Homem de Palavra, Homem de Letras: Literatura e responsabilidade na obra de José Lins do Rego

César Braga-Pinto


This essay discusses some of the dilemmas and contradictions encountered by José Lins do Rego at the moment when he begins to articulate issues related to the role of literature and the responsibility of the writer in Brazil. I first discuss some of his newspaper articles, later published in his volumes of essays; I then undertake a close reading of his 1934 novel Bangüê. At the same time that Rego recognizes a distance that separates him from the so-called “Brazilian reality” that he seeks to represent, all of his works seem to be an attempt to bridge such a distance. On the one hand he romanticizes popular culture and orality as the highest source for (elite) writing; on the other hand, the object of his fiction seems to be, above all, the writer’s own dilemmas and guilty conscience, or rather, a certain sense of indebtedness toward “his people.”


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