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Fantasias Eroticas.

Classical and Renaissance thinkers made a clear distinction between sex and Eros. Sex was simply a biological craving that could be easily satisfied, while Eros was an uplifting, creative force that motivated the individual to strive for perfection. In today's fast-moving world of quick fixes and instant gratification, this contrast has been largely lost. However, in her new collection of essays, Uruguayan writer Cristina Peri Rossi Cristina Peri Rossi (born November 12, 1941) is an Uruguayan novelist, poet, and author of short stories.

Considered a leading light of the post-1960s period of prominence of the Latin-American novel, she has written more than 37 works.
 once again attempts to define the differences between sex and Eros.

Peri Rossi does not delve into the moral aspects of Eros, but rather explores the role of the erotic in the creative process. She explains that desire stimulates the imagination, which results in the victory of art over nature, of fantasy over reality. Peri Rossi writes: "Eroticism Eroticism

novel of Alexandrian manners by Pierre Louys. [Fr. Lit.: Benét, 783]

Ars Amatoria

Ovid’s treatise on lovemaking. [Rom. Lit.
 is to sexuality what gastronomy gastronomy

Art of selecting, preparing, serving, and enjoying fine food. Two early centres of gastronomy were China (from the 5th century BC) and Rome, the latter noted for the excess and ostentation of its banquets.
 is to hunger: the triumph of culture over instinct, culture being the long, diverse, complex process by which human beings have attempted, since the beginning, to dominate, transform and guide primitive instinct Primitive Instinct are a Progressive/Classic Rock band, formed in 1987 in Maidstone, Kent, England, by Guitarist/Vocalist/Songwriter Nick Sheridan, who still fronts the band today. To the uninitiated, a ballpark description of PI would be modern-day Marillion meets Pink Floyd. ." Although diverse societies have produced treatises and manuals on the art of making love, eroticism cannot be reduced to mere technique, for it derives from the generative impulse that alchemizes desire into a personal, subjective and symbolic creation.

The author contends that eroticism is the source of art, for art originates in fantasy. Art, like desire, transforms, embellishes or idealizes reality. Our desires tell us more about ourselves than about the loved-one, for each of us personalizes the object of our desires according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 our own special needs. Like the artist, the lover "sees" the object in a unique way that may or may not correspond to reality, but does define his own particular perspective.

In erotic love Noun 1. erotic love - a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction; "their love left them indifferent to their surroundings"; "she was his first love"
sexual love, love

concupiscence, physical attraction, sexual desire, eros - a desire for sexual intimacy
, as in art and in dreams, says Perri Rossi, individuals express desires that they are required to suppress by society. In order to exist harmoniously and prevent anarchy, societies invent rules; they prohibit certain practices, such as incest, homosexuality, public nudity, for example, that are deemed harmful to the common good. Religions reinforce social convention by designating unacceptable practices sinful. But the individual evades these restrictions in his erotic fantasies, in his dreams, and in art. Indeed, prohibitions are routinely dropped in the name of artistic expression.

Peri Rossi points out that Freud held that human beings need art, just as they need erotic love, as an outlet for "repressed re·pressed
Being subjected to or characterized by repression.
 psychological material." For the author, all art is erotic, whether or not the subject matter is sexual, because all art springs from the hidden wells of fantasy that are nourished by the senses. Perhaps our age has produced little great art because modern life is, in essence, anti-erotic. Today's men and women, suggests Peri Rossi, are so oppressed op·press  
tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.

 by the demands of work and family that they have little time for fantasy.

Although Peri Rossi's essays are occasionally rich in ideas, her research is shoddy. In order to prove the durability of the slave-master fantasy, for example, she jumps from the brothels BROTHELS, crim. law. Bawdy-houses, the common habitations of prostitutes; such places have always been deemed common nuisances in the United States, and the keepers of them may be fined and imprisoned.
 of ancient Rome to those of nineteenth century France in one sentence. She asserts the psychological relationship between love and death, but fails to discuss the impact on Western civilization of courtly love, one of the richest sources of love-death mythology. In her essay on erotic marine symbolism she mentions the mermaid, asserting that this was a favorite icon of Spanish Golden Age
This article is about the Spanish Golden Age of the 15th-17th centuries.
For the earlier Golden Age of Islamic culture and Jewish culture in Spain, see Al-Andalus.
 writers. However, the only proof she presents is the title of one play by Calderon, El golfo de las sirenas (The Gulf of Mermaids). She quotes Freud frequently, but her analyses are superficial and she often lapses into psycho-babble.

Peri Rossi's prose is endlessly repetitive. Furthermore, she is given to the kind of trite, hyperbolic hy·per·bol·ic   also hy·per·bol·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or employing hyperbole.

2. Mathematics
a. Of, relating to, or having the form of a hyperbola.

, meaningless epithets that composition teachers routinely take their students to task for: "J.W. Goethe, one of the great geniuses of humanity"; "Michel Foucault, one of the most important philosophers of the century"; "Ramon Gomez de la Serna, the innovative Spanish writer."

Cristina Peri Rossi is one of Latin America's best known women writers, distinguished for both her fiction and her poetry. It is doubtful, however, that Fantasias eroticas will add much to her stature.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Organization of American States
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Author:Mujica, Barbara
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:Where Angels Glide at Dawn: New Stories from Latin America.
Next Article:Blame it on the media.

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