O espírito da terra: A teoria da cultura brasileira de Araripe Jr.

Luciana Murari


This paper analyses the ideas of Araripe Jr. concerning Brazilian identity, by means of the study of his writings devoted to the understanding of the Brazilian cultural process in connection with the particularities of its environmental and natural conditions. In his literary criticism, Araripe Jr. developed an inventive critical style and created complex concepts like obnubilação brasílica, a reference to the differentiation process experienced by the European mentality in contact with Brazilian nature. That notion enabled him to produce an original interpretation of Brazilian culture and history. His theories are very distinct from others, as Araripe Jr. denied the relevance given to the racial approach favored by his contemporaries. Combining the scientific influences that marked the so-called geração de 1870 (Buckle, Taine and Ratzel) and an enduring romantic tradition, the critic traced a parallel between the originality of the tropical environment and the originality of Brazilian culture. Those ideas allowed him to find a peculiar approach to the controversial question of European influence on Brazilian literature. Finally, this paper seeks to demonstrate how some of Araripe Jr.’s ideas can find correspondence in the writings of Graça Aranha, Mário de Andrade and Paulo Prado.


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