Brazilian Literature

Brazilian Literature

Brazilian literature, term for Latin American literature in the Portuguese language.

Until the 18th century

The period of complete cultural dependence on Portugal lasted until around 1750. The first literarily significant authors in the 16th century included the Jesuit father J. de Anchieta and Bento Teixeira (* 1545, † 1618) with his lyrical representation of nature “Prosopopeia” (1601). The cultural center until the middle of the 18th century was the then capital Bahia. The Gongorism represented here inter alia. Gregório de Matos Guerra (* 1623 [?], † 1696), Manuel Botelho de Oliveira (* 1636, † 1711).

The economic rise of the diamond district Minas Gerais shifted the cultural focal point there. The »Arcadismo« or the »Escola Mineira« turned more towards Italian and French models. The bucolic-anacreontic »Obras poéticas« (1768) by Cláudio Manuel da Costa (* 1729, † 1789) are considered to be the beginning of the movement to which the poets T. A. Gonzaga, Manuel Ignácio da Silva Alvarenga (* 1749, † 1814) and the Epic poets J. B. da Gama and José de Santa Rita Durão (* 1722 [?], † 1784) counted.

19th century

Around 1830 the cultural solution of Portugal took place under the sign of Romanticism. According to D. J. Gonçalves de Magalhães, romantic lyric poetry experienced a climax, especially through A. Gonçalves Dias, which also founded “Indianismo”, in which the Indian was romantically transfigured. The late Romanticists concentrated around the Byron circle “Sociedade Epicureia” of São Paulo with C. de Abreu and others.

The socially committed »Escola Condoreira« was created as a reaction to romantic subjectivism. Their concern, the abolition of slavery, found its strongest poetic expression in the poetry of Antônio de Castro Alves (* 1847, † 1871).

The most important novelist in the transition to realism was J. M. de Alencar with his historical Indian novels “O Guaraní” (1857) and “Iracema” (1865), in which a mestizo “origin myth” of Brazilian society is created. Other novelists were Manuel Antônio de Almeida (* 1830, † 1861) and Alfredo d’Escragnolle Visconde de Taunay (* 1843, † 1899) with his novel “Inocência” (1872; German “Innocencia”).

From the 1870s onwards, schools of Parnassianism and symbolism developed in poetry, and realism and naturalism in prose and theater. The most influential Parnassian was O. Bilac, important symbolist J. da Cruz e Sousa. In the successor to É. Zolas wrote A. Azevedo and Júlio Ribeiro (* 1845, † 1890). The poet, novelist and storyteller J. M. Machado de Assis, who was equally involved in romanticism and realism, was outstanding. Visit for history of Latin America.

20th century

In the endeavor to arrive at a national identity determination, the north-east of the country became increasingly important. In addition to stories by Henrique Max Coelho Neto (* 1864, † 1934), there are the essay “Os sertões” (1902) by E. R. da Cunha and the novel “Canaã” (1902) by J. Pereira da Graça Aranha, which deals with the problems of European immigrants most important contributions to a critical self-reflection. This line continued in Brazilian modernism fort, which was launched in São Paulo in 1922 as a cultural avant-garde movement that aimed for a complete renewal of language and thinking, whereby the Indians (as “naked, natural ogre”) should represent the model for overcoming belonging to Europe. The theorists of modernism, whose impulses continue to the present day, were M. de Andrade and O. de Andrade. Important poets (M. Bandeira, J. de Lima, C. Drummond de Andrade, Cecilia Meireles [ * 1901, † 1964]) were connected to modernism or, like J. Cabral de Melo Neto, tried to give it a cosmopolitan orientation.

Several great cycles of novels about the development of the Brazilian regions were inspired by the work of the sociologist G. Freyre: The “Sugar Cane Cycle” (1932–36) by J. Lins do Rêgo Cavalcanti, “São Bernardo” (1934) by G. Ramos, die Works byR. de Queirós , J. Amado and É. Lopes Veríssimo. The regional theme reached its climax in the novels and short stories of J. Guimarães Rosa, who used experimental narrative methods in the sense of the “new Latin American novel” and achieved a metaphysical-universal overcoming of regionalism from within.

New paths followed in the development of poetry after 1945, among others. the representatives of neo-modernism (J. Cabral de Melo Neto, José Paulo Moreira da Fonseca [* 1922, † 2004], José Ribamar Ferreira Gullar [* 1930, † 2016] and others) and the »Concretistas« and » Neoconcretistas “like H. de Campos. Modern directions of the popular genre are concrete poetry, visual poetry and, furthermore, politically committed works. In addition to the prominent poets, there were younger authors such as Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna (* 1937) and Philadelpho Menezes (* 1960).

The short stories by Dalton Trevisan (* 1925) and the novels by C. Lispector are representative of the narrative prose of the 1960s. The following generation includes authors with such different orientations as L. Telles , O. Lins, J. R. Fonseca, A. Dourado, I. de Loyola Brandão, J. U. Ribeiro, M. Souza, Ana Miranda (* 1951) or the ethnologist and novelist D. Ribeiro emerged. Among them is M. Scliar as the most important representative of Jewish-Brazilian literature. The most famous playwrights include Nelson Rodrigues (* 1913, † 1980), Guilherme de Oliveira Figueiredo (* 1915, † 1997) and A. Suassuna and A. Boal (»Theater of the Oppressed«).

Contemporary literature

The image of the latest Brazilian literature is determined on the one hand by the international success of the esotericist P. Coelho and on the other hand by the self-deprecating, intermedial writing practice of the younger generation, who deal with the permanent situation of violence in the cities, especially the novels by P. Melo . C. Saavedra , A. Lisboa , C. H. Cony and M. Hatoum achieve great success who conduct an analysis of Brazilian history and contemporary society in their novels. Crime, espionage and science fiction novels play just as much a role in popular contemporary Brazilian literature as works that arise in interaction with telenovelas broadcast on television.

Brazilian Literature

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