Alessandra M. Pires
Images of Madness
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE
Imagens da Loucura
UMA PERSPECTIVA INTERDISCIPLINAR
In his story “The Tale of the Unknown Island,” Portuguese writer José Saramago sketches a pre-history of Portugal’s Voyages of Discovery in a period in which all of the islands had supposedly already been discovered. The petitioner’s plan is the first step in a project whose only geography turns out to be the domain of daydreams and folly. Is this character the prototype of the madman? Or just an adventure seeker, born a few decades too late?
By offering these essays, we extend an invitation to those who, like the seasoned sailors in Saramago’s tale, are afraid “to leave the comfort of their homes and the good life” to accompany us in this exploration. In emulation of the example of the adventurer, unable to describe his achievements before living them, let us refrain from setting a precise course for our investigation of these various versions of madness, from robbing ourselves of discovering the richness of the unexpected inherent in the process, and from silencing whatever might contradict or complement our vision.