University of São Paulo: USP launches platform on Brazilian Literary Modernism

The Platform for Studies of the First Brazilian Literary Modernism is on the air with a database that is a pioneering reference for current and future researchers. The project brings together biographical information, written production and the critical fortune of the authors present at the 1922 Modern Art Week or who were projected during the 1920s, publishing books, articles in newspapers and magazines and participating in movements. Among the 24 authors, poets and writers featured on the platform are Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Graça Aranha, Manuel Bandeira, Alcântara Machado, Guilherme de Almeida, Tarsila do Amaral and Sérgio Milliet.
Coordinated by professors and researchers Marcos Moraes and Frederico Camargo, from the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) at USP, its goal is to index in a single repository, as completely as possible, a series of references that until then were scattered in bibliographic dictionaries, books, theses, websites and pages of periodicals kept in archives and libraries. The Platform for Studies of the First Brazilian Literary Modernism is available at this link .

“We idealized each image as a ‘business card’ that the author presents to the visitor and invites him to enter his individual page, browsing the indexes of texts he has written or that have been written about him.”

The researcher enters the platform and, in front of a dynamic and objective art edition with black letters, white background and red margins, accesses the information with clarity and concentration. “To make the home page visually pleasing, we chose to place images of fractions of covers or title pages of representative books by the most well-known writers”, explains Professor Frederico Camargo. “We idealized each image as a ‘business card’ that the author presents to the visitor and invites him to enter his individual page, browsing the indexes of texts he has written or that have been written about him.”

Example: if the visitor clicks on the first image of the platform, Macunaíma, o Hérói Sem Não Caráter , a book by Mário de Andrade, he is faced with the biography or biobibliographic chronology of the writer. And then he observes his production and the works written about him: 108 books, 781 parts of books, 1,588 texts in periodicals, five prefaces, afterwords and the like and 424 theses and dissertations. “The database is an extraordinary research tool, with more than 30,000 bibliographic references, listing the production and critical fortune of the main writers linked to Semana and Primeira Modernismo”, comments Professor Marcos Moraes. “In many cases, the database directs the researcher directly to the source.”

The Platform for Studies of the First Brazilian Literary Modernism is now available to everyone and the results, according to Camargo and Moraes, are voluminous, but the work is still in process. “This platform feeds on the IEB collection and at the same time expands it”, says Camargo. “On the one hand, much of the bibliographic information about the writers is already available in the IEB Archive and Library, such as journalistic productions by Mário de Andrade, Guilherme de Almeida, Menotti Del Picchia and Alcântara Machado. On the other hand, our website can do something that hardly an archive or library can more usually do: limitlessly index materials located in other custody institutions or virtual collections.”

“The database democratizes research and opens up to welcome future discoveries, resulting from new investigations.”

According to the organizers, the site has a great differential: “We bring together in a single platform references to documents dispersed all over the world, relieving the researcher or interested party from having to repeatedly delve into a jungle of countless catalogs and disconnected digital databases. The database democratizes research, opening up to welcome future discoveries, resulting from new investigations”, points out Moraes.

The initiative to create the Platform for Studies of the First Brazilian Literary Modernism is led by specialists who, in the course of their research, sought details of the history, works and repercussion of the writers of Modernism. Professor Frederico Camargo, in both his master’s and doctoral studies, dedicated himself to the personal archive of the writer João Guimarães Rosa kept at the IEB. “Over the last few years, in addition to researching Brazilian literature, I ended up contributing to online publications on sites such as the Bibliografia Crítica do Teatro Brasileiro , the João Guimarães Rosa Bibliographic Database and the Osman Lins Bibliographic Database .”

And Marcos Moraes is a professor of Brazilian Literature at the IEB. “Alongside Professor Telê Ancona Lopez, I dedicate myself to the study of Modernism, researching primary sources preserved in writers’ archives.” Moraes has been especially committed to the study of correspondence and manuscripts of edited or unpublished works in the Mário de Andrade archive.

The project is promoting the formation of new researchers of Brazilian Modernism. “In this process, the collaboration of the students of the Letters course of the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of USP Vitória Viana Lima Passos, of the Unified Scholarship Program of USP, and Vanessa Lima de Almeida, scholarship holder of the CNPq.” The project, therefore, also provided the training of researchers of Brazilian Modernism.


“It is worth emphasizing that the Platform for Studies of the First Brazilian Literary Modernism is not a digital library”, observes Camargo. “It is an indexer of bibliographic references scattered in archives and physical libraries and virtual collections. Whenever possible, we add to the bibliographic record a link to your digital image or full text on a website or external digital database.”

The professor emphasizes that the website visitor finds shortcuts to a substantial part of journalistic texts of the time, academic articles and theses originally hosted in places such as the Digital Newspaper Library of the National Library and banks of theses and dissertations from universities. “The role and challenge of the website consultant will be to make their own clippings and selections from a very large number of bibliographic references. Our expectation is that the platform can establish itself as a fruitful barn of research.”

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