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From European Modernity to Pan-American National Identity

Literary Confluences between Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Machado de Assis

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Greicy Pinto Bellin

This book analyses the relationships between the writers Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Machado de Assis, showing their impact on representations of literary modernity and literary national identity in the Americas. The central argument is that Machado de Assis parodied Baudelaire by criticizing the French influence on Brazilian literature of his time, as well as emulating Poe by searching for a Pan-American identity in the representation of the urban scene, nationalism, the female figure and the world of work. Pan-Americanism emerges from both Poe’s and Machado de Assis’s critical reflections on literary national identity in non-hegemonic contexts as a way of deconstructing the idea of literary modernity.
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Chapter 1: The Representation of the Urban Scenes in Poe and Machado: Literary Modernity as a European Simulacrum in Non-Hegemonic Context

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CHAPTER 1

The Representation of the Urban Scenes in Poe and Machado: Literary Modernity as a European Simulacrum in Non-Hegemonic Context

This chapter seeks to analyse the representation of the urban scenes in Poe’s and Machado’s works, considering the existence of similarities between the two writers when it comes to the idea of literary modernity as simulacrum, that is, as imported from France. The analysis of ‘Alone!’ (1885) as an emulation of Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’ (1840) and a parody of Baudelaire’s Parisian Scenes (1857) will show Machado’s criticism of French literary importation, as well as his alignment with Poe’s idea of the cosmopolitan metropolis as an European importation. First of all, I’ll analyse Poe’s appropriation by Baudelaire, which culminates in the process of the French translation of the North American writer, and Poe’s arrival in Brazil through the Machado’s translation of The Raven. I’ll also analyse some of Machado’s poems as a parody of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil (1857), considering his criticism against the Brazilian imitation of French poetry in nineteenth-century literature. Finally I’ll analyse ‘Alone!’ and ‘The Man of the Crowd’ comparatively, in order to discuss the representation of the urban scenes as a European simulacrum in non-hegemonic contexts such as Brazil and the United States.

In Nikolai Gogol’s ‘Nevsky Prospect’ (1835), it is possible to find the representation of a modern cosmopolitan city that was gradually becoming an imitation of other European...

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