Motivation

At a talk in University College Cork, the Chilean writer Monica Ríos spoke about the representation of Eva Perón in literature, referring to Néstor Perlongher’s revolutionary text ‘Evita Vive’. I read the story and was instantly captivated by Perlongher’s unique style and his audaciousness in treating the character of Eva Perón, who was the popular First Lady of Argentina between 1946 and 1952. She has been the subject of numerous literary and artistic works, including the play ‘Eva Perón’, by Raúl Damonte (Copi), a writer who, alongside Perlongher, constitutes one of the principal icons of the Argentine gay literary tradition.

Acccording to Eloy Martínez, “gay writers have understood her figure better than anybody in our literature.” (Van Lanen). Thus, translating Perlongher’s work ‘Evita Vive’ can provide us with a compelling, thought-provoking insight into Eva Perón; here, she is portrayed in an entirely unique and unprecedented way. At once a sexual deviant, drug addict and corpse, the female protagonist holds a “protean capacity for transformation” (ibid.). The life that Evita is given in Perlongher’s work and the respect and dignity with which he manages to treat her, despite the apparent obscenities surrounding her and indeed, in which she often partakes, is remarkable and captivating. I believe this work should gain a more substantial audience in the English-speaking world and thus found it of paramount importance that a second, more updated translation should be undertaken of the work, particularly as the only English translation from 1983 no longer appears to be widely accessible, and also as acceptable gay terminology has inevitably undergone much transformation in the past two decades. Thus, I approached Perlongher’s text with the aim of translating it for a more modern audience.

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