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The Backlands are Everywhere but not in the City

Discourses on sertão and the City in Brazilian Literature

Carolina Correia dos Santos    Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil    



This article analyses two examples of Brazilian literature, João Guimarães Rosa’s Grande sertão: veredas and João Antônio’s “Abraçado ao meu rancor”. Whereas the first narrates the sertão, “Abraçado ao meu rancor” is entirely dedicated to the metropolis of São Paulo. This article aims to display a series of resemblances between the two pieces that tend to disrupt an old but still active axiom of Brazilian social thought: the dichotomy between the country (sertão) and the city. The analysis begins by building up the distinction between the sertão and the city as it appears in most Brazilian literature and literary criticism. This opposition leads to a series of other constitutive polarities, such as development/underdevelopment, nature/culture, faith/reason. Through a reading of Rosa’s novel and Antônio’s story, this article will then juxtapose the sertão and the city showing how oppositions that have sustained so much of the Brazilian social thought are categories that need to be deconstructed.

Dec. 6, 2021
Aug. 2, 2021
Feb. 10, 2021

Keywords: Brazilian literaturePensiero sociale brasilianoBrazilian social thought| Letteratura brasilianaCritica letterariaFavelaLiterary criticismSertão

Copyright: © 2021 Carolina Correia dos Santos. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.