An important question concerning literary studies is the circulation of literary works beyond their place of origin. Many other aspects must also be taken into consideration, such as the asymmetric positioning of authors and their work in international circulation, which is conditioned by the relative position of languages and cultures in the global market. This volume focuses on literary and cultural circulation and includes essays that explore this topic through case studies, analysing works and authors from diverse literatures and cultures, and discussions of the theoretical issues surrounding circulation and all that it entails: temporality, place, method, material objects and concepts.
9 Comparative Literature and Literary Circulation: Reflections on a Critical Trajectory (Benjamin Abdala Junior)
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BENJAMIN ABDALA JUNIOR
9 Comparative Literature and Literary Circulation: Reflections on a Critical Trajectory
In Literatura, história e política (Literature, History and Politics), first published in 1989 (Abdala Junior 1989), I sought to establish critical foundations for the study of literary circulation among Portuguese-speaking countries. I was motivated by the comparative study of writers reared in the ideological atmosphere of popular opposition to fascism, during the inter-war period, who subsequently continued to produce works accompanying the ideological polarizations of the Cold War. In some ways this book represented the culmination of an intellectual trajectory that began when I was an Arts undergraduate in Brazil in the late 1960s and was marked by experiences of dictatorship, both in Brazil and in Salazar’s Portugal. For Brazilians, studying politically committed writers was a way of resisting alienation and contributing to critical reflection in universities. This led me to embark on a postgraduate project in 1971 on the work of Carlos de Oliveira, comparing it with that of Graciliano Ramos, the findings of which were later published in the book A escrita neo-realista (Neo-realist Writing) (Abdala Junior 1981).
From the starting point of Carlos de Oliveira, in terms of the teaching of Portuguese literature, I subsequently extended my studies to include the group of writers that Portuguese critics referred to as neo-realist. I felt that this was not an appropriate label to embrace the full range of anti-Salazarist Portuguese writers with Marxist...
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