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Volume 52 / Humanities



RALPH E. DIMMICK, General Secretariat, Organization of American States

AS USUAL, VERSIFICATION CONTINUES to constitute a favorite pastime for Brazilians at all social and intellectual levels, from the working classes to José Sarney, President of the Republic (1985-90), and a vast amount of this output finds its way into print. Not unsurprisingly, it is difficult to detect any single overriding trend in such a flood of activity. Retarded Parnassians and Symbolists flourish alongside neomodernists, practitioners of poesia concreta, and individuals such as Sebastião Nunes (item bi 90010962) who resort to every conceivable shock device so that they may be considered the farthest of the far-out.

In general, the most rewarding reading is provided by figures of established reputation: Walmir Ayala (item bi 89016981), Astrid Cabral (items bi 89003077 and bi 89003085), Mário Chamie (item bi 89016983), Ferreira Gullar (items bi 89003047 and bi 89003061), Hilda Hilst (item bi 89016947), Lêdo Ivo (item bi 89003045), Lara de Lemos (item bi 89016989), Thiago de Mello (item bi 89016943), João Cabral de Melo Neto (items bi 89003102, bi 89003043, bi 89016952, and bi 89016958), and Olga Savary (items bi 89003078 and bi 90006488), for example. Stella Leonardos seems to have turned from works of personal inspiration to pastiches based on delvings into history and folklore (items bi 89003076, bi 89003054, and bi 89003052). A figure who looms ever larger on the literary scene is Gilberto Mendonça Teles. A new volume of his collected lyric works (item bi 89016957) attests to both his enduring dedication to poetic composition and the skill he exhibits in handling the art. Public appreciation of his effort is evidenced by a huge volume devoted to literary criticism of his work (item bi 90006493) and a perceptive study by Darcy França Denófrio (item bi 90006497).

Scholarly endeavor has produced several works of note. The variorum edition of Martim Cererê (item bi 89003081) clarifies with fascinating detail that few authors have ever effected such frequent and substantial changes in a text as did Cassiano Ricardo in the case of his most celebrated opus. While Mário de Andrade tinkered rather less with his compositions, Diléa Zanotto Manfio's attempt to arrive at a definitive text (item bi 89016968) should prove of valuable assistance to all researchers into the poetic oeuvre of the "pope" of modernism. Those investigating the transition to that movement may wish to look at the newly collected works of Theodemiro Tostes (item bi 90010965) and the volume devoted to the previously unrecorded Parnassian beginnings of Ascenso Ferreira (item bi 90006509). Scholars concerned with less-familiar earlier aspects of Brazilian literature may be interested by new editions of works by Bernardo Taveira Júnior (item bi 90008575) and Fontoura Xavier (item bi 89003066).

The understanding of poesia concreta has been furthered by the issuance of the collected compositions of its leading exponent, Augusto de Campos (item bi 89003058), and new light has been shed on the personality of Bandeira Tribuzi by the publication of his social protest verse (item bi 89003062).

The centennial of Manuel Bandeira's birth provided the occasion for a critical edition of Carnaval (item bi 89003101), a collective tribute sponsored by the Univ. Federal do Rio de Janeiro (item bi 90008522), and an unusually perceptive presentation of selections from his work by Ivan Junqueira (item bi 89016949).

A few names of promise are annotated by the Handbook for the first time: Sérgio Antunes (item bi 89016965), Luiz Coronel (item bi 90006521), Lya Luft (item bi 90006502), and Heloisa Severiano Ribeiro (item bi 90006523). In an apparently new publishing development, successful writers of popular songs have taken to issuing their collected lyrics in book form. The most ambitious effort of this sort is represented by the volume put out by Antônio Carlos Jobim (item bi 89003036).

Regionalism has its stronghold in Rio Grande do Sul. A good sampling of gaúcho poetry is provided by the Antologia da estância da poesia crioula (item bi 89016946), and an extended analysis of its characteristics and development has been furnished by Donaldo Schüler (item bi 90006500).

Black writers are sufficiently numerous and active that a journal devoted to their efforts, Cadernos Negros (item bi 92014210), has published at least 11 issues. The sincerity of the protest which most of this output embodies cannot be questioned, but its literary value is less evident. That black literature is a relatively recent phenomenon is made clear by the anthology organized by Oswaldo de Camargo (item bi 89016944).

An analogous effort was undertaken by Bernardo Kocher and Eulalia Maria Lahmeyer Lobo in compiling an anthology of poems of protest written by, or addressed to, workers of the turn of the century and shortly thereafter (item bi 89003089); once again the compositions in question are of more interest to the social historian than to the literary scholar.

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