Mário de Sá-Carneiro and the Demons of Dance (Fernando Curopos)
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Mário de Sá-Carneiro and the Demons of Dance
The novelist and poet Mário de Sá-Carneiro witnessed the birth of twentieth-century artistic modernity when he moved to Paris in the autumn of 1912 for his first extended stay in the French capital. From there he would set out to spread literary modernity to his native Portugal by, for example, dedicating countless hours to publishing Orpheu, a Modernist literary magazine, which showcased, amongst others, the work of Fernando Pessoa – a constellation of modernity unto himself. The contributors to this magazine, known collectively as the ‘Orpheu generation’, helped to awaken Portugal from its semiperipheral artistic slumber and release it from the stronghold of the nineteenth century that kept the country, in António Nobre’s words, ‘à esquina do planeta’ [at the edge of the world].1 As rather conservative and outmoded literary and artistic movements like Saudosismo and Neo-Romanticism remained strong in Portugal at the time, Pessoa called for artists to ‘criar uma arte cosmopolita no tempo e no espaço’ [to create a kind of art that is cosmopolitan in time and space].2 Whilst Symbolism, Naturalism, Parnassianism, and Decadentism continued to thrive in Portugal, the winds of modernity swept through other parts of Europe, where a desire for novelty, speed, and the inclusion of the world of machines all signalled the way towards Futurism.
Many critics have related Mário de Sá-Carneiro’s work to the emergence...
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