Literary Confluences between Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Machado de Assis
Preface and Acknowledgements
This book is the result of ten years of continuous research and discussion about Machado de Assis’s works, which resulted in my doctoral dissertation, defended in 2015, and in my post-doctoral research, finished in 2016. Throughout this period, I always tried to focus on the confluences between Machado and writers from different parts of the world, especially the United States, a relationship which is not very well explored by Brazilian and foreign critics. Hence, this book intends to fill this gap by establishing a dialogue between Machado and two other icons of literary modernity: Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire.
The comparison seems impossible or, at least, odd, considering the established critical traditions around the three writers. By the time Machado founded the Brazilian Academy of Literature, he was considered by Sílvio Romero, one of his most famous detractors, as having nervous problems, while Poe was an alcoholic and opium addict, and Baudelaire a true reveller wandering through the streets of Paris. However, the close reading of their texts in comparison with one another will show us the extent to which Poe influenced Baudelaire, and Machado emulated Poe to parody Baudelaire and vice-versa, in a literary warfare the objective of which was to establish literary modernity in a Pan-American context. And when I say Pan-American I am referring not only to Brazil and the United States, but to all Latin American countries that were subject to literary imitation and the problems related to the search...
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