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Inter-American Literary History

Six Critical Periods


Earl E. Fitz

Inter-American literary study is an exciting and fast-growing area of comparative scholarship. The Americas are tied together by a common historical heritage and by a history of social, political, economic, and cultural interaction.

As a contribution to this field, this book brings together the literatures and literary histories of English and French Canada, the United States, Spanish America, the Caribbean, and Brazil. The periods focused on include the Colonial Period, the Nineteenth Century, Modernism and Modernity, the 1960s, and the Contemporary Moment. The author contrasts the different European heritages that were brought to the New World. In addition, the literature and culture of Native America is referred to in each of these sections that will be of use to the reader interested in this important topic, which we can rightly think of as the common denominator of all American literature.

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VI. The 1960s


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VI.   The 1960s

The 1960s represent a turning point for inter-American studies. It is during this decade that they move from the realm of the theoretically possible to that of full realization. For Latin Americanists in particular, the legitimacy, value, and potential of the comparative inter-American approach come into full view. Published in 1964, a soon to be influential essay by Brazilianist, Fred P. Ellison, demonstrated how a successful comparative study involving Spanish America and Brazil might be achieved (see Ellison, “Rubén Darío and Brazil”). Also appearing in 1964 was the English translation (Bandeirantes and Pioneers) of Vianna Moog’s Bandeirantes e Pioneiros, a ground breaking comparative study that had appeared in Portuguese nine years earlier, in 1955. By examining the development of the United States and Brazil as prime New World nations, Moog drew explicit attention to two intertwining issues, the nature of Brazilian identity and why our various American cultures had evolved as they had. These two questions had long concerned Brazilian intellectuals, artists, and political leaders who, by the 1950s and the post-World War II period, were seeking to make Brazil a major player on the global stage. For Moog, the basic difference between the pioneers of the United States and the Bandeirantes of Brazil is that “while the pioneers believed in egalitarianism, social organization, and the common good, the Bandeirantes,” driven more by personal gain, were by and large less concerned with these more civically productive issues (Fitz, Brazilian...

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