The Brazilian poet Jorge Lima, better known for his relation with surrealist aesthetics and popular culture, wrote several lives of saints that depart from the Brazilian modernist context. Although Catholicism is sometimes manifest in his poetic works, these ‘lives’ constitute a point of antagonism for their informative prose and for their selective restrictions on images. By their supposed imitation of divinity and their abandonment of the self, the texts Anchieta, Dom Vital and A vida extraordinária de Santo Antônioare related both to the Spanish mysticism of San Juan de la Cruz, and to the Christian rhetoric of the sermo humilis as deployed by Jesuit colonial authors. The article aims to investigate some parallels between previous hagiographies and Lima’s texts as well as to demonstrate how these modernist ‘lives’ inevitably fail in their attempt to manifest their humble vocabulary and imagery, performing a paradoxical auto-hagiography.
Jorge de Lima. Lives. Modernism. Hagiography. Autobiography.