IN recent years, Brazilian literature has become exportable. Our greatest present writer, Joao Guimaraes Rosa— difficult as he must be to translate—has reached bookshops in the United States, France and Germany. Success is accepted by men and nations as their due; Americans take theirs for granted. But American readers will find in Moog's book many a penetrating observation about themselves—how facts as impersonal as geography or as subjective as religion may cree totally different possibilities for human beings fundamentally the same.
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IN recent years, Brazilian literature has become exportable. Our greatest present writer, Joao Guimaraes Rosa— difficult as he must be to translate—has reached bookshops in the United States, France and Germany. Success is accepted by men and nations as their due; Americans take theirs for granted.
But American readers will find in Moog's book many a penetrating observation about themselves—how facts as impersonal as geography or as subjective as religion may cree totally different possibilities for human beings fundamentally the same.
THOSE same readers will certainly feel that Brazilians don't take for granted their stubborn underdevelopment. In fact, as the book proves, they are facing their own backwardness so clearly and dispassionately that it is aiready outside them, something which has been made external and therefore easier to alter. Were he updating this book today, Vianna Moog would be at pains to explain the political uneasiness we have suffered since President Janio Quadros resigned his post in August, Here again, Brazilian books help to dissipate the fear that we might be meekly accepting army rule for the next 10 years.
These books cut across the generations. Both reveal the same yearning for a politicaliy mature country. The situation may be old, but these indignant books which the army, willynilly, is tolerating are a new and hopeful sign. AND novelists go on working. Practically the opposite could be said of Clarice Lispector's short stories and novels. We never even get to know the name of the heroine. She's just G. She is economically independent, she has no husband or children and when she puts an elegant stop to a love affair her former lover is sure to become a new friend.
On the day we meet her at breakfast she's feeling even freer, for her servant has left her the day before. She loves cleaning up the house and there is the servant's room to put in order, to air, to scrub. Holding the heroine's hand she asks for the reader's hand to help her face the horror to come , we leave her penthouse apartment and follow her into the servant's room.
It is white, spotless, clean—unencumbered as the room of some dangerous inmate in a sanitarium. On the glaring white wall the servant had drawn with a piece of coal the images of a man, woman and dog.
The old wardrobe is glinting, almost quivering under the sunshine. I risk misleading the reader by suppressing the swelling rhythm of G. The old wardrobe in that stately and immaculate servant's room yields life, in the shape of a cockroach. One recalls Angela of Foligno and other medieval saints who—so much against our modern grain — never thought of trying to heal leprosy, but concentrated on loving and kissing the lepers, on identifying themselves with God in his most distressing works.
Americans, unfortunately, have yet to read Clarice Lispector's books. Ten years ago the French had already translated her first novel. Let me end on a personal note. It has now been issued in a 16volume edition—to good reviews and excellent sales. This prompts a final observation on the growing importance of books in this country.
Despite our inflation, our political worries and the still ugly rate of illiteracy a full 40 per cent , publishing ventures in Brazil are doing well. Sets of books offered here to installment buyers are moving as fast as television sets. Archives Literary Letter From Brazil. See the article in its original context from December 27, , Page Buy Reprints.
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Regional Disparities in a Large, Upper-Income Developing Country
Some claim they were taught at school that the English gave America their work ethic, sense of citizenship, efficient Anglo-Saxon legal system and of course the English language, whereas the Portuguese exploiters lumbered Brazil with their bureaucracy, their inefficient Napoleonic law code and a language no one wants to speak. Rather like the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville before him, Moog, a Brazilian of German extraction, visited America to study its success and came away impressed with its self-governing ability, its sense of public duty and its notion of the common good. Another cause of Brazil's inequalities, says Mr Buarque, is the way Brazil's land was carved up between a few big landlords, whereas America distributed its land in small pieces. Yet another is Brazil's tradition of dictatorship, from which it last emerged only 18 years ago, compared with America's centuries of unbroken democracy. It was not as a nation prepared to sacrifice everything for economic progress, as America was.
Bandeirantes e pioneiros : paralelo entre duas culturas
Catalog Record: An interpretation of Brazilian literature | HathiTrust Digital Library