Cenas dizíveis e indizíveis

Raça e sexualidade em Gilberto Freyre

Idelber Avelar


Penso que o casal negro/ branca é mais que uma bomba [. . .] Por quê? Porque a sexualidade é antes que nada uma questão de fantasmas e o fantasma que une o negro com a branca é um dos mais explosivos que há(Laferrièrre 124; trad. minha).

This article addresses the intersection of race and sexuality in Gilberto Freyre’s Casa-grande e senzala and Sobrados e mucambos. After an introduction that outlines how sexuality pervades the entire body politic in these works, I proceed to show the fluid and porous nature of the border between homo- and heterosexuality in Freyre. I then go on to discuss Freyre’s asymmetric representation of interracial sexual relations. Whereas the contact between white landowners and black or mestiza women is extensively described as the very model of national unity, the image of the black man with a white woman has a far more ambiguous and problematic status in the text. I study Freyre’s references to that image as instances of the balance of antagonisms recently identified by Freyrean scholarship as the major rhetorical device of his text. I conclude by suggesting that this unspeakable scene offers an entryway into the unconscious of Freyre’s trilogy on patriarchal Brazil.


This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Log in through your institution

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.