Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This [document] by Mário de Andrade is a reply, dated May 20, 1928, to the letter in which Augusto Meyer discussed the former’s controversial activity, conscience, and references to national subject matter. De Andrade outlines his intellectual career—including his Parnassian French education—and his subsequent interest in the Belgian poet Émile Verhaeren and in German culture following his meeting with the painter Anita Malfatti. He also mentions that when he published his book Paulicéia Desvairada in 1922, his intention was indeed to trigger a discussion—through his “Prefácio interessantísimo”—that he hoped would encourage other writers to explore “modern” forms such as free verse. De Andrade admits that he is aware of his pioneering role, seeking breakthroughs, and expressing his goal of adapting the language to make it “more Brazilian.” He believes it is important to understand the primitive formation of nationalities in order to be able to use national legendary subjects to express local psychological traits. He stresses his unshakable belief in his right to freedom of creation and expression. He ends by saying that the “Anthropophagous Manifesto” (1928), written by Oswald de Andrade, was not unanimously well received by the modernist group, and he hints at the possible publication of his new book, Macunaíma (1928).      

Leia esta sinopse em português
Synopsis

Nesta carta, datada de 20 de maio de 1928, Mário de Andrade responde a uma carta de Augusto Meyer na qual este comenta a atuação polêmica, a consciência e o uso de temas nacionais por parte do autor.  Andrade expõe sua trajetória intelectual, a formação francesa e parnasiana, e depois a busca de Verhaeren e da cultura alemã a partir do encontro com Anita Malfatti. Esclarece que ao publicar o livro Paulicéia Desvairada teve a intenção de provocar polêmica e estimular outros escritores a desenvolver formas modernas, como o verso livre. Revela estar consciente de sua função de orientar e abrir de caminhos, e manifesta o propósito de reformular a linguagem, abrasileirando-a. Acha importante conhecer a formação primitiva das nacionalidades e se utilizar a temática lendária nacional para colocar à mostra caracteres psicológicos. Enfatiza sua liberdade de criação e expressão. Comenta, ao final,  que o Manifesto Antropófago de Oswald de Andrade não foi recebido com unanimidade pelo grupo modernista e informa sobre a possibilidade de publicar seu novo livro, Macunaíma.

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Annotations

When Mário de Andrade (1893–1945) outlines his intellectual career in this letter, he reveals the importance of the exhibition of works by Anita Malfatti (1889–1964) at the time (1917). It was a significant event for him; so much so that it led him to expand his horizons in terms of German culture in general, and Expressionism in particular. From that time on he became deeply concerned with authentically national forms of expression in modernist literature. As he suggests at the end of his letter, the ideas he discusses therein are not only an integral part of his two (unpublished) introductions to Macunaíma; the book itself is the result of his effort on behalf of Brazilian identity and modernity. It is in fact, a key modernist publication: Macunaíma: o herói sem nenhum caráter (1928) [Latin American version by Héctor Olea, Macunaíma (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1977; Barcelona: Anagrama, 2005)]. In this novel-rhapsody, the author creates a “de-geographization” of the vast Brazilian territory in the book through the combination of speech, terminology, flora, and fauna, all united by his imagination.

 

This document therefore contributes to an understanding of the literary aspects of modernist ideas that in one way or another are related to the visual arts in Brazil in the 1920s. 

 

The writer Augusto Meyer (1902–70) was a member of the “gaúcho” modernist group (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul) that also included Raul Bopp and Mário Quintana. His lyrical, memorialist writing focused on cultural matters and regional folklore.

 

For additional information, see by Mário de Andrade “Prefácio interessantíssimo,” (in Paulicéia desvairada, 1922) [doc. no. 781273]

Leia este comentário crítico em português
Annotations

Ao descrever seu trajeto intelectual, Mario de Andrade evidencia a importância da exposição de pinturas de Anita Malfatti, realizada em 1917, que o levou a se internacionalizar (especialmente pelo conhecimento da cultura alemã e do expressionismo) e, depois, a buscar a expressão nacional em sua litratura de teor modernista.
O documento ajuda a compreensão de aspectos litrários do ideário modernista que se relacionam à produção de artes plásticas.
O escritor Augusto Meyer (1902 - 1970) fez parte do grupo modernista do Rio Grande do Sul, ao lado de Raul Bopp e Mário Quintana. Sua literatura, de caráter lírico e memorialista, aborda aspectos culturais e folclóricos regionais.

Ver também:

Andrade, Mário de. Prefácio interessantíssimo. In: Andrade, Mário de. Paulicea Desvairada. São Paulo: Casa Mayença, 1922.

 

b- Cultura popular e folclore associados à brasilidade

b- Modernismo: arte e ideário

b- Nacional e universal

Revert to English annotations
Researcher
Equipe Brasil: Marco Andrade
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Credit
Courtesy of the family of Mário de Andrade, São Paulo, Brasil.
Location
Biblioteca do Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros da USP