Brazil Literature – Symbolism

By | January 7, 2022

In the last years of the century. XIX, the reflections of French and Belgian symbolism extended to Brazil. Its greatest advocate was Cruz and Souza (1862-1898), a Negro, an unequal but profound and powerful poet; rich in musicality and color, but original above all in the interpretation of the sentimental and metaphysical pain that dominated his entire existence. Bernardino Lopes (1859-1916), a less vehement poet, of narrower horizons, a lyricist of refined and sometimes artificial elegance, can also be included among the symbolists. And, even more so, Tristão da Cunha (Torre de marphim), Mario Pederneiras (Historias do meu casal) and, above all, Alphonsus de Guimarães, who, after having sacrificed at length to Baudelairian Satanism, became a fervent mystic in Camara ardente and Setenario das Dores de Nossa Senhora. The theorist and critic of the group was Nestor Victor, a poet himself in his spare time. The Symbolist period was short, and its representatives were few, but it can be observed that it did not pass without traces in two of the Parnassian masters, Alberto de Oliveira and Raymundo Corrêa, especially in the latter; in many of their verses, the Parnassian “precision” is diluted in those vague and vaporous tones, which form the enchantment of the poems of Verlaine and Maeterlinck.

According to Andyeducation, the criticism, exercised with acumen and finesse of taste, but incidentally, by Machado de Assis and Joaquim Nabuco, is particularly represented by Sylvio Romero, José Verissimo and Araripe iunior. Germanic philosophy, the positivism of Augusto Comte and Littré, the evolutionism of Spencer, the aesthetic theories of Taine and Scherer, the teachings and examples of Sainte-Beuve, constitute the intellectual environment in which the three celebrated critics, like their Brazilian contemporaries, they drew on their directives, while reconciling and coloring them according to their own mentality.

In the field of history and political thought, Joaquim Nabuco, Ruy Barbosa, Eduardo Prado stand out above all. The former devoted his political activity to the cause of the abolition of slavery, raising himself to a perhaps incomparable celebrity as an orator, in the chamber of deputies and in public meetings, during that memorable civil campaign, which ended with the law of May 13, 1888. Fall, in the following year, the monarchy withdrew from politics, writing then his most notable works, Um estadista do imperio, Minha forma ç ao, Balmaceda, Pensées détachées et souvenirs. Ruy Barbosa, orator, jurist, journalist of extraordinary talent and exceptional erudition, divided his tireless activity between politics and studies, exercising an intense spiritual fascination on the generations raised or born in the republican regime until the end of his long life.. Of Ruy Barbosa, Eduardo Prado was a tenacious and combative opponent, but measured and aristocratic in temperament and style. For these qualities, as well as for the vast culture they reveal, his books have a literary as well as a political value.

And to these names it is still necessary to add, among others, those of Arthur Orlando (1859-1916), of Salvador de Mendonça (1891-1913), of Carlos de Laet (1897-1928), of Quintino Bocayva, of Alberto Torres, by Affonso Celso, by the great humanist Ramiz Galvão (born in 1846), by Capistrano de Abreu and by the baron of Rio Branco, masters, among their contemporaries, of homeland history.

The importance assumed by the parliamentary institutions under the empire, stimulating the natural attitudes of the Brazilian people to eloquence, finally gave rise to a good number of notable political orators, including the three Andrada brothers, the viscount of Rio Branco, the Baron of Cotegipe, Silveira Martins, José Bonifacio the Younger, José de Alencar, Lafayette Rodrigues Pereira, Joaquim Nabuco, Ruy Barbosa, and many more. On the other hand, the clergy, since the days of the colonial regime, demonstrated, together with religious zeal, a strong patriotic sentiment by taking an active part in the civil and cultural life of the country, in which, thus, even the pulpit exercised no small influence.. Among the ecclesiastical orators and writers we will mention the bishop of Rio de Janeiro Count of Iraiá, the bishop of Olinda Monsignor Brito,

Thus Brazilian literature, entered through romanticism into communion with the universal spirit, develops in contact with the great currents of ideas, assimilating and transforming them in a Brazilian manner.

Brazil Literature - Symbolism