Brazil Prose and Novel

Novel. – In the prose narrative, the horizons of the novel have gradually widened and its aims have become more complex. Naturalist novelists had already brought, albeit indirectly, concerns of a social order; Machado de Assis had opened for you vast perspectives on the problems of human destiny. Graça Aranha, with Chanaan, a book that had a considerable repercussion throughout America, associated the more abstract controversies of contemporary philosophy with the problem, then (1902) very lively, of the future reserved for the Latin peoples of the new continent. His predictions proved fallacious, but they then infused dramatic intensity into many pages of the volume. A symbolic drama, Malazarte, is also owed to the same writer, on a character from Brazilian popular mythology, and a much discussed Esthetica da Vida, American intellectual regeneration program. Afranio Peixoto scientist, critic, historian, sociologist, has reflected in his books of imagination around love affairs (Esphinje, Maria Bonita, Fruta do matto, Bugrinha, Sinhasinha), all the complexity of his spirit; the pessimism, which forms the basis, is relieved by a smiling grace similar to that of Anatole France. Moreover, the influence of France on all current Brazilian literature is particularly great, comparable to that of Zola, Dickens, Daudet and Bourget on the previous generation. Instead the influence of Gabriele d’Annunzio, very much alive in the years preceding the war, is now declining. The experiences of the war also damaged the popularity of Federico Nietzsche, who, with Tolstoy, Ibsen, Max Stirner and Sorel, had succeeded Comte, Spencer, Littré, in those philosophical areas that have connections with literature. They concurred to dethrone them, as well as Freudismalso came into fashion in Brazil, above all the reawakening of Catholic sentiment, especially from 1919 onwards, and the wide interest aroused by the philosophical works of Bergson and Boutroux. For Brazil 1998, please check

Among the storytellers, much more numerous than the novelists, we should first of all remember Carlos Magalhães de Azeredo and Alfonso Arinos (v.), The first author of Balladas and phantasias (1900), of Ariadne (1922), a genre of poems in exquisite prose sensitivity, and Casos do amor e do instinto (1924), vigorous and colorful stories; the second author of tales of a national and classic character. And to them are added Alcides Maya, an admirable artist; Paulo Barreto (João do Rio), disciple of Oscar Wilde and perhaps, a little, also of Gabriele d’Annunzio, in his worldly and paradoxical “paintings”; Gustavo Barroso (João do Norte), narrator of cases and legends of his sertão; Alberto Rangel and Paulo Setubal, reenactors of the historical environments of the colonial period and the reign of Dom Pedro I; Rodrigo Octavio, distinguished storyteller, no less than a learned jurist; Monteiro Lobato, author of the famous Jeca – Tatu, in which he wanted to symbolize the psychology and habits of rural populations; Viriato Corrêa and Veiga Miranda, and many others.

The prose and the novel. – After laudable attempts. but of little merit, by Teixeira and Souza (1812-1861) and Joaquim Norberto de Souza and Silva (1820-1891), the narrative prose assumed, in the Brazilian letters, a proper and clear physiognomy with Joaquim Manoel de Macedo (1820- 1882) and with José de Alencar (1829-1877). The first of these two, author, among other things, of Moreninha and Mo ç o louro, very popular and still alive in everyone’s memory, he perfectly understood the tendencies of the Brazilian popular soul, simple and sentimental, and gave it adequate novels. The second, exemplary narrator and painter of scenes and nature, elegant, moving, superior to Gonçalves Dias, as a teacher of Indianism, has left numerous novels, including Guarany, As minas de prata, Iracema, O gaucho, O sertanejo, numerous short stories, including O garatuja, and various theatrical works. Indeed Iracema, belonging to that literary genre to which we owe Paul et Virginieby Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, is a true masterpiece. And together with them is to be remembered Manoel Antonio de Almeida (1830-1861), to whom the brevity of his life allowed him to write only one book, the Memorias de um s argento de milicias, a monument of sagacious and objective observation, and full of color.

With Bernardo Guimarães (1827-1884) appear the first fruits of the rural novel, of sertanism, in Mauricio, Escrava Isaura, O seminarista and O ermitão. This trend continues Franklin Tavora (1842-1888), in O cabelleira, O matuto, Casa de palha, and, with more sobriety, Escragnolle Taunay (1843-1899), in Innocencia and in other short stories, with which the novel begins to losing the sentimental imprint that Macedo had given him. Taunay is also the author of the Retirada da Laguna, an episode of the war with Paraguay, and has also been very involved in politics, science and criticism.

Brazil Prose