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The Blue Cultural Fix: Water-Spirits and World-Ecology in Jorge Amado’s Mar Morto and Pepetela’s O Desejo de Kianda

Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030072
Received: 6 January 2020 / Revised: 29 July 2020 / Accepted: 29 July 2020 / Published: 3 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue World Literature and the Blue Humanities)
Putting Blue Humanities scholarship in critical dialogue with recent research on the ‘cultural fix’ and ‘fixed-labour-power’, this article offers a comparative reading of two Portuguese-language novels in which the figure of the female water-spirit features as an index for two contrasting modes of knowing the ocean. In Jorge Amado’s Mar Morto (1936), the water-spirit is registered as a passive and incomprehensible extra-human entity that looms over the poverty of the text’s working-class community of dockworkers with an ominous and mysterious edge. By contrast, the water-spirit in Pepetela’s novel O Desejo de Kianda (1995) is angry, active and only too immediate, seeking revenge for the extractivist violence carried out in the name of neoliberalism. Activating a broadly hydro-materialist framework, I argue that these differing conceptions of the water-spirit carry with them very different socio-ecological implications, and directly intersect with contemporary debates over hydrological crisis, the privatisation of the oceans and the enclosure of the water commons. View Full-Text
Keywords: world literature; world-ecology; blue humanities; cultural fix; Jorge Amado; Pepetela world literature; world-ecology; blue humanities; cultural fix; Jorge Amado; Pepetela
MDPI and ACS Style

Waller, T. The Blue Cultural Fix: Water-Spirits and World-Ecology in Jorge Amado’s Mar Morto and Pepetela’s O Desejo de Kianda. Humanities 2020, 9, 72.

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