LITERATURE IN BRAZIL by Afrania Coutinho


Email this review


Now that Edmund Wilson and Lewis Mumford in The New York Review have been attacking the New Pedantry flourishing on the American campus, it seems fitting, since we live in the era of absurdity, that a heralded work from our neighbors in the South, Literature in Brazil, should state that ""nothing will be done of importance in the literary field which will not be linked to the university."" The author, moreover, not only looks with shining eyes towards the glorious accomplishments of academicians on these shores, but also, and perhaps all too appropriately, writes as if he were a computer imitating a professor, and when not that, a professor imitating a man. This is a sad, strange book, an historical survey of European literary movements and what they have and mostly have not done vis-a-vis Brazilian culture (""Contemplating the history of Brazilian literature, we have not fled into any pessimistic impression. It is a poor literature""). The book, incubated in the kingdom of dullness, animated by a litany of hard facts, and so scrupulously accurate and tone-deaf that any one of its pages, were they possibly a bit more repetitive, could be inserted into one of the lesser encyclopedias. The New Criticism is nominally what an author wishes to bring to his benighted brethren, but his author's geometric style, squared-off jargon, ""structuralization,"" ""periodization,"" etc., places him thumpingly in the milieu of the New Pedantry. Tristes Tropiques For the doctoral candidate in Portuguese.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Columbia Univ. Press