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Joaquim Nabuco: Abolitionism, Erasure, and the Slave’s Narrative

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

Abstract

In his album, “Noites do Norte” (Northern Nights, 2000), Caetano Veloso pays homage to the Brazilian abolitionist, Joaquim Nabuco, in a manner that reflects numerous problems associated with the memory and marketing of slavery and abolition in Brazil. “Noites do Norte” is a reference taken from a famous passage of Nabuco’s memoir, Minha Formação [My Formation] (1900), which Caetano sets to music in a song of the same title (track 2):

A escravidão permanecerá por muito tempo como a característica nacional do Brasil. Ela espalhou por nossas vastas solidões uma grande suavidade; seu contato foi a primeira forma que recebeu a natureza virgem do país, e foi a que ele guardou; ela povoou-o como se fosse uma religião natural e viva, com os seus mitos, suas legendas, seus encantamentos; insuflou-lhe sua alma infantil, suas tristezas sem pesar, suas lágrimas sem amargor, seu silêncio sem concentração, suas alegrias sem causa, sua felicidade sem dia seguinte…É ela o suspiro indefinível que exalam ao luar as nossas noites do norte.

[Slavery will remain for a long time the national characteristic of Brazil. It disseminated a great suaveness into our vast wilderness; its contact was the first form that took in the virgin nature of the country, and was that which the country retained; slavery populated it as though it were a natural, living religion, with its myths, its legends, its enchantments; it breathed into it its infantile soul, its sadnesses without weight, its tears without bitterness, its silence without concentration, its joys without cause, its happiness without day after…Slavery is the undefinable sigh that our northern nights exhale to the moonlight.]

Keywords

Master Class Abolitionist Movement Gold Chain Assassination Attempt Foundational Myth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 15.
    See Bosi, Dialética, 1992, 197, 237.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    While Celia Azevedo, observes that Brazilian abolitionists perceived heterogeneous classes of masters and slaves as wielding an imbalanced society (Abolitionism 1995, 9)Google Scholar

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© Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond 2008

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  • Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond

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