Antonio Candido

Antonio Candido: On Literature and Society

Antonio Candido
Translated, edited, and introduced by Howard S. Becker
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Antonio Candido
    Book Description:

    Here Howard Becker makes available for an English-speaking audience a collection of the provocative work of Antonio Candido, one of the leading men of letters in Brazil. Trained as a sociologist, Candido conceives of literature as a social project and is equally at home in textual analyses, discussions of literary theory, and sociological, anthropological, and historical argument. It would be impossible to overstate his impact on the intellectual life of his own country, and on Latin American scholars who can read Portuguese, but he is little known in the rest of the world. In literary, women's, and cultural studies, as well as in sociology, this book contributes a sophisticated and unusual perspective that will dazzle readers unfamiliar with Candido's work.

    Emphasizing the breadth of Candido's interests, the essays include those on European literature (Dumas, Conrad, Kafka, and Cavafy, for example), on Brazilian literature (Machado de Assis and others), on Brazilian cultural life and politics, and on general problems of criticism (the relations between sociology and criticism, and the problem of literature in underdeveloped countries). Of particular interest is a long piece on Teresina Carini Rocchi, an Italian immigrant to Brazil, who was a lifelong socialist.

    Originally published in 1995.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6398-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
    Howard S. Becker

    The opposition of art and society is one of the great commonplaces of social theory: on the one hand, works of art (often, perhaps usually, literature, but encompassing music, visual art, drama, dance, and the rest) with all their internal complexities, mysteries, and aesthetic qualities; on the other, the society in which these works came into existence and in which people read and respond to them.¹ Only extreme formalists expect to understand works of art fully without referring to the organized social context they exist in. Only extreme sociologizers expect to understand those works completely by analyzing the conditions of...

  5. Chapter 1 ON VENGEANCE
    (pp. 3-21)

    Not long before, this man had fled from the dungeon where he had lived through fourteen years, a day at a time. A skillful sailor, an exemplary employee, he was nineteen when an anonymous denunciation sent him, without his knowing why, into solitary confinement in a fortress situated on another island. He hoped, he despaired, then resolved to starve himself to death. But chance put him in contact with a neighbor in the prison, a learned priest who opened the world to him through the cultivation of his spirit, analyzed the causes of his imprisonment, taught him science and wisdom,...

    (pp. 22-44)

    Joseph Conrad paid for his popularity. When he arrived, it was thanks to the exotic character of his first books, to the breath of marine incident and poetry (which he reintroduced in the works of his last phase). But, though he was a sailor, he did not feel himself to be a “writer of the sea,” nor did he wish to be considered an author of adventure books—since his preoccupation was always, and increasingly, to present a dramatic vision of man, independent of the circumstances of place. “The picture of life, there as here, is drawn with the same...

  7. Chapter 3 FOUR WAITINGS
    (pp. 45-74)

    What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

    The barbarians are due here today.

    Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?

    Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

    Because the barbarians are coming today.

    What laws can the senators make now?

    Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

    Why did our emperor get up so early,

    and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate

    on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

    Because the barbarians are coming today

    and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.

    He has even prepared a scroll to...

    (pp. 75-78)

    Balzac, who saw so many things, also saw the role the police were beginning to play in the contemporary world. Fouché had transformed the police apparatus into a precise and omnipotent instrument, necessary to maintain Napoleon’s dictatorship, but one that created within it a parallel world, an element that was determining as much as it was determined.

    The novelist was about sixteen when Napoleon fell and thus had been able to see how the police force Fouché organized had acquired (in a kind of natural development of functions) its important role in the bourgeois and constitutional world then opening up:...

    (pp. 79-103)

    In 1894 José Veríssimo definedMemórias de um sargento de milícias(The memoirs of a sergeant of the militia), by Manuel Antônio de Almeida, as a novel of manners that, because it describes places and scenes in Rio de Janeiro at the time of Dom João VI [king of Portugal, who lived in Brazil from 1807 until 1822], is characterized by a kind of premature realism; in consequence, he praises it, like a man of an era dominated by the aesthetic of naturalism.

    Almost nothing further was said of it until 1941, when Mário de Andrade reoriented criticism, denying that...

    (pp. 104-118)

    As our sensibility is still Romantic, we have an almost invincible tendency to attribute to great writers a heavy and conspicuous quota of suffering and of drama, since normal life seems incompatible with genius. Dickens disordered by a passion of maturity, after having suffered, as a child, the humiliation of seeing his father imprisoned; Dostoyevsky nearly executed, thrown into the squalor of the Siberian prison, shaken by neurological disease, staking the money for household expenses at roulette; Proust jailed in his bedroom and his remorse, suffocated with asthma, sunk in forbidden passions—images like these seize our imagination.

    For this...

    (pp. 119-141)

    Mário Vieira de Mello, one of the few writers to approach the problem of the relations between underdevelopment and culture, makes a distinction for the Brazilian case that is also valid for all of Latin America. He says that there has been a marked alteration of perspectives; until the 1930s the idea of “the new country,” still unable to realize itself, but attributing to itself great possibilities of future progress, predominated among us. With no essential modification in the distance that separates us from the rich countries, what predominates now is the notion of an “underdeveloped country.” The first perspective...

    (pp. 142-151)

    Nothing is more important, in calling attention to a truth, than to exaggerate it. But, likewise, nothing is more dangerous, because one day comes the unavoidable reaction and relegates that truth, unjustly, to the category of error, to such a point that it requires a difficult operation to arrive at an objective point of view, without misrepresenting one side or the other. This is what has occurred with the study of the relation between the work of art and its social conditioning, which had at one time in the past century come to be seen as the key for understanding...

    (pp. 152-194)

    When one thinks of the pious and conformist atmosphere in which Teresina was born and grew up, it is only by remembering her volcanic personality that it is possible to understand how she could change her ideas so fundamentally when she was about thirty.

    Teresa Maria Carini was born on August 27, 1863, in the village of Fontanellato, in the new province of Reggio-Emilia in the newly founded Kingdom of Italy, in the shadow of a famous feudal castle, the Rocca of the Sanvitales, a family of the upper nobility (of which her family was a dependent), who in the...

  14. INDEX
    (pp. 195-198)