Poetry and the Plantation: Jorge de Lima’s White Authorship in a Caribbean Perspective

  • Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Part of the New Concepts in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


The principal motif of Brazilian modernismo is the cannibal, a polymorphous figure that ingests and incorporates that which is foreign to it. In his Manifesto Antropófago [Anthropophagic Manifesto] (1928), Oswald de Andrade proffers man-eating as a metaphor for national character: “Só a antropofagia nos une, socialmente, politicamente, economicamente” [Only anthropophagy unites us, socially, politically, economically]. Though Oswald’s manifesto itself “cannibalizes” African and Indigenous culture, it does so by identifying with the figure of the “man-eating” tupi. Oswaldean cannibalism emphasizes difference and, moreover, gives precedence to that which is non-European: the “primitive” consumption of “civilized” culture. The trope of the cannibal as leitmotif of Brazilian cultural identity is by now a cliché, having been reinterpreted and rehearsed ad infinitum in popular cultural production and academic prose. It has also contributed to a misleading association of Brazilian culture with a kind of contestatory reverse anthropology. The pages that follow consider a different figure for cultural absorption. Instead of the indigenous subject who “eats” Europe, I will look at the Euro-Brazilian writer who “consumes” Afro-Brazilian culture.


Black Woman African Descent Black Mother White Father Slave Woman 
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  1. 2.
    Luis Carbonell, “Las Voces del Siglo: Estampas Luis Carbonell, el Acuarelista de la Poesia Antillana” (2006).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See Hilda Llorens, “Fugitive Blackness,” 2005.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Julio Marzan, “The Poetry and Anitpoetry of Luis Palés Matos: From Canciones to Tuntunes.” Callaloo, 18 (2) (Spring 1995): 506–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond 2008

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  • Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond

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