Readings on Graciliano Ramos’s Novels
Preface 1. “He is going to walk by groping his way around, hitting walls. He may get it right. He’ll get it right, no doubt” (Graciliano Ramos, “The Guy in the Drugstore”). Whenever possible, I have used existing translations to the original Portuguese texts. For those texts with an existing translation, I have included both the original text page number and the page number in the translation, separated by a forward slash (the number on the left corresponding to the page number in the original text and the one on the right to the translation). All other translations are mine. 2. I will be using here masculine pronouns and adjectives because all three protagonists who write (or attempt to write) in Ramos’s novels are male. 3. The historical event that Valério tries to reconstruct in his novel is the following: on its way to Portugal, the ship in which bishop Dom Pero Fernandes Sardinha traveled sank, on the coast of what is now the state of Alagoas. According to historical texts, the Caeté Indians would have devoured the survivors, including Sardinha. The notorious episode appears in the third book of História do Brasil (1627), by Frei Vicente do Salvador. Chapter one: In the Beginning Was the Lesser Being (And the Word) 1. “If we calculate that right, you are dead, Seu Varejão.” 2. “It will do no harm if you disappear. Because, properly speaking, you have never lived.” 3. The plural “we” in the epigraph is due...
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