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Literature and bourgeois ideology in Brazil (1856-1880)

Grant number: 14/10327-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): October 10, 2014
Effective date (End): July 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology
Principal Investigator:Leopoldo Garcia Pinto Waizbort
Grantee:Rodrigo Soares de Cerqueira
Supervisor: Leopoldo M. Bernucci
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of California, Davis (UC Davis), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/05214-9 - Literature and bourgeois ideology in Brazil (1856-1880), BP.PD


This post-doctoral research, initiated in June 2013, attempts to conceive the relationship between sociology and literary criticism according to some of Franco Moretti theoretical reflections. In a programmatic essay, "Conjectures on World Literature" (in 'Distant reading'), in which he outlines some points on the problems faced by the Comparative Literary Studies, Morreti writes: "That's why comparative morphology is such a fascinating field: studying how forms vary, you discover how symbolic power varies from place to place" (p. 59). So, based on this presupposition, this research selected a formal element -- the protagonist of 19th Brazilian fiction -- in order to study, by mapping its transformation throughout a couple of selected narratives and plays, the social and symbolic formation of a politically newly-emancipated society. Our independence occurred without the break the historical and sociological Marxist perspective deemed necessary to overcome a traditional social formation. Thus, it seems right to assume that, due to the allocation of the modern protagonist within a social logic that tended to see him or her suspiciously, the representation of the value-system they embodied -- mobility, dissatisfaction, ambition, autonomy, etc. -- could only be actualized after a long way; a way that involves equally both the development of the literary form itself and the social transformations usually known as the development of the competitive social order. This morphological approach also implies the redemption of the concept of genre, which can no longer be used as rigid correlation between the social-historical context and the literary convention that conveys it, but as a symbolic problem-solving device. Thus, the reorganization of formal elements in novels and plays of Joaquim Manuel de Macedo, José de Alencar and Machado de Assis provides a glimpse on Brazilian XIXth century ideological demands, whose main concerns are on how to deal with the introduction of a more liberal form of life. (AU)

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