Engagement and freedom

Edvard Munch, Jealousy, 1896
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By TIAGO FERRO e LUÍS AUGUSTO FISCHER*

A conversation about contemporary literature

1.

Luís Augusto Fischer

One of the less obvious entries into one of the most costly debates of our time appeared almost unintentionally in a public conversation we had with Tiago Ferro. It took place at a graduate seminar at Princeton in the fall 2023 semester. The seminar was titled “Insurgent writings”, was promoted by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (SPO) and was led by Rodrigo Simon de Moraes and me.

As Tiago Ferro is spending a year here, as a visiting researcher at Brazil LAB and SPO, we invited him to speak to the students. The idea was to talk about his two novels, The dead girl's father e Your terrible embrace.

An author's statement about his work is one of those things that needs to be considered critically, like any other statement, analysis, memory, in fact: Cum grain salis, according to the Latin phrase, “with a grain of salt”, that is, with a certain seasoning, a certain difference, a certain reserve. But there is always interest, as long as the author is an interesting person. That was the case. Work and author are worth it. This was clear from the beginning of the conversation, and improved with the students' questions.

After so many pages, a certain question led Tiago Ferro and a perhaps unexpected path to an answer. It was not a direct and clear question about the costly issue of our time announced in the first sentence. Tiago Ferro prepared a response that led him to the following idea: being a white, middle-class, cisgender author, he clearly realized – the words used here are mine, not his – that he did not have, in his biography or in his trajectory, no element immediately recognizable as a drama, a lack, a demand, a need for repair. There was nothing in it, therefore, that placed it in the position, or in the place of speech (to use the expression of our time) of a literature connected with what some call “identity literature”.

So far, no big news, but it was appearing, like the tip of a drama for the narrator of the short story “A fortune teller”, one of Machado de Assis's genius creations. Forwarding this reflection, Tiago concluded his speech with an unexpected conclusion: given those conditions, he realized that he enjoyed immense freedom.

Freedom, if I remember correctly, meant concretely not feeling the weight of needing to defend an idea, a position, for example the need to write a novel to highlight a certain gender or class oppression on a certain character, or to vindicate the value of life of a given figure. (Once again, the words here are mine, not Tiago's; I hope I am being faithful to the context and the moment.)

The equation was immediately registered by me: freedom of creation against the backdrop of a literary production that, after all, is also “engaged” literature. Our time has seen the publication, editing and often the success of novels (let's stay in this genre, although the problem goes beyond it) clearly engaged, or perhaps seen as engaged, in certain causes, in Brazil and abroad.

Broad social groups, such as people of African descent or descendants of indigenous peoples, are portrayed, their vital experiences are considered and recorded, and they are present in novels that are valued for this engagement, among other reasons. (In the USA the names for the literature produced in these areas are clear: African American literature and Native Americanliterature). The same can be seen for narratives linked to the LGBT+ world or linked to women's points of view.

In Brazil, the social topic comes more clearly into account: there are many writers who present themselves as, and/or are seen as, the voice of the social peripheries. In the USA this designation appears less and much more another slice of the current experience, which in Brazil has so far yielded little in terms of public books – the experience of recent immigrants.

The thing is – I need to close the first part of our conversation – it had never occurred to me so clearly to associate the already ancient category of “engaged literature”, which in my historical generation had a strong incarnation during the struggle against the dictatorship, perhaps especially in poetry, with current literature (I greatly simplify the issue to fit into an adjective) of identity. And I conclude by saying: what an unexpected and promising entry into a debate that is highly relevant in our time!

2.

Tiago Ferro

I enthusiastically received Professor Luís Augusto Fischer's idea of ​​establishing a debate with the intention of publication. Having said that, I cannot fail to mention that there is something obviously ridiculous in the fact that two Brazilians interested in literature, who know each other's work, live at the same time in the same university city of around 30 thousand inhabitants on the North East Coast. American, engage in a dialogue via email! Perhaps the freezing cold is a credible excuse for screen-mediated communication.

The fact is that I felt honored that an idea of ​​mine launched in the heat of a debate (in fact, excellent, not only considering the level of the teachers, but also the students) seemed to move the thinking of an experienced critic.

I remember well when the subject came up in the meeting mentioned by Luís Augusto Fischer. But before trying to get the conversation going, I would like to make a small correction to what would have been my idea. (Clearly, precision may not be on my side, but authority in this case is.)

Maybe it's really precious, but in the “transcription” of my speech promoted by Luís Augusto Fischer, an expression appeared that is not part of my vocabulary: “identity literature”. Not that it is necessarily inaccurate, but for some time now, the adjective “identitarian” has been incorporated into the discourse of the extreme right to attack agendas that emerged around the fight for minority rights. It is worth noting that part of the left also uses “identity” to disqualify, from another angle, if not the causes, at least their speeches.

Stretching the rope further, movements such as Islamic fundamentalism, as well as others that are not sympathetic to so-called progressive agendas, are also organized based on the recognition of traits that form (or create) an identity. Not to mention the most present and at the same time best camouflaged identity of modernity: that of white people.

Having made note of the poisoned word (or justified because I avoid it), I would like to reflect a little more on the freedom discovered by the white man's autofictional writing. It arises precisely from the unmasking of what is highly ideological in any projection promoted by this character (historical or fictional). If you try to establish some kind of historical meaning, the alarm of false universality or whiteness sounds. Therefore, it is a freedom that also implies a block: it is possible to be free as long as you remain in pure negativity. “You shall not engage!” says the commandment.

Even when it mimics the speech of a minority, it occupies space that does not belong to it in the debate. Therefore, negativity would be the fundamental feature of this freedom, if one does not want to perpetuate historical views contaminated by a series of historical privileges or cross undermined borders.

So, if I am not mistaken, and trying to be faithful to the insight initial, outside of any group that demands historical reparations or rights, it is possible to produce literature with a strong political content, but without engagement. (I obviously rule out novels that promote, without irony or displacement, far-right political ideas).

And here we reach an impasse. What to do with this political literature that leads nowhere? If the response passes a historical threshold, what does engagement mean today?

I confess that I returned the file to Luís Augusto Fischer with great curiosity for his answer!

3.

Luís Augusto Fischer

I read Tiago Ferro's text and soon after watched the program Roda Viva, on TV Culture from São Paulo, who interviewed actress and writer Fernanda Torres. A well-known, global figure, she was now invited to talk about her novel End, which has been transformed into a series by Rede Globe.

(It's not the center of the conversation now, but I note: without having read the novel, I tried the series, and found it hideous. Not only because of the total lack of verisimilitude of the same fifty-year-old actor playing a character who moves, in the plot, between the 20s and 60s, but because it is another case of blatant cariococentrism, repeating a South Zone mythology: a group of male friends, with women appearing as a complement, is seen over many years, with their ailments and emotions, converging all in the death of one of them. The praise for this plot and this series seems to me more like a cultural custom than a strong appreciation).

On more than one occasion, Fernanda Torres was asked to talk about this topic that Tiago Ferro and I are discussing here. One of the possible formulations for white, cis, comfortable class people, like her there and us here, came out like this: the people now speak for themselves, as seen in the podcast by Mano Brown, who she revealed that she listens to learn; they (meaning the people, the poor, the black people) are found, and we, the “libertarian whites”, are the ones who are lost – and this phrase transcribed here is almost literally her speech. White libertarians, for her, are people like us, who have been fighting for freedom since the time of the dictatorship, using recreational drugs or putting on plays, in civil life and in private life.

We are lost, they are found. The group of interviewers cheered along with the interviewee.

In an elementary sense, let's say that historical reason, seen from the angle of those white libertarians, is with them, the people, who now speak for themselves – they, who are not us. Until some time ago, she said and I agree, those who spoke for the people did not come from the people, they were not popular. She did not remember the usual exceptions, Lima Barreto, Carolina Maria de Jesus, nor did she evoke the long and wonderful lineage of popular song that has carried this popular point of view for many generations.

And since we, white libertarians, know clearly that the historical reason lies with these new cultural actors – or these old cultural actors who have now taken the floor in the expressive mediums traditionally occupied by us, such as the novel, our subject here – , what we do? And what should we do, assuming that historical reason is no longer with us?

A phrase by José Martí, a great Cuban intellectual that Fidel Castro and his companions evoked at the time of the revolution, came to mind: “It is impossible to resist the prow of ideas whose time has come”. I won't bother checking it out google if the phrase was exactly that, because even though it is imperfect in the evocation I make, it illustrates this perception, which Fernanda Torres expressed and Tiago Ferro and I somehow also have: we, white libertarians, pushed for everyone to have the floor, especially the weakest, the most oppressed, the most deprived of speech, which are concretely translated as black people, indigenous people, traditional populations (who have sometimes been called mestizos, mulattos, caboclos), women, minorities oppressed for reasons gender, etc.

For that time has come, including in the novel, a genre that was born vulgar, in the placenta of daily journalism, and which was ennobled throughout the 1930th century to become, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, an avant-garde fetish, later recovering its breath to dedicate itself critically reviewing the lives of those below in the XNUMXs, in Brazil and the USA, and then serving as a vehicle for a whole new round of interest in many parts of the planet, with, for example, the Saramago, the Pahmuk, the Murakami of life.

Fernanda Torres did not take the reflection in a direction that interests us here, perhaps because her novel, judging by the (horrible) series, remained at a critical level at the same time devoid of that white libertarian anguish that is lost (the narrative architecture and the characters are old acquaintances from the tradition of the comfortable classes of the South Zone, such as the work of Domingos de Oliveira da vida), and with no intention of problematizing, for example, the class structure of society, cultural domination (in the sense of Pierre Bourdieu) , none of that.

Which is not the case with Tiago, nor mine. We have not lost sight of the class struggle, nor of the social constraints that Bourdieu helped us distinguish in the mist of the social landscape.

I close this round with a somewhat absurd evocation: twenty years ago, 2004, I published a novel called Four black people (L&PM). The book was well received, it won an APCA award that year, and was even celebrated. But just look at the title, and now look at me: at that moment I wouldn't be called that, but I am this white libertarian, a cis man from a comfortable class.

Naturally I knew I was white and socially privileged; and I decided to give this title as an uncomfortable headline: there I tell the story of four black people, through the voice of a narrator present in the scene, a figure of a successful writer who begins by confessing that, after so many stories have been told, he comes across one that deserves more than anything to be told, but he doesn't know how. And then he starts counting.

Yes, it's a banal trick: turning the problem into a subject and even a method. The story I tell there, at the center of the novel, is largely based on a real story, which I heard from the protagonist, a black woman who had been given up by her parents to be raised by another family, but who, surprisingly for her four or five years of age, age, he refused to live in that other house and returned to his own. And that she was proud to have held together a family that had dismissed her.

The novel has not been circulating anymore: about four years ago, a new editor asked me if I wanted to do a new edition for his young publisher, and I agreed, leaving L&PM. Due to circumstances beyond my control, this new edition hasn't come out yet, and I'm still thinking about what to do. What stands out is that this young editor is black, a very well-educated intellectual, and the publisher is dedicated to publishing black authors; I would be published, he said, under the white quota. I thought the idea was good and boarded this canoe.

What does this story suggest? I don't really know. As a critic and teacher, I deal with contemporary literature, including that produced by black people, because it does not seem reasonable to me to think that only black people can approach literature produced by black people – just as it would not be reasonable to imagine that a black person could not discuss Shakespeare, or Cervantes, or Kafka. But in my short history as a fiction author, I've been stuck mid-gesture. For fear of being cancelled?

Tiago, say it.

4.

Tiago Ferro

I find humor in the involuntary expression that appears from this new division of the world proposed by writer and actress Fernanda Torres: “lost and found”.

His ideas interest me, since they synthesize something of what we could call, not without contradictions, engaged white thought. It seems to me that from the interviewee's “balcony”, it would be necessary to think about what it means to belong to the group of the “lost”, without ever having lost the very well armed social protection network (generation after generation) by friends, family and acquaintances, which guarantees , to say the least, a comfortable and stable life, even when not everything goes as planned.

There is no doubt that in recent years the middle class has lost certain signs of status and part of its financial security (the pressing of the fascist emergency button also has something to do with this), but, reversing the issue, the “findings” can state that Are they situated in a well-established and fixed position in Brazilian society, thanks to the accumulation of some cultural and symbolic capital? Just ask the question to know the answer... There are capitals and capitals, as Pierre Bourdieu mentioned by Fischer might have said.

But I would like to return to the issue of freedom within the novel, going back in time a little in the hope of gaining some perspective (or breath) as I am not sure of the direction of this reflection.

It seems to me that the emergence of a new reading sensitivity has shortened the distance between author and narrator too much. The difference in the part of responsibility (moral?) that falls to each of the two has disappeared. The difficult truth of literature is no longer surprising, it has become transparent.

Mário de Andrade, in a happy and well-worn verse, stated: “I am three hundred, I am three-hundred-and-five”. Colombian researcher and professor Jeronimo Pizarro mapped 136 “fictitious authors” signing texts by Fernando Pessoa, in a beautiful edition published by the Portuguese Tinta da China. And no one would make the mistake of blaming Machado de Assis for Brás Cubas' lack of character (here, not in the macunaímic sense). These are literary experiences from another historical moment, obviously.

However, today there is an effort within black and peripheral movements to reread the work and biography of our greatest author. The “Machado do Morro”, the “Machado da Quebrada” etc. appear. This public and militant effort drives important publications that seek the racial issue in the fabric of the work, something that the Marxist vogue framed in the schemes of class struggle and global capitalist movements, leaving the discussion of racism for another day. These were times of great hopes (and following great disappointments) for the Third World movement. By developing the country, the “social issue” would be resolved once and for all, and for everyone.

But whenever Machado is framed in some scheme, as Luís Augusto Fischer knows better than me, the author usually pulls the rug out from under fierce ideologies, whatever their nature. Historically, he has left criticism in a bad light, and has often revealed more about those who approach his work, and therefore the moment of social thought, than about the work itself. He has already been read as a medallion of nationality, an author committed to progress, a universal sage and also as an acid critic of the society in which he happened to live.

I don't know where the old-new Machado takes us, but when I read my idea that triggered this dialogue in the pen of Professor Luís Augusto Fischer, I understood that the so-called freedom of the white man, free from commitments to the causes of minorities, and without the necessary safeguards against negativity, opens the doors to fascist hell, or something like that. The irresponsible freedom to do whatever you want, as Brás Cubas did. Or the drunk in Quincas Borba who lights his cigar in the flames of a burning hut, paying little attention to the disconsolate owner. Or rather, more concerned with private property than with human suffering. The old criminal whim of Brazilian elites in dialogue with the advanced tip of liberalism, as well deciphered by critic Roberto Schwarz.

I'm rereading The way to Ida, by Ricardo Piglia, which deals, in a romanticized way, among other things, and with Princeton as a backdrop, about the life of Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber. Which makes me think that, if on the one hand freedom without any commitment in an unequal society can lead to fascism, freedom in pure negativity ultimately flirts with terrorism.

Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Javier Milei talk about freedom left and right. They claim that agendas for reparations for minorities oppress white people – in Brazil, identitarianism, in the United States, Woke, in both “cultural Marxism”. Freedom for them has to do with the historically powerful side, that of the white man, freely enjoying his powers and pleasures, even at the expense of the lives of others. Drink and drive, be racist, beat your wife, shoot the black man at your front door.

By going beyond the limits of literary form, and not without some fear, I come closer to some kind of uncomfortable truth for progressives (for lack of a better expression) like us: me, Luís Augusto Fischer and Fernanda Torres. To what extent are we actually on the side of real change? How much do we covertly play against the emergence of something new, even if far from the fascist and terrorist extremes? Was the conversation about literature a smokescreen for very hairy subjects?

I think about the 1968 Cuban film Memories of underdevelopment. And I'm sorry to leave Luís Augusto Fischer at this point.

PS: Maybe the iPhones of life really listen to our conversations. Or, in this case, read our texts or thoughts! I went on Instagram and was presented with a crucial excerpt from Fernanda Torres's interview, when she says that the far right doesn't like art, so it goes against it – another common sense from the left, this time not just the white one. For the sake of verisimilitude, to use Luís Augusto Fisher's term, it would be interesting not to disregard that agricultural, country and evangelical churches are beginning to forge a new Brazilian identity, far from the carioca hill idealized and sung by the South Zone (but also from Mano Brown's rap ), with its own culture and circuits. And that's not to mention the best sellers Olavo de Carvalho and the audio visual production company Brasil Paralelo (never has a title served both fields so well!). My judgment of taste obviously doesn't matter here, and it's probably close to Fernanda's, but if we want to deepen the debate, we need to touch on uncomfortable issues in the lost and found treasure chest of reality.

5.

Luís Augusto Fischer

The reader doesn't need to know, but he will know that up until now I write in the morning and send it to Tiago, who writes in the afternoon and sends it to me. Now I'm here again to continue this conversation, having slept on this subject – at a certain point I woke up and thought I should write down an idea that had occurred to me to continue this quest without a certain destination.

And the idea was this: a hypothesis of a text, an essay, about a handful of writers around my age (I was born in 1958, I'm 66 at the moment) has been floating around in my head, whose work I was excited to see come into being and assert itself. . I remember seven (and today's conscience reminds me: seven men, who I believe are considered white), but four in particular: Rubens Figueiredo, from Rio, plus Lourenço Mutarelli, Luiz Ruffato and Fernando Bonassi are the most prominent, these three inhabitants of São Paulo (Luiz Ruffato is from Cataguazes, Minas) and I don't know if by chance with Italian surnames, which denotes some heritage from poor immigrants, two, three, four generations ago; but to the group I can add a Pernambuco native, Marcelino Freire, and two Gauchos, Paulo Ribeiro and Altair Martins.

In the same chronological generation, there will be names to add if the focus is less specific than the one I am going to point out, but they will be left for later. These would be Paulo Lins, Marilene Felinto, perhaps even Conceição Evaristo (older, but with an editorial life at the same time), and the younger Ferréz.

The focus of those seven at the top: they are people, mostly of popular origin, partly proletarian, who arrived at literature without ease, or without the same ease with which, for example, I arrived, the son of a teacher and a lawyer. In this group there are two turners trained at SENAI, who only after that managed to embark on literature. There could be two new squids, a generation after Lula.

And what's more: these seven did not lose sight of the oppressive experience of the life of the popular classes. Just read his works to see the strength, the energy that emanates from his plots, from situations of more and less conscious social struggle interspersed with dreams and corresponding disappointments about social ascension. When they began publishing, between the 1990s and the first decade of this century, they painted a strong novelty on the horizon of Brazilian literature, in narratives produced with great technical refinement and no less inventiveness. To put it simply to argue: it was the world of work, the world of those below, of the popular classes, gaining the noble stage of romance.

But in the last ten years or so, the remarkable newness they brought has eclipsed. The last milestone of this group's brilliance was perhaps the vigorous speech given by Luiz Ruffato, at the opening of the tribute to Brazil at the Frankfurt Fair, 2013.

And it was eclipsed not because they no longer produced, or because they didn't have anything to say: it's just that center stage was occupied by the others mentioned. The life of the popular classes also occupies a large proportion of the work of these others, Paulo Lins, Marilene, Conceição, Ferréz. But other elements come into play in them: no longer the life of industrial workers, but that of precarious workers, without even the illusion of social advancement; and with no less importance, the racial dimension is equally at the forefront.

There is some simplification so far, but I hope I have shown this transition from literary protagonism, which went from being a white worker to being a black lumpen. If my sociological observation is fair, this passage illustrates, on the one hand, the victory of public schools, elementary, secondary or higher, where perhaps all of them, from both groups, could study, and on the other, an end of a modernizing cycle, which is expressed in the current deindustrialization of the Brazilian economy.

This second group leads, with the imperious presence of Mano Brown and rap in general, the new crop of writers, pass the problematic term for now, identitarians, black and peripheral mainly. (Recording the voice of women, indigenous people, and the LGBT world as such would require another description, which I am not capable of doing.)

But it was in this more recent journey that what Tiago Ferro mentioned was consolidated, the shortening and even erasure of the distance and the difference between author and narrative voice, between the author as CPF and the author as a set of values ​​expressed in the novel.

Erasure that is expressed as “place of speech”, a term that has more than one dimension, the most generic and relatively harmless, which requires explicit awareness of social, ethnic, gender origin, etc. on the part of those who speak and write, even the most militant and aggressive, who link one thing to another as necessary – anyone who is not black would not have a place to speak about black people, whoever is not a woman would not have a place to speak to create female characters, etc.

Erasure, it is also worth remembering, against which important voices have presented themselves, exemplarily Bernardo Carvalho, in articles for the Folha de S. Paul and in the interviews he gave about his most recent novel.

I went far and wide to talk about this hunch I had and other things I wanted to comment on were left out, trying to pass the ball along to Tiago. (Cases from the same generation come to mind, like that of Beatriz Bracher, author of notable novels, and that terrible case of cancellation of the beautiful film by Daniela Thomas ebb, from 2017. I could remember more, the aforementioned Bernardo Carvalho, the impressive Edyr Augusto. Making enumerations is the right way to forget important names. My apologies in advance.)

One of the other ideas is that the emergence of the “place of speech”, in its most radical (and anti-debate) version, coincides with the end of a century and a half of the existence of modern literary theory, of literary theory conceived as such. Since, I don't know, Taine perhaps, through Slavic and Anglo-Saxon formalisms, structuralisms, as well as formulations of a sociological lineage (Hegelian, Marxist, Frankfurtian), the theory of literature has strived precisely to isolate authorship in relation to constructions. The work should be seen as relatively autonomous, and nothing from the author's biography should enter the critical horizon.

Well, look where we ended up.

Tiago, I'm afraid I got lost along the baseline, like an old pointer who ran faster than the ball, but didn't make the right cross into the area.

6.

Tiago Ferro

I close this series without intending to conclude it. To do this, instead of wearing the center forward's shirt and enjoying the ball rolling, I bring a defender to the debate: Lilian Thuram. World champion for the 98 French team, born on the island of Guadeloupe, the retired black football player published in 2020 White thinking.

I had already glanced a few times at the spine of the book on the shelf of Pedro Meira Monteiro's library, in whose house I am staying while he is spending his sabbatical in Brazil writing about Machado de Assis. The title insisted on attracting me. Until yesterday, lucky for me, as Princeton was going through a night without power due to heavy rain and wind, I read the introduction under the white light of an emergency flashlight.

The combination of professional athlete and refined sociological and philosophical reflection seems strange. Not because of prejudice, but because of the time and dedication that both activities require, hence the low probability of combining them in a single incarnation. Well, Thuram, in addition to stopping the (overrated) Brazilian attack in the 1998 World Cup final, acts as an anti-racist activist on several fronts, and brought the two together.

The book has a utopian character: the counter-history of white thought aims to build a common horizon, where everyone can speak the same language. It seems like a lot, but it's sincere. For our debate, it is important, for example, that the place of speech appears as the recognition of prejudices that condition our points of view, eliminating any assertion of objectivity. Here there is no cancellation or fighting shoulder to shoulder for space in the public arena, but broader questions, such as the identity of each person in History (the capital letters belong to the author).

The current impossibility of objectivity in a world in dispute made me think of the interview with Bernardo Carvalho mentioned by Fischer. Without going back to the text, I remember that the novelist states that literature should bother, and that what consoles and embraces (and would therefore be the bulk of current production, or at least the part that is successful) is religion. If we trust the French defender, we need to take into account where Bernardo Carvalho is speaking so as not to slip into the melancholy conclusion of the end of literature (how many ends have been proclaimed lately! There seems to be a good market for this type of apocalyptic prophecy). All you have to do is delve deeper into the argument to come face to face with its ideological trappings: literature is indeed uncomfortable, but it can also comfort and embrace, and what's more, it can even make you laugh! Or are Shakespeare's comedies not as great as his dramas?

In another debate, and speaking from a completely different place, Nigerian Chimamanda Adichie warns of the attacks that plague literature. In an article published in Portuguese by the magazine four five one, the author draws attention to the risk of censorship, but also of self-censorship promoted by the fear of cancellation by “ideological tribes” (her expression) and by the subsequent market calculations with the emergence of the figure of the “sensitive reader”. The greatness of her work and of the author herself, which Fischer and I had the privilege of attending in a solemn and packed session here at Princeton, seems to deny any possibility of literature disappearing in the coming years.

Another important point by Thuram touches on a certain Brazilian critical tradition. I quote the author: “He who has a dominant position feels so strengthened and sure of his rights, always at the center, always in his place, that he looks at himself and behaves as if he were the norm” [my emphasis] . Center and periphery formed the engine of the historical dialectic of this tradition. For this group of intellectuals, there was a bloc of industrialized nations called the center and the rest of the world, the periphery.

The lack of specificity took its toll and with the lights out of third worldism, developmentalism, etc., that is, the integrated block jump, the historical formulation lost strength, and the malformed country ended up taking a wrong turn. (Justice be done that it was the last of the Mohicans in the group who found this end of the line of the country finally formed: deformed, evidently).

However, such a tradition would be very well equipped to think about this new “proposed” center and periphery in White thinking, with the center being white people and the periphery being non-white people. In other words, where there seems to be exhaustion for certain intellectual experiences (or so say their detractors and the movement of things itself), there can be renewal and collaboration.

That said, the literature is good, and even the questionable lack of clear separation between author and narrator has generated excellent works. The Nobel Prize, the thermometer and compass of world production, not by chance awarded the top prize to Frenchwoman Annie Ernaux, who scrupulously writes about her life.

Historicizing is for few. The path of Brazilian literature from the 1990s to today proposed by Luís Augusto Fischer in the previous block is worth an entire book! It is the sharp two-pronged look at society and literature. And in the end, in general, Luís Augusto Fischer leaves us with the lesson (or I take it at my own risk): the passing of years is very cruel to authors. Very few hold out for decades (let alone centuries!).

And Proust, Woolf and Montaigne, as well as Chimamanda and Ernaux, are all our contemporaries.

We continue.

* Tiago Ferro He is a writer, editor and essayist. Author, among other books, of The father of the dead girl (However).

*Luís Augusto Fischer He is a professor of Brazilian literature at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Author, among other books, of Two formations, one history: From out-of-place ideas to Amerindian perspectivism (Editorial Archipelago). [https://amzn.to/3Sa2kEH]


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  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table

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