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Brazil Imagined

1500 to the Present

By Darlene J. Sadlier

Publication Year: 2008

The first comprehensive cultural history of Brazil to be written in English, Brazil Imagined: 1500 to the Present captures the role of the artistic imaginary in shaping Brazil’s national identity. Analyzing representations of Brazil throughout the world, this ambitious survey demonstrates the ways in which life in one of the world’s largest nations has been conceived and revised in visual arts, literature, film, and a variety of other media. Beginning with the first explorations of Brazil by the Portuguese, Darlene J. Sadlier incorporates extensive source material, including paintings, historiographies, letters, poetry, novels, architecture, and mass media to trace the nation’s shifting sense of its own history. Topics include the oscillating themes of Edenic and cannibal encounters, Dutch representations of Brazil, regal constructs, the literary imaginary, Modernist utopias, “good neighbor” protocols, and filmmakers’ revolutionary and dystopian images of Brazil. A magnificent panoramic study of race, imperialism, natural resources, and other themes in the Brazilian experience, this landmark work is a boon to the field.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere

Title, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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pp. 1-8

This book originated in a plan to write a large-scale history of Brazilian literature, showing how different authors have contributed to ideas of Brazilian national identity. Had I followed through with my initial aims, the result might have vaguely resembled Peter Conrad’s...

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Chapter 1. Edenic and Cannibal Encounters

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pp. 9-62

When the Portuguese nobleman Pedro Álvares Cabral and his armada of thirteen ships left Lisbon on March 9, 1500, his mission was to sail to the port city of Calicut in India and bring back spices, silks, porcelains, and other valuable commodities.1 Vasco da Gama had opened the sea route to...

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Chapter 2. Paradise (Re)Gained: Dutch Representations of Brazil and Nativist Imagery

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pp. 63-105

Although images of anthropophagy continued to appear on maps and in other texts about Brazil in the early seventeenth century, it was during the Dutch occupation of the country that a discernible return to images defining...

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Chapter 3. Regal Brazil

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pp. 106-131

According to historian Oliveira Lima in his Formação histórica da nacionalidade brasileira (Historical Formation of Brazilian Nationality), the idea of transferring the seat of the monarchy from Lisbon to Brazil had been briefly considered in the mid-seventeenth century by the Spanish-born Luísa...

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Chapter 4. The Foundations of a National Literary Imaginary

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pp. 132-183

The sustained interest in the indigenous inhabitants by foreign travelers and scientific and artistic expeditions in the early part of the nineteenth century may give some indication why Brazil continued to be linked in the global imagination to the figure of the Amerindian.1 Yet with some notable...

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Chapter 5. Modernist Brazil

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pp. 184-208

Machado de Assis’s ironic observations about a Greek bearing a sword do not obscure his point that a major demographic change was taking place in Brazil at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1870, the majority of the estimated 10 million Brazilians were of African descent; by 1900, more than...

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Chapter 6. Good Neighbor Brazil

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pp. 209-233

In July 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first sitting president of the United States to visit South America. His trip to Cartagena, Colombia, was prompted by his determination to improve relations between the United States and Latin America through a policy of good neighborliness...

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Chapter 7. From Revolutionary to Dystopian Brazil on Screen

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pp. 234-273

In 1953, Carmen Miranda made her final big-screen appearance as a Cuban named Carmelita Castinha in Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s comedy Scared Stiff.1 Among the highlights of the movie are her performance of “Mamãe eu quero” (Mama I Want), her duets with Martin, and an...

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Epilogue. Land of the Future

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pp. 274-298

Brazil’s emergence as a global economic power alongside China, Russia, and India seems in contradiction with its daily media coverage of unprecedented levels of government corruption, rampant poverty, and widespread violence. Rio de Janeiro in particular has sustained several body blows to its...


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pp. 299-334


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pp. 335-354


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pp. 355-380

Color Insert

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E-ISBN-13: 9780292793958
E-ISBN-10: 0292793952
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292718562
Print-ISBN-10: 029271856X

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 79 b&w illus, 16 repeated in color, 1 table
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere