Rawet, Samuel 1929-1985
RAWET, Samuel 1929-1985
Born 1929, near Warsaw, Poland; immigrated as a child to Brazil; died 1985, in Brazil. Religion: Jewish.
Engineer and writer.
Contos do imigrante (title means "Tales of the Immigrant"), Livraria J. Olympio Editora (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1956, Ediouro (Brooklyn, NY), 1998.
Diálogo: contos, Edições GRD (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1963.
Abama: novela, Edições GRD (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1964.
O Sete sonhos, Orfeu (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1967.
Consciência e valor, Orfeu (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil), 1969.
O Terreno de uma Pplegada, quadrada: contos, Orfeu (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1969.
Homossexualismo: sexualidade e valor, Olivé Editor (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1970.
Alienação e realidade, Olivé Editor (Benfica, Brazil), 1970.
Viagens de Ahasverus à terra Alheia em busca de um passado que não existe porque é futuro e de um futuro que já passou porque sonhado: novela, Olivé Editor (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1970.
Eu-tu-êle: análise eidética, Livraria J. Olympio Editora (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1971.
Angústia e conhecimento, Vertente Editora (São Paulo, Brazil), 1978.
Que os mortos enterrem seus mortos: contos, Vertente Editora (São Paulo, Brazil), 1981.
Dez contos escolhidos, Horizonte Editora em convénio como Instituto Nacional do Livro (Brasilia, Brazil), 1982.
The Prophet, and Other Stories, translated and with an introduction by Nelson H. Vieira, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1998.
Hailed as a pioneer of modern Brazilian-Jewish literature, Samuel Rawet wrote short stories and novellas that explored themes of alienation and displacement. Born near Warsaw, Poland, Rawet made the Roman Catholic country of Brazil his adopted home, yet his writing reveals a strong sense of otherness within this larger society. As his English translator Nelson H. Vieira noted in an essay posted on the Brown University Web site, Rawet "questions the behavior shown toward some 'ethnic others,' who do not reflect Brazil's predominantly Christian culture and its traditional mores. In other words, on the deep structural level, Rawet's stories address the difficulties of reconciling Jewish beliefs and culture with Brazilian nationalist and cultural norms."
Rawet moved to Brazil at age seven. Trained as an engineer, he lived in Rio de Janeiro until 1957, when he moved to the new national capital, Brasilia, to help design and build its infrastructure. His life was isolated; the writer lived alone and rarely traveled. His first collection of stories, Contos do imigrante, is considered a landmark. Rawet's stories not only introduce themes of Jewish experience in Brazil, but also use those themes to challenge the common idea of Brazil, or even all of Latin America, as a single cultural entity.
The Prophet, and Other Stories, the first book to present English translations of Rawet's work, includes twelve stories published between 1956 and 1969. Critic Naomi Lindstrom in World Literature Today found the stories to contain "highly imaginative and occasionally playful elements," surprising given the context of Rawet's social isolation. Lindstrom pointed out that dream imagery and a "wild profusion of intermingled narrative fragments" in "The Seven Dreams" and mystical and fantastic elements in "Johnny Golem" contrast sharply with the more realistic works in the volume.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
World Literature Today, spring, 1999, Naomi Lindstrom, review of The Prophet, and Other Stories, p. 318.