Brazil Literature

The Eighties saw Brazilian literature strongly conditioned by the political-sociological context and by the economic and environmental problems that beset the country. Beyond the aesthetic alibi and exile at home chosen by a part of the intelligentsia national during the dictatorship, but also beyond the hard political commitment assumed by the great majority of writers after the military coup of 1964 (the supporters of the regime will be, among the writers, very few), the Brazilian intellectual finds himself, at the beginning of the Eighties, freer, but more alone. And the literature that he will produce, of a memorial, individual and family type, rather than intervention or experimentation as in the previous period, denounces his withdrawal and refuge in interiority and memory. From 1979 to 1985, coinciding with Figueiredo’s mandate, while the economic crisis that had already exploded during the Geisel presidency (1974-79) intensified, that process of “slow and gradual opening” (this is the formula of the military) was consolidated. first leads to the easing of repression, with its corollaries of torture and censorship, and then the recovery of the main democratic prerogatives. Starting from 1980, with the amnesty of the exiles, almost all of theBrazilian intelligentsia emigrated and a national cultural fabric is being mended. But we are also witnessing, in a country that is as large as a continent, a reassertion of cultures and regional centers, which are added, with the appearance of new problems and new forms of expression, to the two centers of Rio and São Paulo, the first polarizing metropolises of every cultural expression: even if, since the end of the century, for example, there was talk of Gaúcha literature, of the South; or, from the 1930s, of literature from the Northeast.

Over the decade, the face of the intellectual class will change. Thinkers, anthropologists and critics will disappear such as Gilberto Freyre (1900-1987: Casa Grande and Senzala, 1933; Sobrados and Mocambo, 1936; Vida, forma e cor, 1962) or as Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1893-1983: Visão do Paraíso, 1959) or Alceu Amoroso Lima (ps. Tristão de Ataíde, 1893-1983), who with their works had strongly influenced the cosmovision of the Brazilian writer of the second modernist generation. The gaúcho Érico Veríssimo (1905-1977), lucid opponent of the dictatorial regime (Incidente em Antares, 1970), José Américo de Almeida (1877-1980), father of the North-Eastern novel, Otávio de Faria (1887-1981), narrator of original introspective vein, Pedro Nava (1930-1983, suicide) who, already known as a poet, in recent years he gives his tastiest texts as a memorialist narrator (Baú de ossos, 1973); and Osmans Lins (1924-1978), author of ingeniously crafted experimental novels (Avalovara, 1973). And Clarice Lispector (1925-1977; Perto do coração selvagem [1944], trans. It., 1986; Laços de família [1960], trans. It., 1986; A maçã no escuro [1961], will also disappear prematurely. trad. it., 1988; A hora da estrela [1977], trans. it., 1989) whose fame as a refined and sensitive narrator the Eighties witnessed the growth at home and abroad.

The disappearance of all the most significant exponents of the previous generation is a prelude to a recovery that reaches not only the public, but the writers themselves, who are often influenced by it. This also applies to poets who, in Brazil as in the whole Iberian area, have always enjoyed prestige and wide acceptance even at the popular level.

Disappears, closing an era, Vinicius de Moraes (1913-1980: Orfeu da Conceição, 1966), who, after his first attempts as a spiritualist poet of Claudellian inspiration, had “converted to the profane” and, in the last part of his vita, expelled from a diplomatic career in times of dictatorship, had become, alongside songwriters such as Chico Buarque de Hollanda (b. 1949: A ópera do malandro, 1978), a symbol of music-poetry in Brazil della bossa-nova. Henriqueta Lisboa disappears (1903-1985: Obras completas, 1985). And even the poets of ’45, already dissolved as a group, saw their ranks thin out with the disappearance of some of them, such as Bueno de Rivera (1911-1982) and Mauro Mota (1912-1984). But the death that really seems to seal the whole great season of Brazilian modernist poetry is that of Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987), considered the greatest Brazilian poet of the modern age and for half a century a moral and aesthetic reference point for the whole country (among the latest works: A Paixão medida, 1980; Corpo, 1984; O Avesso das coisas, 1988; in Italian only anthologized: Sentimento del mondo, edited by A. Tabucchi, 1988).

Moreover, some writers of the old guard, to whom the new literary generation themselves look with respect, continue their very lively trajectory, and with still great impact on the public.

Among the poets, the leader is the gaúcho Mário Quintana (b.1906A Rua dos Cataventos, 1940; Nova Antologia poética, 1981; Baú de espantos, 1986; A cor do invisível, 1989), while the post of first author of poesia del Brazil continues to be occupied by the Pernambucan João Cabral de Melo (b. 1920), striving together with the search for a new formal poetic specificity (the dry language, directed by Museu de tudo, 1975; A escola das facas, 1980; Poesia crítica, 1982; Sevilha going, 1989) and content, with the recovery of the theatrical text (Auto do Frade, 1983) or the narrative poem (Crime na Calle Relator, 1987) and the rediscovery of a strong regional identity (Poemas pernambucanos, 1988).

In previous decades, returning from group experiences (concretism, poem process, etc.), some vigorous poetic personalities now manifest themselves individually, collecting their previous production or continuing on the path of experimentalism (Haroldo de Campos, Xadrez de estrelas, 1976 ; Signantia quasi coelum, 1979; Galaxias, 1984; Augusto de Campos, Viva Vaia-Poesia 1949-1979, 1979; Décio Pignatari, Po & tc 1976-1986, 1986; José Lino Grünewald, Escreviver, 1987).

To these must be added, in the practice of the anthological balance, established poets from every state of the country: Alphonsus de Guimaraens Filho (b.1918: Nó, 1984), Nauro Machado (b. 1935: Antologia poética, 1980), José Paulo Paes (b.1926: One for all, 1986), Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna (b. 1938: A Possible Poetry, 1987), Gilberto de Mendonça Teles (b. 1931: A Hora open, 1986), Marly de Oliveira (n.1937: Collected poetic work, 1989), Neide Archanjo (Poetry 1964-1984, 1987), with Ferreira Gullar (b. 1930: All poetry 1950-1980, 1981; Crime in flora, 1986; Barulhos, 1987), today, due to social commitment and wise formal research, one of the most intense presences on the Brazilian scene.

Brazil Literature