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(01/18/2009) Marvelous Journey: A Survey Of Four Centuries Of Brazilian Literature by Samuel Putnam. New York. 1948. Knopf. keywords: Literature Brazil South America Latin America Literary Criticism. 282 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The history of Brazilian literature is here told by a man who has the specialized learning, the enthusiasm, and the firsthand familiarity that alone remove any subject from the dryasdust-academic. This is a lively book: it is colorful and it is richly informative. Divided into four major sections - Backgrounds, Toward Autonomy, The Romantic Liberation, and The Modern Spirit -- this book surveys the vital and human literature of the only important modern tropical culture. Readers acquainted with the works -- or even the mere names -- of such important Brazilian writers as Euclides da Cunha, Jorge Amado, Jose Lins do Rego, Gilberto Freyre, Erico Verissimo, and Graciliano Ramos will find those men brilliantly placed and criticized here. More, they will be informed of countless other writers and of their contributions to a body of books that has been growing for more than four centuries. Translator of great writers from Rabelais to Freyre, author of PARIS WAS OUR MISTRESS, and a corresponding member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, Samuel Putnam was perfectly equipped by background, training, and propensity to write this definitive book. He speaks with authority when he ends his history on the following words: 'Brazil is the Land of the Future in more ways than one, and her writers are now ready to speak in the full, deep-throated accents of maturity. ' Of Marvelous Journey Carleton Sprague Smith said: 'It is by all odds the best study in English that has yet been made of writing in Brazil. '.

Samuel Putnam was born in Rossville, Illinois in 1892. Educated at the University of Chicago and the Sorbonne, he spent the 1920's in Paris, where he edited and contributed to various magazines. Among the fruits of this period of expatriation were biographies of Rabelais and Marguerite of Navarre, his EUROPEAN CARAVAN, and -- published in 1947 -- PARIS WAS OUR MISTRESS. Returning to the United States, Mr. Putnam began his extraordinary career as a translator: in the last two decades he has published nearly thirty book and play translations from the French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Among the European writers he has rendered into English are Aretino, Rabelais, Pirandello, Cocteau, Mauriac, Duhamel, Delteil, and Silone. It was in Europe that he first became particularly interested in the Portuguese language and culture. Since the early 1930's he has made a specialty of Brazilian literature. Since 1935 he has been editor of the Brazilian Literature section of the HANDBOOK OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, a position that requires him to read each year everything of literary importance published in Brazil. He has translated 'the two most difficult books in the Portuguese language': Euclides da Cunha's OS SERTOES and Gilberto Freyre's CASA-GRANDE & SENZALA, as well as Jorge Amado's remarkable novel, TERRAS DO SEM FIM In 1946 the Cultural Relations Division of the a State Department sent Mr. Putnam to Brazil as an exchange professor. His journey was something of a triumphal tour, and as a result of it he was made a corresponding member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. Shortly after his return to the United States he was awarded the Pandia Calogeras Prize for Literature. In 1947, too, the Brazilian government made him an officer of the Order of the Southern Cross.

 

 

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