous circus of the surreal." In Lambda Book Report, however, Jaime Manrique faulted Stella Manhattan for "its inability to establish any kind of believable context and texture for the historical time it depicts." Suggesting that "Santiago is not at his best when writing political satire," Manrique complained that the book lacks narrative coherence and convincing characterizations. Observer contributor Adria Frizzi, on the other hand, commended the novel as a book "that transcends the 'gay novel' label as well as the purely literary to enter the larger realm of culture."

The novel Uma história de família examines the dynamics of a dysfunctional family. The story centers on Uncle Mario, a hapless black sheep who, according to Malcolm Silverman in World Literature Today, serves as the "allegorical personification of general misfortune" that surrounds the clan. Santiago uses a "low-keyed" approach in this novel, Silverman wrote, and combines autobiographical elements with bits of memoir, essays, and "suspenseful suggestions of the surreal." Santiago creates a world lacking in love and characterized by a "prevailing sadomasochistic and deterministic milieu," observed Silverman, who commended Uma história de família as a "disturbing and convincing account of the complexities of human interrelationships."

The Space In-Between: Essays on Latin American Culture includes pieces written over a thirty-year period, and presents the first English translation of some of Santiago's most important essays on critical theory. These explore such notions as original and copy, dominant and dominated cultures, and cultural dependency. Kenneth Maxwell in Foreign Affairs admired Santiago's insights regarding the "complex play between traditional theories of national cultural identities" and the new cultural dynamics that are emerging as a result of globalization.



Amerícas, July-August, 1996, Barbara Mujica, review of Stella Manhattan, p. 60.

Booklist, November 1, 1994, Whitney Scott, review of Stella Manhattan, p. 479.

Foreign Affairs, November-December, 2002, Kenneth Maxwell, review of The Space In-Between: Essays on Latin American Culture.

Lambda Book Report, March-April, 1995, Jaime Manrique, review of Stella Manhattan, p. 20.

Latin American Literary Review, January-June, 1990, Adolfo Marin-Minguillon, review of Em liberdade, pp. 18-31.

Library Journal, December, 1994, Brian Kenny, review of Stella Manhattan, p. 134.

Modern Fiction Studies, spring, 1998, Idelber Avelar, review of Em liberdade, pp. 184-214.

Observer, May 28, 1995, Adria Frizzi, review of Stella Manhattan, pp. 203-04.

World Literature Today, winter, 1980, W. Martins, review of Uma literature nos trópicos: ensaios sobre dependência cultural, p. 89; spring, 1993, Malcolm Silverman, review of Uma história de família, p. 346.*

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Santiago, Silviano 1936-

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