Andrade, Oswald de (1890–1954)

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Andrade, Oswald de (1890–1954)

Oswald de Andrade (b. 11 January 1890; d. 22 October 1954), Brazilian writer and intellectual. As a theoretician of Brazil's social and aesthetic modernization, Andrade was a leading contributor to the Brazilian modernist movement in the arts and culture, initiated formally by the Modern Art Week held in February 1922 in São Paulo, which he helped to plan. His principal modernist contributions are the "Manifesto da poesia pau Brasil" (1924; Brazilwood Manifesto), whose ideas inspired the cubistic geometrism and "constructive innocence" of Tarsila do Amaral's canvases of the mid-1920s—and the "Manifesto antropófago" (1928; Cannibal Manifesto), which led to the founding of a national vanguardist movement whose model of "devouring assimilation" of foreign influence under the totem of the cannibal tribes who devoured Europeans was summarized in the aphorism "Tupy or not Tupy, that is the question." The Antropofagia movement—again paralleled in the plastic arts by Amaral's paintings—created a paradoxical telluric and vanguardist model for resolving the dialectic between national and foreign cultural influences.

Andrade's early years reflect the transition from Brazil's belle époque aesthetic to modernism. A graduate of São Bento Seminary and the Largo de São Francisco Law School, Andrade began his literary career as a journalist and contributor to fin-de-siècle and premodernist magazines (O Pirralho, Papel e Tinta), in which he introduced Italo-Paulista dialect. With Guilherme de Almeida he wrote two plays in French in 1916. His premodernist life is fictionalized in A trilogia do exílio, later published as Os condenados, and in the collective diary O perfeito cozinheiro das almas deste mundo. During the 1920s he spent much of his time in Paris with Amaral and her circle. Influenced by cubism and the poetic prose of Blaise Cendrars, his early modernist work includes two "inventions" combining fragmented poetry with prose, Memórias sentimentais de João Miramar (1924) and Serafim Ponte Grande (1933); the poetry collection Pau Brasil (1925); and the two manifestos.

Andrade also wrote expressionistic drama (O homem e o cavallo; O rei da Vela; A morta), followed by the social mural novels in the series Marco-Zero. His works after 1945 include poetry ("Cântico dos cânticos para flauta e violão") and essays on literature, culture, and philosophy addressing utopian themes. In the 1960s his work began to receive critical reevaluation, culminating in the current recognition of his texts as foundations of Brazil's literary and intellectual modernity.

See alsoModernism, Brazil .


Oswald de Andrade is included in the UNESCO Archives Series on Latin American writers (to appear in Portuguese and English). Introductions to his life and works may be found in Haroldo De Campo, ed., Oswald de Andrade: Trechos escolhidos (1967); K. David Jackson, "Rediscovering the Rediscoverers," in Texas Quarterly 19, no. 3 (Autumn 1976): 162-173; Jorge Schwartz, ed., Oswald de Andrade (1982); and Maria Augusta Fonseca, Oswald de Andrade (1890–1954): Biografia (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Jackson, K. David, ed. One Hundred Years of Invention: Oswald de Andrade and the Modern Tradition in Latin American Literature. Austin, TX: Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Abaporu Press, 1992.

Schwartz, Jorge. Vanguardia e cosmopolitismo en la década del veinte: Oliverio Girondo y Oswald de Andrade. Rosario, Argentina: B. Viterbo Editora, 1993.

                                      K. David Jackson

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Andrade, Oswald de (1890–1954)

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