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Praise and distinction in colonial Brazil: the virtuous deeds of the nobility in the 17 th and 18 th centuries

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Clara Braz dos Santos
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Franca. 2021-06-30.
Institution: Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais. Franca
Defense date:
Advisor: Jean Marcel Carvalho França

In the mid-seventeenth century and in the first half of the eighteenth, clerics, religious and moralists, literates who had a great sociocultural role in colonial Brazil, produced a series of uplifting writings that has as axis the indispensable behavior of the Catholic nobility. Several were the praises, sermons, books of devotion and morals written to the inhabitants of the tropics, which dealt with the virtuous deeds of the main representatives of the Portuguese-Brazilian nobility – kings, vice-kings, governors, ladies or their closest relatives, archbishops and bishops – in order to convince the faithful of the New World, especially the nobles, to avoid sins and to act according to their states, so as to guarantee the salvation of their souls after death. In this former Brazil, Catholic, hierarchical and constituted of several sorts of people, social distinctions were naturalized, namely the cleavage between nobles and plebeians. The most distinguished were considered the best and should be the most virtuous and pious so that the order of the world to be guaranteed. However, the colonists' frequent search for royal mercies after the wars with the Dutch and the entries in the countryside in search for mineral wealth was not favored by the literate of the time, and probably impacted on the diffusion of certain values in their written. The thesis starts from the assumption that the uplifting writings were constituted as guides of behavior in colonial Brazil, at a time when the possibilities of serving the king and being honored were expanding in the tropics, making it essential to moralize customs, guarantee order and establish noble conduct. With this in mind, the purpose of the research will be to analyze, through the example of the virtuous deeds of men and women considered by illustrious people in the six hundred and seven hundred, the content of this noble code of behavior conveyed in the uplifting writings, in order to understand which moral values they should guide the actions of the nobles and be disseminated by them to the other inhabitants of Brazil. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/01498-3 - Laud and distinction in Colonial Brazil (XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries)
Grantee:Clara Braz dos Santos
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate