Márcia Denser (1949-2024)



Considerations about the recently deceased writer from São Paulo

“Everything I wrote in the 1980s and 1990s would be impossible today”
(Márcia Denser).

Márcia Denser's work seems unique to me in the life of literature written by women in Brazil. And also by men. It is unique in its political and sexual implications, in its understanding of the power games between a modern woman in search of emancipation and a generic man, but who is also not generic, he is a scoundrel of Brazilian tradition, sexist and desirous, both placed in front of each other. the oscillating value of sex itself, mediator of the multiple meanings, political or psychic, that pulsate in the vivid paintings in which he situated his characters.

Márcia Denser gave us the limit universe of desirous and joyful feminism, of the autonomy of young women in the 1980s, existential and political feminism – superficial pop, cinematic in content and form, poisoned with the bad city, and the impoverished middle class itself – of new ironic melancholy cool, but curious and fun, taking place in bars and motels. A feminism, invented in its literature, that fought in bed for its own voice.

In this historical framework, described with the precision of traces and crystallized expressions of oral life, those tales inverted the false power of man, presupposed power, into a pathetic farce, an undone masquerade of power. Sex had the revelatory power, like a kind of particle accelerator, to explode the social elements surrounding the encounter of a man and a woman: a certain light, a song on the radio, a trace of makeup, an incarnate rudeness, a recognized submission, making the hell of desire and historical differences between the sexes transparent, at the same time as poisoned.

In its small and brilliant stories, full of minimal twists, like what is alive in life, what the sexual reveals in its finest dialectic – resolving everything as critical, humorous, astonishing literature, but without drama – is political feminism of freedom, and its real social price. A feminism that was ironically defeated by the general order of accusation, and constant attempt to control the very unpleasant behavior of men, typical of today's moral girlfriend feminism.

In fact, Márcia Denser has nothing to do with it. Because sex, so refined in its blemishes, its thanks to and its parasocial environments, it was concretely immoral and programmatically amoral. That's why she was a politician, as a politician was her effort and her permanent fight for literature. Looking at men from the point of view of bed and sex, their false power revealed itself as pathetic as the woman's false domination over them. Subject and object are unmasked, at the heart of the sexual thing, as a double disguise, necessary for the lives of both. If the woman wants it that way, she wrote insolently, “with her fractures”, touching up her mascara, through which something almost like a tear almost escaped, which doesn't exist, La Denser.

The focus on sex, even the sexual relationship reinvented in language, is a critical focus and a small social dialectic. Through the lens of love, the whole pathetic order of imaginary powers, of men and women, trembles, in a society of grotesque powers, but maintained with the good or bad makeup of the spectacle, and life reveals itself as something between the alienated image, what lack and artifice.

But in the end, what joy is this? Sex, life and imaginary powers, stripping men naked, and ruining them with their own critical judgment in the middle of the bed, are revealed lines of force of a system of criticism by experience. No imaginary power is sustained, all are unveiled and dissolved, into nothing, in front of Márcia Denser's sex.

Considering the trajectories of the narrator character Diana, the symbol of the writer's own general literary and historical situation, we read four dimensions always present in the stories, their foundations, their horizon, and their clash of powers marked by anatomical social sexual difference:

(i) Diana likes sex and Diana likes men. There is no model of love, of any kind, apart from great irony, that precedes her true experience with men. A messy experience, like its actors, in which the idea of ​​love is a virtuality, a nostalgia projected into an insubstantial future. Only sex is real, in these terms.

(ii) Diana moves well through the contemporary city, she is also a map of the big city. Her eroticism is also cultural, although culture may be a pile of rootless quotations. She moves through apartments, kitchens, bedrooms, guesthouse rooms, hotel rooms and motel rooms.

(iii) Diana confronts the male world, and the woman's desire for it, to the same extent that she uses it sexually. Sex is enjoyment and research. Between desire and violence, the act of desire is also an act of submission, and the place of writing is that of resolving the conflict. Diana is not a victim of anything. Her sex is a social and critical device, and literature is her ultimate weapon of enjoyment.

(iv) Diana is a feminist hunter and hunted. Autonomous, recording time on her own body, it is in the measure of experience, the city, rooms and sex, that she affirms the feminine. The feminine is the experience of this. There is no equivalence between a woman's desire, her way of being, and a man's. But there is equality in the desire itself. Diana never complains. She moves, she enjoys and reveals.

Other than that, Márcia Denser is indeed a serious and lively writer. Her ways of representing the desire and sex of an emancipated woman, capable of transforming the game of the other's objectifying desire over herself into her own desire, created a true contemporary repertoire of representing the world that we had not yet seen. Woman of all, there is something in her of the joyful literary excitement of an Oswald de Andrade and, especially, that of Pagu, the communist writer girl from Industrial park and, even more, of women, of the experience between man and woman, between delirium and body, with Geraldo Ferraz, of the famous magazine.

 Just as the literary cinema of modernist inventors, their cuts and montages, became a fine and masterful thing in Márcia Denser: the films we read in her stories, with the same techniques, are good. His only novel, very strange, which changes styles vertiginously from chapter to chapter, seeks to give an invented form to the historical, mystical and familiar density, along with the division of hatred, its excitement, to the “psychological romance”, so insistent in Brazil .

The evolution of the naming of the experience of sex in her stories is the evolution of the desire that was affirmed, but not fulfilled, in Clarice Lispector, and the fulfillment of desire, but not social, in Hilda Hilst. Márcia Denser seems the synthesis, more self-aware of sexual desire as a social thing, of the two. Plus life in the city of fetishism, spectacle and merchandise, at the limit of its historical disenchantment, which it disposes of like a dress, new or old, that you put on and take off at will, or counterfeit.

There is an underground line of experience of desire, recognized, denied, reaffirmed, a social thing, that goes from “Missa do Galo”, by Machado de Assis, to “Vampiro da Alameda Casablanca”, by La Denser.

*Tales Ab´Sáber He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at Unifesp. Author, among other books by The anthropophagic soldier: slavery and non-thought in Brazil (n-1/ Hedra) [https://amzn.to/4ay2e2g]


Marcia Denser. Diana Huntress & Ghost Tango: two pieces of prose brought together. Cotia, Ateliê, 2008, 312 pages. [https://amzn.to/3TRsZXM]

Marcia Denser. All Prose. São Paulo, Nova Alexandria, 2002, 160 pages. [https://amzn.to/3TUrCaR]

Marcia Denser. All Prose II. Rio de Janeiro, Record, 2008, 256 pages. [https://amzn.to/3xEm78U]

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