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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.

«In this provocative study, Greicy Pinto Bellin tackles the received perception of Machado de Assis, the greatest writer of nineteenth-century Brazil, as a docile albeit gifted follower of French literary tradition. Bellin reads Machado’s critical readings and (re)writings of Baudelaire and Poe allegorically to bring out Machado’s project of a Pan-American literary modernity and national identity, where Rio de Janeiro joins forces with Baltimore to counter French hegemony.» (Odile Cisneros, University of Alberta)