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 As he suggests at the end of his letter, the ideas he discusses therein are not only an integral part of his two (unpublished) introductions to Macunaíma; the book itself is the result of his effort on behalf of Brazilian identity and modernity.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)