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Nossa and Nuestra América: Inter-American Dialogues

Robert Patrick Newcomb
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    Nossa and Nuestra América
    Book Description:

    Is Brazil part of Latin America, or an island unto itself? As Nossa and Nuestra América: Inter-American Dialogues demonstrates, this question has been debated by Brazilian and Spanish American intellectuals alike since the early nineteenth century, though it has received limited scholarly attention and its answer is less obvious than you might think. This book charts Brazil’s evolving and often conflicted relationship with the idea of Latin America through a detailed comparative investigation of four crucial Latin American essayists: Uruguayan critic José Enrique Rodó, Brazilian writer-diplomat Joaquim Nabuco, Mexican humanist Alfonso Reyes, and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, one of Brazil’s preeminent historians. While these writers are canonical figures in their respective national literary traditions, their thoughts on Brazilian–Spanish American relations are seldom investigated, and they are rarely approached from a comparative perspective. In Nossa and Nuestra América, Newcomb traces the development of two parallel essayistic traditions: Spanish American continentalist discourse and Brazil’s solidly national exegetic tradition. With these essayistic traditions in mind, he argues that Brazil plays a necessary—and necessarily problematic—role in the intellectual construction of “Latin America.” Further, in traversing the Luso-Hispanic frontier and bringing four of Latin America’s preeminent thinkers into critical dialogue, Newcomb calls for a truly comparative approach to Luso-Brazilian and Spanish American literary and cultural studies. Nossa and Nuestra América will be of interest to scholars and students of Latin American and Luso-Brazilian literature and ideas, and to anyone interested in rethinking comparative approaches to literary texts written in Portuguese and Spanish.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-151-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments and Note on Translations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction This Our Disunion
    (pp. 1-6)

    In a 1993 call-to-arms for comparative Luso-Hispanic studies, evocatively titled “Down with Tordesillas!,” the critic Jorge Schwartz observes the “problem of integrating” Brazil into a coherent idea of Latin America and calls for a “critical reflection that is capable, when considering Latin America, of duly including Brazil” (186–87). Schwartz’s call should, of course, In a 1993 call-to-arms for comparative Luso-Hispanic studies, evocatively titled “Down with Tordesillas!,” the critic Jorge Schwartz observes the “problem of integrating” Brazil into a coherent idea of Latin America and calls for a “critical reflection that is capable, when considering Latin America, of duly including...

  5. Chapter One Counterposing Nossa and Nuestra América
    (pp. 7-56)

    In the introduction that opens this book, I contextualized my interest in Brazil’s position in Latin America within an emerging—albeit still minority—scholarly trend toward comparative Luso-Hispanic approaches. In this chapter I will explain how this broad interest finds focus in the context of this book. I will introduce my analytical model for evaluating how Spanish American and Brazilian public intellectuals have used the essay to consider questions of national and continental identity—an inquiry that in turn leads writers like José Enrique Rodó, Joaquim Nabuco, Alfonso Reyes, and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda to consider the role of Brazil...

  6. Chapter Two José Enrique Rodó: “Iberoamérica,” the Magna Patria, and the Question of Brazil
    (pp. 57-86)

    Uruguayan writer-critic José Enrique Rodó (1871–1917), best known for essayistic texts likeMotivos de Proteo(1909),El mirador de Próspero(1913) and especiallyAriel(1900), is without question one of Spanish America’s most influential literary and intellectual figures.¹Ariel, published to acclaim throughout the Spanish-speaking world, “help[ed],” in the words of Julio Ramos, “to formulate [. . .] one of the key narratives of legitimation [. . .] propagated by literature at the turn of the century” (232). Here, Rodó famously borrows and reconfigures characters and themes from Shakespeare’s late comedy The Tempest—as well as from Ernest Rénan’s...

  7. Chapter Three Joaquim Nabuco: Monarchy’s End and the “South Americanization” of Brazil
    (pp. 87-134)

    Joaquim Nabuco (1849–1910) was one of late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Brazil’s most important public intellectuals, active across the spectrum of journalism, politics, diplomacy, and social activism during the later years of Brazil’s Second Empire (1840–89), and the early years of the Republic that followed. Nabuco, the son of a prominent liberal politician and a member of an aristocratic Pernambuco family with deep roots in the northeastern sugar economy, made several important contributions to Brazilian intellectual history, including the anti-slavery tractO Abolicionismo(Abolitionism, 1883); a four-volume biography of his father, the statesman José Tomás Nabuco de Araújo,Um...

  8. Chapter Four Alfonso Reyes: Culture, Humanism, and Brazil’s Place in the American Utopia
    (pp. 135-182)

    It is difficult to properly convey the extent of the contribution of Alfonso Reyes (1889–1959) to Mexican, and more broadly, Latin American thought, if only because of the monumental written record he left in the twenty-six volumes of the Fondo de Cultura Económica edition of hisObras completas(1955–93). Reyes’s complete works present a maddeningly diverse collection of essays, journalism, speeches, and assorted pieces on Mexican, Latin American, European, and classical Greco-Roman literature and history. Taken as a whole, Reyes’s work reads as a refreshingly non-hierarchical series of reflections on the history of ideas, politics, diplomacy, travel, language,...

  9. Chapter Five Sérgio Buarque de Holanda: Obscured Roots of Rodó in Raízes do Brasil
    (pp. 183-210)

    In the May 1920 edition of the São Paulo-basedRevista do Brasil, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1902–82), apaulistanoliterary critic only eighteen years of age and a member of one of Brazil’s oldest and most storied families, published the short piece “Ariel,” the second article of his very young career.¹ Buarque, shortly to affiliate with the modernist movement that was to make its debut in São Paulo during the Semana de Arte Moderna (Week of Modern Art) in 1922, and later to be canonized as one of Brazil’s greatintérpretes(“interpreters”) for his classicRaízes do Brasil(Roots...

  10. Appendix English Translations
    (pp. 211-218)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 219-240)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 241-252)
  13. Index
    (pp. 253-264)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-267)