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International Yearbook of Futurism Studies

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Ultra-Futurism, Occultism and Queer Politics: Concerning an (almost unpublished) Letter of Raul Leal to F. T. Marinetti

Manuela Parreira da Silva
Published Online: 2013-05-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/futur.2013.3.1.394


In 1909, the year of the inception of the Futurist movement, Raul Leal began his career as a journalist in Lisbon. Although he was trained as a lawyer, from 1910 onwards he dedicated himself fully to philosophy and literature. In 1914, he met Gabriele D’Annunzio and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and began to develop an enthusiasm for Futurism. In 1915, Leal joined the Orpheu group, but his polemical writings forced him to take refuge in Spain, where he lived in abject poverty until 1917. In 1923, he published Sodoma divinizada (Sodom Deified), a defence of pederasty that became, without any doubt, the best known and most cited of all Raul Leal’s works. Leal was, like his friend Guilherme Santa Rita, a radical Futurist; in fact, he considered himself to be an “ultra-Futurist” and pursued an absolute, substantial fusion all the arts, which was heavily laced with occult elements. He was the founder of a Paracletian Church, with himself as the self-designated Henoch, prophet of the Holy Ghost and Divine Paraclete. His transcendental aesthetics was an aesthetics of the ‘Vertiginous’, an ecstatic, ultrarational philosophical doctrine that aimed at an integral experience of the Divine where the duality of good and evil, of life and death would be overcome. In 1921, he set out his beliefs in a message to F. T. Marinetti, who in his warm response considered it to be a “lettre tres importante”. The document that was found in 1966 in an English version was first believed to stem from Fernando Pessoa. The French original does not seem to survive, but the author describes in this essay a Portuguese draft by Leal’s hand, which to this day remains unpublished.

Keywords: : Orpheu; Fernando Pessoa; Aleister Crowley; Paracletian Church; homoeroticsm; esoteric philosophy; vertiginism

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Published Online: 2013-05-22

Published in Print: 2013-05-01

Citation Information: International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 394–415, ISSN (Online) 2192-029X, ISSN (Print) 2192-0281, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/futur.2013.3.1.394.

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