Literature of Brazil  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Literature of Brazil refers to literature written in the Portuguese language by Brazilians or in Brazil, even if prior to Brazil's independence from Portugal, in 1822. During the 20th century Brazilian literature gradually shifted to a different and more Brazilian literary use of the Portuguese language.


Neoclassicism lasted for an unnaturally long time, stifling innovation and restricting literary creation. It was only in 1836 that Romanticism began influencing Brazilian poetry on a large scale, principally through the efforts of the expatriate poet Gonçalves de Magalhães. A number of young poets, such as Casimiro de Abreu, began experimenting with the new style soon afterward. This period produced some of the first standard works of Brazilian literature.

The key features of the literature of the new-born country are exaggerated affect, nationalism, celebration of nature and the initial introduction of colloquial language. Romantic literature soon became very popular. Novelists like Joaquim Manuel de Macedo, Manuel Antônio de Almeida and José de Alencar published their works in serial form in the newspapers and became national celebrities.

Around 1850, a transition began, centered around Álvares de Azevedo. Azevedo's novel Noite na Taverna (Template:Lang-en) and his poetry, collected posthumously in Lira dos Vinte Anos (Template:Lang-en), became influential. Azevedo was largely influenced by the poetry of Lord Byron. This second Romantic generation was obsessed with morbidity and death.

At the same time, poets such as Castro Alves, who wrote of the horrors of slavery (Navio Negreiro), began writing works with a specific progressive social agenda. The two trends coincided in one of the most important accomplishments of the Romantic era: the establishment of a Brazilian national identity based on Indian ancestry and the rich nature of the country. These traits first appeared in Gonçalves Dias' epic poem I-Juca Pirama, but soon became widespread. The consolidation of this sub-genre (indigenism) is found in two famous novels by José de Alencar: The Guarani, about a family of Portuguese colonists who took Indians as servants but were later slain by an enemy tribe, and Iracema, about a Portuguese shipwrecked man who lives among the Indians and marries a beautiful Indian woman. Iracema is especially lyrical, opening with five paragraphs of pure free-style prose-poetry describing the title character.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Literature of Brazil" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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