A Ohio University Press Book
“In unearthing Brazil’s complex relationship with its past, some defuntos bring reconciliation and renewal to their communities; other do not. Either way, the otherworldly figures offer persistent critiques from the perspective of a not-so-dead past.”
The Carnivalesque Defunto explores the representations of death and the dead in Brazil’s collective and literary imagination. The recurring stereotype of Brazil as the land of samba, soccer, and sandy beaches overlooks a more complex cultural heritage in which, since colonial times, a relationship of proximity and reciprocity has been cultivated between the living and the dead.
Robert H. Moser details the emergence of a prominent motif in modern Brazilian literature, namely the carnivalesque defunto (the dead) that, in the form of a protagonist or narrator, returns to beseech, instruct, chastise, or even seduce the living. Drawing upon the works of esteemed Brazilian writers such as Machado de Assis, Érico Veríssimo, and Jorge Amado, Moser demonstrates how the defunto, through its mocking laughter and Dionysian resurrection, simultaneously subverts and inverts the status quo, thereby exposing underlying points of tension within Brazilian social and political history.
Incorporating elements of both a celestial advocate and an untrustworthy specter, the defunto also serves as a metaphor for one of modern Brazil’s greatest dilemmas: reconciling the past with the present.
The Carnivalesque Defunto offers a comparative framework by juxtaposing the Brazilian literary ghost with other Latin American, Caribbean, and North American examples. It also presents a cross-disciplinary approach toward understanding the complex relationship forged between Brazil’s spiritual traditions and literary expressions.
Robert H. Moser is an associate professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at the University of Georgia. His publications include articles, book chapters, and reviews in the areas of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Lusophone African literature and culture. He is the coeditor of the forthcoming Anthology of Luso-American Literature. More info →
Save 20% ($27.96)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
Portuguese and Brazilian slave-traders shipped at least four million slaves to Brazil—in contrast to the five hundred thousand slaves that English vessels brought to the Americas. Controlling the vast number of slaves in Brazil became of primary importance. The Unpast: Elite Violence and Social Control in Brazil, 1954–2000 documents the ways in which the brutal methods used on plantations led directly to the phenomenon of Brazilian death squads.The
History · Violence in Society · Criminology · 21st century · History | Modern | 20th Century · International Studies · Latin American History · World and Comparative History · Americas · South America · Brazil · Global Issues · Latin American Studies
“I imagine everyone has a center of gravity,” says Ellen Bromfield Geld. “Something which binds one to the earth and gives sense and direction to what one does.” For Ellen, this center is a writing table before a window that looks out upon groves of pecan trees and mahogany-colored cattle in seas of grass. The place is Fazenda Pau D’Alho, Brazil, where she and her husband, Carson, have lived and farmed since 1961.Healing
Gabriela Mistral is the only Latin American woman writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Even so, her extraordinary achievements in poetry, narrative, and political essays remain largely untold. Gabriela Mistral: The Audacious Traveler explores boldly and thoughtfully the complex legacy of Mistral and the way in which her work continues to define Latin America.Edited
Gender Studies · History | Modern | 20th Century · Chile · Americas · South America · Brazil · International Studies · Women’s Studies · Biography · Literature · Latin American Studies · Latin American Literature
Sign up to be notified when new Latin American Studies titles come out.
We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.