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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 3: Female Representation in Poe, Baudelaire and Machado de Assis as a Metaphor of Cultural Liberty in Contexts of Literary Imitation

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CHAPTER 3

Female Representation in Poe, Baudelaire and Machado de Assis as a Metaphor of Cultural Liberty in Contexts of Literary Imitation

In this chapter, I will analyse Machado de Assis’s emulation of Edgar Allan Poe when it comes to the representation of the female figure as a metaphor of cultural liberty in non-hegemonic contexts. The analysis of ‘Capítulo dos Chapéus’ [‘A Chapter of Hats’] (1884) by Machado will show that both him and Poe saw the female figure as a representative of modernity, and a metaphor for the criticism against the European components of both Brazilian and North American literature. Machado’s emulation of Poe is, once again, based on the parody of Baudelaire’s perception on the female figure in its association with modernity and cultural liberty, something Machado will criticize in ‘A Chapter of Hats’, written in the end of the nineteenth century, which signals the moment of a turning point in Brazilian culture.

In the first chapter, I described the similarities between Machado and Poe when it comes to the representation of Brazilian and North American cosmopolitan cities as imitations of European cities, a perception that arises from Gogol’s ‘Nevsky Prospect’. Both Poe and Machado use this representation as a way to criticize the tendency of imitating European literature, which is analysed in the second chapter as a hindrance for the establishment of a Pan-American identity. This chapter brings a discussion regarding the female figure as...

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