He was born into a family of the high-middle class (of English origin by the paternal grandmother). When he was one year old the family moved to Alentejo, and he spent there his childhood and adolescence until the family decided to send him to study art at the Antonio Arroyo School in Lisbon.
In 1967 he enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture et des Arts Visuels (La Cambre) in Brussels, Belgium.-
After completing the course, he decided to abandon painting in 1971 and devoting himself entirely to writing. He returned to Portugal in 1974 and there he wrote the first book entirely in Portuguese, À Procura do Vento num Jardim d'Agosto.
O Medo, an anthology of his work from 1974 to 1986, was first published in 1987. This has become the most important collection of his work and his final artistic testament, being added in subsequent editions new writings by the author, even after his death. At the moment of his death he left incomplete the text for an opera, for a photography book on Portugal and a "fake autobiography," as the author himself said.
He died of lymphoma on June 13, 1997.
Poet Al Berto (the pseudonym of Alberto Raposo Pidwell Tavares) is a foundational figure in the emergence of a "queer" literature in Portugal. Al Berto's poetic work is a product of a "literary series" in which a gay male subjectivity has traditionally appeared as a marginalized and invisible figure in its difference vis-a-vis mainstream culture. However, the notion of "queer" implies not only a marginalized gay subjectivity, but also a way of being in the world, which, by virtue ot its difference, is capable of adopting a critical stance in relationship to mainstream culture. Thus, my appropriation of the term "queer" will have political implications for the analysis of Portuguese literature, where canonical criticism has completely ignored the subject of homosexuality. --Al Berto, In Memoriam, Mario Cesar Lugarinho in LusosexFurther Readings:
Lusosex: Gender And Sexuality In The Portuguese-Speaking World by Susan Canty Quinlan
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (November 22, 2002)
Amazon: Lusosex: Gender And Sexuality In The Portuguese-Speaking World
Some of the most compelling theoretical debates in the humanities today center on representations of sexuality. This volume is the first to focus on the topic-in particular, the connections between nationhood, sex, and gender-in the Lusophone, or Portuguese-speaking, world. Written by prominent scholars in Brazilian, Portuguese, and Lusophone African literary and cultural studies, the essays range across multiple discourses and cultural expressions, historical periods and theoretical approaches to offer a uniquely comprehensive perspective on the issues of sex and sexuality in the literature and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world that extends from Portugal to Brazil to Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique.
Through the critical lenses of gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, feminist theory, and postmodern theory, the authors consider the work of such influential literary figures as Clarice Lispector and Silviano Santiago. An important aspect of the volume is the publication of a newly discovered-and explicitly homoerotic-poem by Fernando Pessoa, published here for the first time in the original Portuguese and in English translation. Chapters take up questions of queer performativity and activism, female subjectivity and erotic desire, the sexual customs of indigenous versus European Brazilians, and the impact of popular music (as represented by Caetano Veloso and others) on interpretations of gender and sexuality. Challenging static notions of sexualities within the Portuguese-speaking world, these essays expand our understanding of the multiplicity of differences and marginalized subjectivities that fall under the intersections of sexuality, gender, and race.
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