Literary Profiles in the Context of Literary Criticism and Historiography

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by MARCIO ROBERTO PEREIRA , NA
Classification: For code -210399
Keywords: profile. literary criticismo. literary history. Literature. Canon.
Language: English

The objective of this work is to analyze the presence of literary profiles in the context of criticism and historiography. From the production of Araripe Júnior and José Veríssimo, it is sought to observe how these profiles were points of reference for the autonomy and identity of Brazilian literature in the 19th century. In a second moment, it is observed that, from a context of consolidation of the national literature, the literary profiles gained autonomy and were defined as important resources for the understanding of the literature. In this period, the production of literary profiles made by Álvaro Lins stands out, especially in his work called Os mortos de sobrecasaca, published in 1963.

               

Literary Profiles in the Context of Literary Criticism and Historiography

Perfis Literários No Contexto Da Crítica E Historiografia Literária

Marcio Roberto Pereira

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ABSTRACT

The objective of this work is to analyze the presence of literary profiles in the context of criticism and historiography. From the production of Araripe Júnior and José Veríssimo, it is sought to observe how these profiles were points of reference for the autonomy and identity of Brazilian literature in the 19th century. In a second moment, it is observed that, from a context of consolidation of the national literature, the literary profiles gained autonomy and were defined as important resources for the understanding of the literature. In this period, the production of literary profiles made by Álvaro Lins stands out, especially in his work called Os mortos de sobrecasaca, published in 1963.

Keywords: profile. literary criticismo. literary history. Literature. Canon.

 RESUMO

O objetivo deste trabalho é analisar a presença de perfis literários no contexto da crítica e da historiografia. A partir da produção de Araripe Júnior e José Veríssimo busca-se observar como tais perfis foram pontos de referência para a autonomia e identidade da literatura brasileira no século XIX. Num segundo momento, observa-se que, a partir de um contexto de consolidação da literatura nacional, os perfis literários ganharam autonomia e definiram-se como importantes recursos para o entendimento da literatura. Nesse período, destaca-se a produção de perfis literários feitos por Álvaro Lins, em especial na sua obra Os mortos de sobrecasaca, publicada em 1963.

Palavras-chave: perfil. crítica literária. história literária. Literatura. Cânone.

  1. INTRODUCTION

Considerado sob o aspecto simplesmente estético como uma obra de arte, um livro é um todo que se contém em si mesmo e por si mesmo existe sem nenhuma ligação com o mundo que o rodeia. Encarado, porém, do ponto de vista histórico, um livro, por mais perfeita e completa obra de arte que seja, é somente um pedaço tirado de uma peça de fazenda infinitamente contínua.

(Veríssimo, 1907, p. 167)

An evident feature in the history of literary criticism, the presence of literary profiles has as a method the analysis of a writer and all his works aiming at the dissemination of authors and books little known and/or not valued within a cultural context. In the case of known writers, there is a concern of the critic in aligning certain peculiarities that, seen together, form the style, concerns and dialogues that give contour to artistic production. This practice, for example, was very present in the critical activity of Araripe Junior, who acted as a precursor of this model of approach in Brazil. His profile, among many others, about José de Alencar was received with a certain strangeness by Viveiros de Castro, which generated a note by Araripe Junior in the second edition of the preface to the second edition of this essay, on February 19, 1894:

O que o Dr. Viveiros de Castro não quis enxergar foi aquilo justamente que mais trabalho me havia custado, - a história da evolução do espírito artístico de José de Alencar e, paralelamente, a morfologia, a filiação e a transformação dos caracteres dos personagens dos seus romances. Nisto residia essencialmente a alma do livro; relendo-o hoje, depois de doze anos, não o renego, apesar das grandes modificações operadas em meu espírito posteriormente, por novos estudos e pela meditação das obras de arte atuais. Não o renego, não só por esse motivo, mas também porque vejo que, sendo o perfil o primeiro trabalho sobre um autor nacional, que se escreveu no Brasil, aplicando os métodos de H. Taine, antecipava alguns processos depois postos em prática pelo malogrado E. Hennequin, discípulo do grande crítico francês e, ao mesmo tempo, modificador, no que ele chamava estopsicologia, dos excessos doutrinais do autor da História da Literatura Inglesa. (Araripe Junior, 1958, p.132)

It is important to highlight that, despite the methodological direction defined by Araripe Junior to build the profile, this was a practice that aligned several points of view on the literary project of José de Alencar.  Even using a scientific method, Araripe Junior, by privileging his critical perspective in literary profiles, such as that of Alencar, Ibsen, Raul Pompéia, among many others, sought to "acclimatize" foreign ideas to the national context.  According to Luiz Roberto Velloso Cairo "When studying the literary work, it was sought to unveil it through the knowledge of the personality of the author and the society that produced and consumed it. This ended up being, perhaps, consciously or unconsciously, the first objective of criticism." (Cairo, 1996, p.8)

After three hundred years of colonization, Brazil organizes a discourse, based on the reordering of an intellectual field focused on ideals of freedom and originality, and, mainly, of progressive distancing from Portuguese models and values.  

Stimulating the incipient national literature and promoting the registration of letters in Brazil, the romantic critics guide the literary taste of the readers and dictate the rules for young writers, by forming and delimiting the literary heritage that will be object of study of the naturalist critics.  In the History of Brazilian literature, by José Veríssimo, for example, most of the chapters are formed by writers of Romanticism, serving as raw material for the critic to assemble his analytical thinking.  If the romantics legitimize Brazilian literature, through the definition of the process of development of the autonomy of national thought, it is up to the naturalist critics to review the canon proposed by romanticism via scientificism. Thus, through the thought of Brazilian and foreign critics or the propagation of literary ideas presented in magazines and journals, the Romantics debate the direction of Brazilian literature, highlighting its origin and character.

With the winds of the Republic, however, an identification with foreign groups is sought through a cosmopolitan feeling that makes Rio de Janeiro the center of culture, politics and ideas in Brazil.

According to José Veríssimo, the band of new ideas that form the thought of the intellectuals of the so-called generation of 70 defined a modernism capable of unveiling the motivations of national culture.  The generation of 70, using the ideas of positivism and evolutionism, disseminates the intellectual debates of the time, such as the Abolition and the Republic, developing an evolutionary concept of History, which breaks with the concept of natural history of the eighteenth century, linked to Biology, Economy and Philology, creating the illusion of progress and identity with the new Brazilian nation-state, defending the ideals of the Republic and causing distance from the situation of a colony.

The intellectuals of the generation of 70, from a dynamic perspective of history, discuss and contribute to the formation of a new thought in Brazilian literature and culture, defining an intellectual elite that configures an illustration in the development of the national ideology. Machado de Assis, for example, referring to the poets of the "new generation", believed that this band of new ideas, would not be the main responsible for defining the national literary quality. When analyzing this new generation, Machado de Assis observes:

A geração atual tem nas mãos o futuro, contanto que lhe não afrouxe o entusiasmo. Pode adquirir o que lhe falta, e perder o que a deslustra; pode afirmar-se e seguir avante. Se não tem por ora uma expressão clara e definitiva, há de alcançá-la os idôneos. Um escritor de ultramar, Sainte-Beuve, disse um dia, que o talento pode embrenhar-se num mau sistema, mas se for verdadeiro e original, depressa se emancipará e achará a verdadeira poética. (MACHADO DE ASSIS, 1975, p. 241-2)

The enthusiasm to which Machado de Assis refers can be characterized by the need to formulate a concept of national identity that produces a dialogue between the European matrices and the Brazilian culture, consolidating the link between art, science and politics. With the reception of European models, the thinkers of the new generation make an interpretation of Brazilian culture, race and tropical nature from a syncretism of concepts, notions and theories that permeate the relations between culture and society.

The predominant ideas for this revision of the values of national culture came from Europe through the positivist doctrines of Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and Émile Littrè (1801-1881), the biologism of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), the determinism of Hippolyte Taine, the historiographical conception of Buckle, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), among others.

Historiography proposes a movement of identity and differentiation in the construction of Brazilian intelligence, reproducing the European experience and its relative adaptation to the tropics. As José Veríssimo says: the movement that I have called modernism and whose most evident sign was, like the European from which it originated, the critical spirit, gave the critics another direction and other criteria. (VERÍSSIMO, 1979, p. 275)

Thus, the practice of building literary or intellectual profiles can be understood as a preparation on the part of critics to become literary historians and compose literature stories that, in many cases, signified the remake of a career as a footnote critic or teacher. In the case of the profiles made by Álvaro Lins, the path is the opposite, that is, the critic will emphasize the importance of an author outside the context of tradition.

In the specific case of Araripe Júnior, there was no end to his career with the publication of a history of literature, despite texts published in 1886 in the journal A vida moderna and, in 1887, in A Semana, whose titles were, respectively, "Point of view for the study of Brazilian literature" and "Brazilian Literature", which discussed this possibility. There was no materialization of a history of Brazilian literature, as in the molds of Silvio Romero or José Veríssimo.  However, like Professor Luiz Roberto Velloso Cairo, Professor Pedro Paulo Montenegro also highlights that the "literary profiles" were an exercise for the refinement of Araripe Junior's critique. According to Pedro Paulo Montenegro, "starting from there is coherent with its tendency to genetic processes, with influences of biologism and literary biographism dominant at the time, Araripe Júnior plans the elaboration of "Literary Profiles", aiming the panorama of history and literature in Brazil. (Montenegro, 1974,101)  

In a way, this point of view follows Araripe Junior's idea of seeking "conscious literary products" that begin to compose the history of Brazilian literature:

O estudo dos documentos divide-se, naturalmente, em cinco seções: A) documentos relativos à TERRA do Brasil; B) documentos concernentes à invasão DA TERRA; C) documentos sobre a ação do homem e transformação DA TERRA; D) documentos atinentes ao FOLCLORE, tanto transoceânico como indígena; E) produtos literários conscientes encontrados no arquivo da história pátria. (1958,p. 494)

Although not effective, it is possible to observe that the path adopted by Araripe Junior for the construction of his possible history of literature comes from the process of "acclimatization" of foreign ideas to Brazil and its dependence, passing to a process of consciousness of a Brazilian identity.

This is the same path taken by José Veríssimo in assembling his History of Brazilian Literature, published in 1916, with the following subtitle: "from Bento Teixeira (1601) to Machado de Assis (1908)". It is clear that Veríssimo's intention is to emphasize that his trajectory will begin with the moment of emergence of a national "conscience" up to its highest point, when the national becomes "rare aesthetic sensibility" (Veríssimo, 1916, p. 389).  

In fact, the History of José Veríssimo is also composed of several literary profiles that the critic has been building throughout his career. Chapter IV, entitled "Gregório de Matos", for example, was originally written for the Revista da Academia Brasileira de Letras, with the title "Gregório de Matos", 3rd year, number 07, July 1912, pages 27-44. In the original text, the critic adds a short introduction that will later be excluded from the chapter dedicated to Gregório de Matos in the history of Brazilian literature and used in chapter III, entitled "The Bahian group".

Another example is chapter IX "Magellanic and Romanticism" which was originally published in the Revista da Academia Brasileira de Letras (2nd year, number 6, October 1911. p. 245-263), with the original title of "Magellanic and Romanticism". José Veríssimo takes full advantage of this article to compose chapter IX of his History of Brazilian literature. According to Veríssimo:

História da literatura de um país e história literária do mesmo não são, a meu ver, exatamente a mesma coisa, e era evidente para todo o espírito aliado e desprevenido que escrevendo aquela frase eu intencionalmente distinguia as duas coisas. Há nas obras escritas de um povo uma cópia enorme de produções que fazendo parte da sua história literária, que é a história de quanto ele escreveu, ainda com interesse prático e sem mira de provocar uma emoção, ou de exprimir a beleza, e sem a generalidade que constitui a obra de pura literatura, não fazem parte da história desta. A história de uma literatura deve, penso eu, e parece-me esta é a compreensão comum, compreender somente o que é literatura, isto é, segundo um escritor francês, “todas as obras inspiradas principalmente pelo intuito de comunicar a outro uma emoção desinteressada” ou, como disse excelentemente o malogrado crítico português Moniz Barreto, as que têm como caráter “a generalidade de pensamento e a generalidade de expressão”. (Veríssimo, 1907, p. 243-4)

However, it is in chapter X "The Proceres of Romanticism" and chapter XIII "The second romantic generation" that there is the most effective use of various literary profiles that confirm the process of autonomy of national literature from individualities and not just more dispersed groups or groups. In the case of Machado de Assis chapter XIX and Gonçalves Dias chapter XI, it is possible to highlight the maturity of Veríssimo's critical positions and their harmony with his definition of literature, outlined in the work What is literature? And other writings, from 1907, and his methodological introduction, dated 1912, which composes his History:

A história da literatura brasileira é, no meu conceito, a história do que da nossa atividade literária sobrevive na nossa memória coletiva de nação. Como não cabem nela os nomes que não lograram viver além do seu tempo também não cabem nomes que por mais ilustres que regionalmente sejam não conseguiram, ultrapassando as raias das suas províncias, fazerem-se nacionais. Este conceito presidiu à redação desta história, embora com a largueza que as condições peculiares à nossa evolução literária impunham. (Veríssimo, 1912,16)

It is evident, therefore, that the use of literary profiles in the context of the history of literature reinforces the idea of moments of transition of a collectivity, delineated by eras, literary schools, periods, etc., to individual moments and to overcome models and influences. According to Veríssimo (1977, p. 17): "Also in living nature, absolutely in the same environmental conditions, together with one of the others, different oaks grow in shape, some more alterative and robust than others".  This vision between nuances, about literature, produces a tension between the collective approach, inherent to the context of a history of literature, and a more detailed and individual positioning, more pertinent to the task of the critic. As Eva Kushner (1995, p.156) defines it:

Isso significa, ipso fato, o desaparecimento progressivo das visões monolíticas da história literária / história da literatura, em proveito de trabalhos mais restritos, coordenados entre si por uma orientação comum, que não impede, e até favorece, a abertura do sistema; esta circunstância, por seu turno, deixa uma maior margem para a colaboração do leitor, chamado a efetuar ele próprio as ligações, a constatar as lacunas da investigação e a procurar colmatá-las.

Thus, while Araripe Junior outlined his idea of the history of literature based on literary profiles and José Veríssimo, effective his History of Brazilian literature, using the profiles he had written in the form of articles in newspapers and magazines or in conferences, to mark important moments in the formation, consolidation and independence of national literature, Álvaro Lins recovers his critiques of the modernist literature to create a kind of history of modernist literature, published in 1963, which is entitled The dead of overcasting: works, authors and problems of Brazilian literature, essays and studies -1940-1960-1960.

Despite its long subtitle, the work makes its period of action and perspectives very clear. It is not only a chronological history of literature, despite the twenty years defined by the critic, which is confused with Álvaro Lins' role as a footnote critic, but it is an analysis of the formation of Brazilian literature from a modernist point of view. It is not by chance that chapter 30 of the book, "Por uma História Literária do Brasil e por uma Literatura Brasileira", works as a postface to the understanding that:

Os destinos e as paixões individuais são apenas símbolos de um significado mais amplo no geral; de que o homem se acha condicionado pelos efeitos de um estado de coisas de seu ambiente; de que a vida social encontra-se visível, atuante e determinante por trás do destino humano individual; e de que não deve haver nenhuma discrepância de essência entre a esfera da vida particular cotidiana e o cenário de fundo da estrutura histórico-coletiva. Para mim, isto não o esquecerei jamais, o ethos de um escritor e de uma obra literária ⎯ ethos no sentido da crítica alemã, importando a mensagem pelo artista dirigida a todos e a cada um dos seus leitores ⎯ não há de ser apenas de conteúdo ou de natureza estética; ela é de natureza humana, popular e social, como representação de indivíduos, de grupos e de povos, em estado de caracterização e nacionalização. (Lins, 1963, p. 431-2)

This position brings together Lins de Araripe Junior and José Veríssimo, who will have his legacy recognized by the critic as a "critic of interpretation and analysis, a debater of ideas, a promoter of problems and ideological equations" (Lins, 1963, p. 384) in which the critic was a magistrate and a professor. Thus, for Álvaro Lins, the critic from Pará would be the link between the consolidation of literary criticism in Brazil and the opening of new forms of analysis and interpretation of the history of literature. It is observed that Álvaro Lins highlights the profile of Veríssimo as a legacy for the twentieth century whose concept of "Modernism", used to define the ideas of the generation of 1870, is transmitted to a next generation, whose greatest interpreter will be Mário de Andrade (object of chapter 28, entitled "The literary leadership, the essay and the criticism in Mário de Andrade").

In this interval, Álvaro Lins proposes a different type of literary profile, no longer the profile of writers and their contexts, but the idea of a profile of Brazil, and its specifics, from a "literary history of Brazil" from exponents of national literature:

Ver-se-ia, por exemplo, o estado social e o espírito primitivo dos indígenas, em poemas de Gonçalves Dias. A questão do tráfico africano e da escravidão negra, em poemas de Castro Alves. O encontro do colonizador branco com o indígena, em romance de José de Alencar. A junção do português com as negras escravas, em O cortiço, de Aluísio Azevedo. A tentativa de ascensão social do mestiço e seus desajustamentos sociais, em O mulato, também de Aluísio Azevedo. O ambiente citadino do tempo dos vice-reis, em Memórias de um sargento de milícias, de Manuel Antônio de Almeida. A estrutura e o espirito da sociedade carioca no Segundo Reinado, em romances e contos de Machado de Assis. O episódio dos bandeirantes, num poema semi-épico do tipo “O caçador de esmeraldas”, de Olavo Bilac, menos um hino a Fernão Dias Pais do que um canto do bandeirante em geral como “violador de sertões, plantador de cidades”. Os erros na educação da juventude, como regime de internato, em O ateneu, de Raul Pompéia. A desgraça das secas do Nordeste, em romances de Domingos Olímpio, José Américo de Almeida e Graciliano Ramos. (Lins, 1963, p.438-9)

The above fragment shows a picture of possibilities proposed by the critics in their final work, a kind of cultural, political and social history of Brazilian literature, which has at all times a movement of contrast between the present (1940-1960) and the past. It is important to note that, despite having a "postface" with various indications of interrelated methods, the work does not have an introduction. It begins with the literary profile of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, whose homage and importance is noted in the title of the work of Álvaro Lins, taken from the poem "The dead of overcapacity", which is fully used with one of the epigraphs of the work of Lins.

It is in chapter 1, about Drummond, that Álvaro Lins directs his critical method for the valorization of a literary profile that is in line with his ideas:

Todos os movimentos poéticos estampam-se historicamente em certas figuras ou em certos temas que mais fundo se ligaram ao seu desenvolvimento. Talvez haja algum prejuízo nessa redução, porém se trata, de qualquer modo, de um processo histórico invariável, uma vez que a história sempre apresenta, pelo seu próprio caráter, certa tendência para a simplificação pela síntese. Podemos definir um movimento, sem dúvida, através de causas e consequências de ordem mais geral e mais profunda; isto significará uma obra de pensamento e de interpretação que se coloca diante de nós como um desafio. (Lins, 1963, p. 3)

The pole that irradiates the history of literature and, consequently, of criticism, will be certain individuals who bring together individual and social tensions. This method, acquired by the baseboard critics, whose objective is to almost specifically analyze the work and the writer in the context of the newspaper and of a restricted space, establishes the bases for Álvaro Lins to start from the specific towards broader paths. Certainly, a twenty-year assessment of the Brazilian Modernist Movement (1940-1960) is confused with the history of Lins as a literary critic who, in the context of the book, can assemble a mosaic with fragments resulting from the critique of the baseboard.  Álvaro Lins, as well as José Veríssimo and Araripe Junior still lived what João Alexandre Barbosa called the "impasse tradition":

José Veríssimo terminava apontando exemplarmente a condição de impasse do intelectual brasileiro que, depois da transformação republicana, procurasse formular uma linguagem de compreensão e análise do país: a desilusão para com o novo poder político e a invenção de uma linguagem que não apenas o tornasse distante, como a irônico/cética, mas que a incorporasse criativamente. (1974, p. 129)

Analyzing the profiles highlighted in the context of The Overcast Dead, it is observed that the direction is aimed at the insertion of writers and intellectuals among a context that treats the work as an artistic manifestation inserted in various instances: social, intellectual, historical, among others. This was also one of Araripe Junior's concerns, as he observed the outline of the profile, for example, of José de Anchieta:

1a. PARTE. - MISTICISMO. 269 I- A Alma de Loiola. - Evolução do pensamento de Loiola. - Onde o gênio do mal? - Metodologistas. - Opiniões sobre a Companhia de Jesus, de Pascal e Augusto Comte. II- Nas mãos dos Padres. - Como, porque e para que os jesuítas fabricavam anjos. - Gênese de um poeta. - Misticismo infantil de Anchieta. - O Canário. III- Tristeza Segundo Deus. A doença do Santíssimo Sacramento. Culto de Anchieta pela humanidade de Deus e sua adoração por Maria. - Hipnose claustral. IV- No Oceano. - Queda psíquica. - Assunção. - Anchieta restabelecido. - Devaneio celestial. - Influência do mar. - Visão do Novo Mundo.

2a. PARTE. - OBNUBILAÇÃO I- S. Vicente. Piratininga. - O novo Adão, na frase do Padre Vieira. - Os jesuítas no Brasil. - Missões no Paraguai. - A barraquinha de caniços. - Impressões da terra. - O colégio de São Paulo. - Processos hipnóticos de Anchieta na catequese dos índios. - Pedagogia angélica. - Festas, folguedos, autos, farsas, diálogos, sermões. - Estética anchietana. - O sermão de São Paulo. II- Na Floresta. - Refém dos Tamoios. - O gênio da guerra selvagem. - O taumaturgo. - Mitologia tupi. - Anchieta em comunhão com a terra. - Como o catequista põe a seu serviço a feitiçaria indígena. - Versus pajé. III- Exteriorização da Força do Catequista. - Fenômenos miraculares. - Hipnose. - Levitação. - Telepatia. - Poder de Anchieta sobre os homens, sobre as feras, sobre a flora. - Realização do mito de Orfeu. - O segredo da sua organização moral. - O Poema da Virgem.

3a. PARTE - NATURALISMO I- O Teólogo. - 1564 a 1566. II- O Administrador. - 1567 a 1587. III- Últimos Dias de Um Pensador e Filósofo. IV- Transformação do Místico no Profundo Conhecedor das Leis Naturais.  (1963: III,237-238).

The above scheme, according to Professor Luiz Roberto Velloso Cairo, published on June 28, 1897 with the title "Anchieta", was not materialized, but shows the nature of a literary profile that is very close, to the intention of Álvaro Lins in composing a global vision on what he calls a "literary history of Brazil". In this process, Álvaro Lins emphasizes that it is necessary to avoid seeking foreign influences in Brazilian writers but, on the other hand, it is necessary "to study them in themselves, in function of our environment, our ethnicity, our culture. (Lins, 1963, p. 441)

In 1939, in the foreword to his literary history of Eça de Queiroz, Álvaro Lins outlines a literary history focusing only on the work of a single writer. This monographic profile, also thought by Araripe Junior, used by Veríssimo and Álvaro Lins, gains even more specific contours in this work. These are the words of the critic in his preface: "Literary history does not mean, in the case of this book, a chronological sense, nor does it imply the didactic rigor of a method that the title may suggest to some readers. For those in this category, I offer, on the other hand, a chapter with the dates of Eça de Queirós' life and work". (Lins, 1939, p. 10)

In this way, we have a work focused on the construction of a literary profile that transcends chronology and is no longer part of a literary system composed of other writers or of a tradition. The irony of inserting a schematic chapter entitled "Explanatory Dates", to compensate readers who seek a chronological sense, shows the importance of thinking of the literary profile as an alternative for understanding the various manifestations and interpretations intrinsic to literature.

In 1945, in a note for the second edition, Álvaro Lins asks the reader not to be too demanding with the expression "literary history" door to deal with "an individual vision of an author who did not attach himself to any method or requirement. (Lins, 1939, p. 12)

In short, it is noted that the construction of literary profiles serves for various purposes, either as goals and important points within a tradition or as a way to organize the work of a particular writer, as Álvaro Lins does with Eça de Queirós. It is also noted that the concepts of criticism and literary history are intertwined by providing various forms of reading for the work.

In this sense, it is important to remember that Veríssimo uses many assumptions such as the valuation of aesthetic individualities, the permanent interest in the work of certain writers, the valuation of the most representative writers, among many others defining the paths for the construction of a critical thinking focused on the elaboration of a literary canon that was "quantitative" and "qualitative", approaching the ideas of Capistrano de Abreu who, in an essay of December 18, 1875, published in the newspaper O Globo, states:

Há dois métodos de crítica em literatura: o método qualitativo e o método quantitativo. O primeiro considera o produto e fixa-lhe o valor apelando para uma idealidade. O segundo considera o processo, o característico, os antecedentes da realidade. Um julga; outro define. Aquele procura a beleza e a perfeição; este procura o estado psíquico e social. (Abreu, 1975, p. 35)

Like Capistrano de Abreu, Veríssimo will act as a historian concerned with understanding the process of cultural formation in Brazil, inserting it into a multifaceted context. The interrelationship between the artistic process and the socio-historical process results in the definition of a method that links qualitative aspects to quantitative aspects that contribute to the process of formation in national intelligence. It is not by chance that Araripe Junior, José Veríssimo and Álvaro Lins reorganize texts already published in newspapers and magazines for their works and insert, as in the case of Verissimo and Lins, dates in their introductions or chapters, showing the maturity and refinement of their opinions.

The literary criticism made during the course of Romanticism sketches the first systematizations of Brazilian literature, recognizing the "Brazilianness" of writers who write about Brazil. The romantic critics, by collecting, cataloguing and recovering the texts that make up Brazilian literature, provide the first manifestations of an erudite culture that ratifies the development of the Brazilian nation, thus forming a corpus that will be revalidated by naturalist critics based on a variety of theoretical models coming from Europe.

The effect of this work will be the reconstitution of the Brazilian intellectual past through the formation of a "genealogy" of national literary thought. The nineteenth century, marked by major political and social changes aimed at inserting the country into western modernity, since 1808, with the arrival of King John VI in Brazil, initiated a process of institutionalization of Brazilian culture and politics that resized the national public sphere and imposed, from Independence (1822), new directions for Brazilian culture.  

An example is the position of Ferdinand Denis, and many other romantic historians, who, associating historicism and nationalism, found a retrospective sense for the analysis of Brazilian writers, combining national, originality and local color.  Through this conciliation, Brazil initiates a tradition that, until the beginning of the 20th century, linked Brazilian literature to the expression of nationality and the development of society.

The role of romantic writers, in reconstituting the national past through intellectual genealogies, is to initiate an intellectual organization. This will transform them into critics-historians, concerned with the development of the consciousness of culture made in Brazil, through the effervescence of romantic ideals, the conceptions that legitimize the native soil and the national feeling as a form of originality and affirmation of nationality.

The systematization of literature is made from the chronological point of view, proving the link between aesthetic commitment and local color when establishing relationships between the formation of national literature and the development of Brazil. Having its apex in Independence, the intellectuals of the time identify with the native groups from there the Indianism producing a literature related to the tropical world.

Through the woods, sketches, parnasos and florilégios appears, with Romanticism, the chronological systematization of Brazilian literature based on the biobliography of the most representative writers in Brazil. Throughout the Second Reign (1840-1889) some institutions, such as the Historical Institutes and Academies, are in charge of elaborating a new concept of nation. The romantic writers, through Brazilian images such as the Indian, the heroic past, nature in conformity with the critics, who mixed history and literature in the construction of a national imaginary, create a local discourse based on metropolitan values and considered universal.

The literary profiles acquire an impressionistic character because they seek to delineate a perspective that mixes aspects, generally unstable, such as the biographical, the artistic, the psychological, the social, the cultural, among many others.  However, they are configured as a more open approach to the various forms and contexts that literature passes through. In times of cultural studies and widening of the concept of what can be literary, profiles can acquire the nature of microcosms that function as metonymy of a tradition.

REFERÊNCIAS

  1. ABREU, Capistrano de. A literatura brasileira contemporânea. In: ⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯. Ensaios e estudos: 1a  série. 2a edição. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira; Brasília: INL, 1975.
  2. ARARIPE JÚNIOR, Tristão de Alencar. Obra crítica de Araripe Júnior. Direção Afrânio Coutinho. Rio de Janeiro: MEC-Casa de Rui Barbosa, 1958: I; 1960:II; 1963:III; 1970:V.
  3. BARBOSA, João Alexandre. A tradição do impasse: linguagem da crítica e crítica da linguagem em José Veríssimo. São Paulo: Ática, 1974.
  4. CAIRO, Luiz Roberto.  Araripe Junior: um Taine às avessas. In: Organon: Revista do Instituto de Letras da UFRGS. Volume 10, número 24. 1996.
  5. ________________. Araripe Junior: Crítico e historiador da literatura brasileira. In: Teresa: Revista de literatura brasileira. Número 14.  2014 
  6. LINS, Álvaro. Os mortos de sobrecasaca: obras, autores e problemas de literatura brasileira. Ensaios e estudos 1940-1960. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1963
  7. KUSHNER, Eva. Articulação histórica da literatura. ARGENOT, Mark (et alii). Teoria literária: problemas e perspectivas. Tradução de Ana Luisa Faria & Miguel Serras Pereira. Lisboa: Dom Quixote, 1995. p. 139-58.
  8. MONTENEGRO, Pedro Paulo. A Teoria Literária na Obra Crítica de Araripe Júnior. Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro, 1974.
  9. VERÍSSIMO, José. História da literatura brasileira: de Bento Teixeira (1601) a Machado de Assis (1908). 1o milheiro. Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Francisco Alves & Cia, 1916
  10. ————————. Estudos de literatura brasileira: terceira série. Belo Horizonte: Editora Itatiaia; São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 1977.
  11. ————————. Que é literatura? e outros escritos. Rio de Janeiro: H. Garnier, 1907.



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