Mario de Sa-Carneiro's novel, A Confissao de Lucio is ambiguous at the narrative level because of the unreliability of the narrator -- whether the events of his account are to be taken as real, or as evidence of his madness. Within its decadent themes of the autonomy of art, nobility of the artist, exploration of sensations, madness and perversity, it presents notions of femininity, masculinity, beauty, and sexuality. The conclusions one can draw concerning whether these notions are confirmed or subverted by the novel depend on the reader's determination of the narrator's credibility. But the book's depth extends further. While apparently transgressive, the narration is traditional, and where apparently conventional, the novel presents innovation. The narrator is seemingly transgressive to the norms of his society--he presents male homosexual desire, female homosexual acts, then exhibits effeminate male characters and masculine female characters--thus disrupting the supposed fixidity of sexual identity. The view of homosexuality in the book, though transgressive in the simple fact that it is exhibited, is presented clearly as perversity rather than as a valid alternative. The manner of presentation supports the association, popular at the turn of the century, of homosexuality with mental and physical degeneration. The narrator also apparently confirms other norms of the same society: woman as object, as something to be possessed, and beauty as the one exclusively feminine trait that makes a woman both object of the gaze and a valuable commodity. But it is here, in the area of sexuality as mediated by the visual that the book presents its novel ideas. It is in what it says about the power relationship between the subject and the object of the gaze that the novel breaks with tradition.