Even though Lídia Jorge's fiction is known to testify to the socio-economic, cultural and moral effects of Portugal's transition from a rural, fascist and colonial society to an urban, neo-liberal and postcolonial one, its object is not an abstract collective entity but, rather,
concrete individuals. This article argues how, in Combateremos a sombra (2007) Jorge's reworking of Greek tragedy through psychoanalytical insights explores the relations between desire, death and responsibility. The analysis proceeds by following the main registers of representation
that the text engages, namely, the interpretative-analytical, the aesthetic and the ethical. The first centres on the representational activities of the protagonist, a psychoanalyst, professor and writer. While these ultimately bring him to embrace the Real of death, the photographs that a
secondary character, a young Angolan woman, Rossiana de Jesus, takes of human life in the eminence of death embrace the fleeting but nonetheless precious Real substance of life. The two, in counterpoint, bring to the fore not the pathology of an abstract country, as some would prefer to see
it, but how individual citizens can potentially respond to the appeal of ethics in representation, when the social, the political and the poetic cross paths in the course of following desire to its consequences.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.