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  • CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture (Purdue University) 13/5

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  • DOI 10.7771/1481-4374.191 Indexada no Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Thomson Reuters ISI), Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (Chadwyck-Healey), Humanities Index (Wilson), Humanities International Complete (EBSCO), MLA e SCOPUS (Elsevier).
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  • «The Ophelia Motif in the Work of Iberian Galician Writers»

    In her article “About the Ophelia Motif in the Work of Iberian Galician Writers” María do Cebreiro Rábade Villar attempts to arrive at an idea of character through a comparative analysis of various artistic versions of William Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Rábade Villar employs Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notions of transversality and devices of analytical enunciation in order to understand the feminine literary character. Rábade Villar’s corpus of the Ophelia motif include Iberian Galician authors’s work such as by Álvaro Cunqueiro, Xohana Torres, Chus Pato, and Marta Dacosta.


    Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze developed the concept of “transversality” in their Rhizome (1976). Based on psychoanalytical praxis, transversality can be substituted for transference as the operating notion in analysis as it transcends vertical approaches (where the principle of hierarchy rules) or horizontal approaches (where the possibility of substitution presents itself). Guattari and Deleuze recognized the analytical potential of literary works with regard to Kafka, Proust, Joyce, Artaud, and Beckett as being more decisive to a cartography of subjectivity than the works of Freud, Jung, or Lacan. In Deleuze and Guattari’s Mille plateaux. Capitalisme et schizophronie, transversality is conceived to uncover the mechanism of analytic enunciations. I postulate that this presents itself as an ideal concept for a comparative study of character, in particular for the analysis of the feminine character, in this case that of Shakespeare’s Ophelia. I employ the notion of tranversality in at least two senses of the concept: in the ontological sense with the goal of questioning the one-dimensionality of character, particularly the feminine character and in the methodological sense with the goal of method in comparative literature. We must wonder to what degree the category of character resists the conception of written genres as a tree of knowledge expressed in a linear and hierarchical manner. It is in this context that Deleuze’s and Guattari’s thought are applied to the subject’s rhizomatic cartography: the character transcends genre, it appears in plays, novels, and in poetry (even if the poetic characterization has not received as much critical attention as the dramatic or narrative one), and it appears in film, sculpture, painting, and video art. Character can be used as a critical category revealing the mechanisms of sexual differentiation which establishes a system of privileges. In this context, we might then ask, “what is a feminine character?” or, as a figurative specification of this general enunciation, “who is Ophelia?” The choice of Shakespeare’s character as a starting point for this reflection is owing to her ambivalence and ambiguity. These characteristics perhaps explain why Ophelia is both the starting point and model for such an ample corpus of works not limited to literature only.