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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 4: The Brazilian Labour Market as a Simulacrum: Machado’s Emulation of Poe in ‘Father Against Mother’


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The Brazilian Labour Market as a Simulacrum: Machado’s Emulation of Poe in ‘Father Against Mother’

The first chapter of this book showed the ways in which Machado emulated Poe and parodied Baudelaire to criticize the model of cosmopolitan city imported from France. The second chapter showed Machado’s emulation of Poe’s perceptions on nationalism and the formation of a Pan-American national identity. These perceptions are clear when we compare Machado’s and Poe’s critical texts, as both writers reflected upon the constraints of literary imitation in a context that should search for its own literary identity. The third chapter focused on the representations of the female figure as another way to search for Pan-American identity, based on the emulation of Poe’s dead, young, and beautiful woman, as well as on the parody of Baudelaire’s perceptions on woman, fashion and modernity. In this chapter, I intend to analyse ‘Father Against Mother’ (1906) as the moment in which Machado’s criticism against the French simulacrum of modern cosmopolitan city reaches its highest point, in a forceful perception of a situation based on the copy of the British economic conditions that shaped the labour market in Brazil and the United States in the nineteenth century. Machado emulates Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’ (1840) once again to show that the world of work in a Pan-American context was imported from England, going much beyond emulation by showing the free white men’s dependence in relation to an...

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