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From European Modernity to Pan-American National Identity

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


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 2: Nation, Literary Nationality and Literary National Identity in Machado de Assis and Edgar Allan Poe


← 38 | 39 →


Nation, Literary Nationality and Literary National Identity in Machado de Assis and Edgar Allan Poe

In this chapter, I will analyse the problem of nation, literary nationality, and national literary identity by comparing the works of Machado de Assis and Edgar Allan Poe, as both writers reflected about these problems in non-hegemonic literary contexts. Machado’s emulation of Poe’s quest for literary national identity comes from his admiration for the United States as a country which, like Brazil, had recently become independent in the nineteenth century, and abolished slavery after the Civil War (1861–1865). Machado’s search for a Pan-American model is attached to a strong criticism against French literary importation, which can be identified in his short-story entitled ‘A Parasita Azul’ [‘The Blue Parasite’], published in 1872. The first part of this chapter seeks to analyse this short-story as a parody of Baudelaire’s Parisian Scenes, while the second part seeks to discuss Machadian emulation of Poe in respect to the search for literary national identity in non-hegemonic contexts, based on the comparative analysis between Machado’s ‘The National Instinct’ and Poe’s critical texts.

Machado de Assis and the North American Transatlantic Literary Networks in the Nineteenth Century

Machado de Assis expresses his fascination with the United States in the following excerpt of a chronicle written in 1878: ← 39 | 40 →

Que os Estados Unidos começam a galantear-nos, é coisa fora de dúvida; correspondamos ao galanteio;...

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