Poetry and the Plantation: Jorge de Lima’s White Authorship in a Caribbean Perspective
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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.
KeywordsBlack Woman African Descent Black Mother White Father Slave Woman
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