Desktop version

Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Age of Translation: Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates

Cultural and literary relations

The latter measures, in particular, had a direct impact on the cultural facet of the relationship between the two countries. By reducing taxes imposed on postal and telegraphic services, the 1924 postal agreement improved the conditions of cultural dissemination in both countries. It established that books, newspapers and magazines sent by the respective Portuguese or Brazilian publisher to the other country would benefit from a 50% reduction in international taxes. This resolution, which Carmem Schiavon (91) considers a “fundamental piece in the tightening of the cultural relationship” between Portugal and Brazil, would greatly contribute to their literary relationship by changing the bilateral book trade and reversing the role played thus far by each country.

In the early years of the century the Brazilian book was not known in Portugal (Schiavon 88). Literary contacts were mainly based on Brazilian collaborations in Portuguese publications, whilst across the Atlantic, until the end of the First World War, the Portuguese not only published their texts in Brazilian newspapers, but many bookshop owners based in Rio and Sao Paulo were Portuguese:[1]

in [the literary journal] A Aguia, published in Oporto (1910-1930), [Brazilian authors] Ronald de Carvalho, Coelho Neto, Vicente de Carvalho and Lima Barreto wrote alongside [Portuguese authors] Teixeira de Pascoaes and Jaime Cortesao. The journal Atlantida (1915-1921), published in Lisbon and explicitly self-entitled Luso-Brazilian, had two directors, [the Portuguese] Joao de Barros and [the Brazilian] Paulo Barreto [also known as] the popular Joao do Rio. It included contributions by [Brazilian authors] Gra^a Aranha, Afranio Peixoto and Tristao de Atalde. The same can be said of the periodical Orpheu [...]. Rio’s main newspapers, in turn, disseminated texts by [Portuguese authors] Alberto de Oliveira, Carlos Malheiro Dias and Jaime de Seguier, who in addition had a column in Jornal do Commercio. In the daily O Pais, Justino Montalvao’s column, Jose Maria Alpoim “Letters from Lisbon” and Santo Tirso’s articles stood out.

[n’A Aguia, editada na cidade do Porto (1910-1930), ao lado de Teixeira de Pascoaes e de Jaime Cortesao, escreviam Ronald de Carvalho, Coelho Neto, Vicente de Carvalho e Lima Barreto. A revista Atlantida (1915-1921), publicada em Lisboa e que se dizia explicitamente luso-brasileira, era dirigida a quatro maos, liderada por Joao de Barros e Paulo Barreto, o popular Joao do Rio, e contava com a colabora^ao de Gra^a Aranha, Afranio Peixoto e Tristao de Atalde. O mesmo se passava em rela^ao ao periodico Orpheu [...]. No Rio de Janeiro, por sua vez, os principais orgaos da imprensa divulgavam textos de Alberto de Oliveira, de Carlos Malheiro Dias e de Jaime de Seguier, que assinava, inclusive uma coluna no Jornal do Commercio. No diario O Pais, destacavam-se as cronicas de Justino Montalvao, as “Cartas de Lisboa” de Jose Maria Alpoim e os artigos de Santo Tirso.] (Guimaraes 256-7)

Besides debating the creation of a Luso-Brazilian community, the Portuguese made different attempts to reinforce transatlantic cultural contacts and promote a deeper mutual knowledge. After the 1910 “Acordo Luso-Brasileiro” conceived by Zophimo Consiglieri Pedroso (1851-1910), director of the Lisbon Geography Society, and following the suggestion by Alberto de Oliveira, the Portuguese consul general in Brazil, the Portuguese government approved the creation of a Brazilian Studies module at the Humanities Faculty of the University of Lisbon in 1916. The course started later than planned, in 1923, due to difficulties in appointing a Brazilian lecturer, namely the country’s participation in the First World War. In spite of the fact that the introduction of Brazil as an academic topic would help to enhance the widespread appreciation of that country’s literary and cultural production, Gago (1) claims that the Portuguese interest in and dissemination of Brazilian Literature started in earnest as a result of, mainly, the influential Portuguese literary journal Presenga (1927-1940), where Brazilian poets such as Jorge de Lima (1893-1953), Manuel Bandeira (1886-1968), and Cecilia Meireles (1901-1964) were discussed and novels by Jose Lins do Rego (1901-1957) and Jorge Amado (1912-2001), amongst others, were reviewed.[2] Indeed, one of Presenga’s co-directors, author Adolfo Casais Monteiro (1908-1972), complained in 1934:

I believe I am the first person in Portugal to speak about this book which is admirable for a number of reasons. Academies enter into agreements, diplomats make speeches, newspapers report on intellectual interchanges - but we continue to ignore Brazilian literature. Almost no one here in Portugal knows that Jorge de Lima is one of Brazil’s greatest poets.

[Creio ser o primeiro a falar em Portugal deste livro por todos os motivos admiravel.

As academias fazem acordos, os diplomatas discursos, os jornais falam em intercambio intelectual - mas continuamos a ignorar a literatura do Brasil.

Quasi ninguem sabe ca que Jorge de Lima e um dos maiores poetas do Brasil.]

(Gago 4)

The large number of articles on the youngest generation of Brazilian authors published by the literary journal Sol Nascente between 1937 and 1940 would also contribute to the beginning in the second half of the 1930s of “a new and long cycle in terms of the affection felt by Portuguese intellectuals towards Brazilian writers and artists” [“A afei^ao dos intelectuais portugueses pelos escritores e artistas brasileiros conheceu, na segunda metade da decada de 1930, o inicio de um novo e longo ciclo”] (Andrade 177). This journal, which included a column exclusively dedicated to “Brazilian Books”, became a mouthpiece for the principles and ideas of the new authors writing in Brazil - while, conversely, its (Portuguese) contributors also wrote texts and made drawings for the Brazilian journal Esfera, Revista de Letras, Artes e Ciencias, first published in Rio de Janeiro in 1938. At the end of the 1930s the poet Joaquim Namorado (1914-1986) finally remarked:

The most noticeable event of the last literary season was, for sure, the discovery of Brazil through its young novelists. Until then, Brazil was a distant country where a Portuguese full of open vowels was spoken and where people that we knew moved to, drawn by the dream of becoming rich. It was a country that was observed in and judged by the almost always half-illiterate Portuguese that came back from it covered in money and ridicule. Exception made for half a dozen mindful and well-intentioned people who have always strived for an intimate Luso-Brazilian understanding and some delicious scholars who would tell us about Brazil through spelling reforms.

But today the Portuguese have discovered Brasil: Jorge Amado, Erico Verlssimo, Gracili- ano Ramos, Amando Fontes, Jose Lins do Rego, and so many others, have brought to us the people, the streets, the villages and the cities of Brazil; the restlessness, the despair and the anxiety, the hopes, the lives of the Brazilian people.

[O acontecimento mais saliente da ultima temporada literaria foi, sem duvida, a desco- berta do Brasil realizada atraves dos seus jovens romancistas. Ate entao o Brasil era um pals distante onde se falava um portugues de vogais abertas e para onde iam pessoas conhecidas, arrastadas pelo sonho da arvore das patacas: era julgado e visto nos portu- gueses, quase sempre meio-analfabetos, que de la voltavam podres de dinheiro e ridlculo. Isto exceptuando meia duzia de pessoas conscientes e bem intencionadas que sempre trabalharam por uma Intima compreensao luso-brasileira e alguns deliciosos academicos que nos falavam do Brasil atraves das reformas ortograficas.

Mas hoje os portugueses descobriram o Brasil: Jorge Amado, Erico Verlssimo, Graciliano Ramos, Amando Fontes, Jose Lins do Rego, e tantos outros, trouxeram ate nos a gente, as ruas, as aldeias e as cidades do Brasil; a inquieta^ao, o desespero e a ansiedade, as espe- ran^as, a vida dos brasileiros.] (Namorado, 1938)

  • [1] See also Neves’ study Relates literarias de Portugal com o Brasil for particular aspectsof this earlier relationship.
  • [2] In addition to his texts in Presenga, which he co-directed, Adolfo Casais Monteiropenned two 1937 texts published in O Diabo, which are also amongst the first devotedto Jorge Amado in Portugal (Paiva 64).
 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >

Related topics