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Cannibal Angels

Transatlantic Modernism and the Brazilian Avant-Garde


Kenneth David Jackson

In the first three decades of the twentieth century, artists, writers, musicians, and architects from both sides of the Atlantic interacted to create a modern style for Brazil. Their works shaped Brazilian national expression and self-definition for the twentieth century and into the present, with renewed relevance as Brazil plays an increasingly important role in global affairs. Artists such as Tarsila do Amaral and Roberto Burle-Marx are appearing for the first time in museums in the United States and Europe, along with the concept of antropofagia from the «Cannibal Manifesto», a theory of cultural autonomy and a model for fusion, hybridity, and assimilation. This book offers a cultural history and interpretation of Brazilian modernism in the arts and letters, exploring how modernism depends on transatlantic negotiation and develops through interchanges between Brazilians and Europeans.
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CHAPTER 4: Transatlantic Voyages: Ethnography, Aesthetic Landscapes, Sonorities


Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken

– Keats

At this point in my life

I have a roving inclination

Like a photographer

– Oswald de Andrade

Jules Verne fictionalized the sea change in the nature of modern travel in his popular novel, Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-vingts Jours (Around the World in Eighty Days, 1872). Earlier travel around the circumference of the world for trade or exploration began in the sixteenth century, with the voyages of Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães), finished by Juan Sebastián Elcano, and the Englishman Sir Francis Drake (1580). By the first decade of the nineteenth century, circumnavigation took on a larger scientific purpose, when Ivan Fyodorovich Kruzenshtern sailed the Nadezhda and the Neva for the Russian Imperial Navy, introducing naturalist Grigory Langsdorff to Brazil.1 The Portuguese cruiser S. Gabriel ←129 | 130→departed Lisbon on December 11, 1909 for a voyage around the globe, returning on April 20, 1911 after sixteen months and nine days, traveling 41,981 miles and visiting seventy-two ports, including all the overseas territories at the time.2 The American Richard Halliburton is a professional traveller, who in 1930 flew around the world in The Flying Carpet, piloted by Moye Stephens, in eighteen months visiting thirty-four countries.3 As in Verne’s novel, the objective is rapid, horizontal, and intercontinental travel, whose purpose is not to observe or study...

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