artigos e ensaios - 1992 / Mariza Peirano - Translated by Howard S. Becker

The pluralism of Antonio Candido

Antonio Candido: frustrated sociologist, anthropologist in disguise, accomplished literary critic? Which is the best portrait of this social scientist who has quietly left his mark in so many areas of knowledge in Brazil?

"I was always very timid; I always thought that I didn't know anything, that the things I knew were not interesting to anyone" (from taped interview).

Some years ago Antonio Candido suggested that a necessary stage in an underdeveloped country's effort to overcome intellectual dependence lay in the ability of its people to produce first-class works influenced by national, rather than foreign, models. This would enrich the process of borrowing from abroad itself (Candido 1972). His suggestion spoke to the long-standing worry of Brazilian intellectuals that the immediate data of our experience are all around us, but our imaginations are basically European. Antonio Candido once put this problem directly but ironically: "For us Brazilians, univeralism is already European." His own solution was to recognize that our link to Europe (or the United States) was not an option but almost a natural fact, sociologically linked to the state of cultural dependency, and to suggest that becoming aware of the country's own intellectual lineage would eventually create a reversal of experiences and a more open circulation of differing values. Leia mais...