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Volume 54 / Humanities



RICHARD A. PRETO-RODAS, Professor of Portuguese, University of South Florida

BRAZILIAN FONDNESS FOR the crônica shows no sign of abating. Once considered a minor genre, this brief composition combining elements of essay, short story, and news continues to appeal to neophyte and seasoned professional alike throughout Brazil. We can cite yet another best seller by Luis Fernando Veríssimo (item bi 93009857) and point to a reissue of all of Rachel de Queiroz's works (item bi 93009537). Another master of the genre, Fernando Sabino, has recently published two new titles (items bi 92017490 and bi 92017495), while his late colleagues, Rubem Braga and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, continue to spark interest as is seen in Em torno de Rubem Braga (item bi 93001535) and Auto-retrato (item bi 92017493), a collection of previously unpublished pieces by Drummond. In fact, evocation of the latter has become a popular theme among contemporary newcomers as is evident in Murilo Badaró, (item bi 93001536), Orlando Carneiro (item bi 92017504), Sindulfo Santiago (item bi 92017512), and others listed below. Another theme that occurs with some frequency concerns the lamentable decline of civil behavior in urban settings, a topic often coupled with a nostalgic glance back to less complicated times. That such nostalgia may be misplaced, however, is suggested by new editions of Mistérios do Rio (item bi 92017522) and Pernoite (item bi 92017510) where we find that even in the 1920s and 1950s life in Rio left much to be desired. Even so, judging from the fortunes of A cidade mulher (item bi 93009560), reason for optimism is definitely on the wane.

The crônica's adaptability explains its appeal to writers well known for their work in other genres. Thus, we find crônicas by novelists like Moacyr Scliar (item bi 92017503) and Clarice Lispector (item bi 93009558) and by poets like Vinícius de Moraes (item bi 92017513) and Ferreira Gullar (item bi 92017509), while the famous dramatist Nelson Rodrigues (item bi 92017488) and critic-scholar Guilherme Figueiredo (item bi 92017530) have also tried their hands with noteworthy success. Even a major voice from Brazilian modernism like Mário de Andrade contributed his share of crônicas (item bi 93009535). However, it is the genre's close relationship with the print media and questions concerning the significance of current events that explain the large number of journalists from virtually every major city in Brazil whose works are mentioned below. Their interests are truly diverse, even if, as writers, they often refer to the status of their vehicle, the Portuguese language, as we can see in Moacir Werneck de Castro (item bi 92017505), Danilo Gomes (item bi 93001535), Osvaldo Peralva (item bi 92017500), and others who decry the decline of literacy and the failure of Portugual and Brazil to agree on a uniform orthography. To be sure, there are other symptoms of modern stress in today's Brazil such as the problem of AIDS (e.g., items bi 92017500 and bi 92017491), and the scandal of street children (e.g., items bi 92017520 and bi 92017499). More fortunate children in dozens of guises comprise the topic in Scliar's volume (item bi 92017503). Other monothematic collections include Carlos Eduardo Novaes' humorous pieces on the recently divorced parent (item bi 92017496), Nelson Rodrigues' collaboration with Mário Filho on soccer (item bi 92017488), Darcy Loss Luzzatto's Italo-Brazilian experience in Santa Catarina (item bi 92017498), and Nelle Vellozo Fernandes' infatuation with Ilha do Mel (item bi 92017506). The American reader viewing Brazilian life will occasionally find him/herself under the microscope as writers like Novaes (item bi 92017491) and, especially, Flenora Duvivier (item bi 92017508) turn a critical eye northward. As final - and dubious - proof of the crônica's status among respected literary genres we can point to an exhaustive academic study, Adylla Rocha Rabello Almeida's slim volume on a single example (item bi 93001534).

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