Retranslating the Brazilian Imperial Project: O Novo Mundo’s Depictions of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition

  • Krista Brune Pennsylvania State University
Keywords: Nineteenth-century Brazil, modernity, world’s fairs, translation, hemispheric Americas


As the first world’s fair held in the Americas, the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia allowed the hemisphere’s nations to stake disparate claims to modernity through unequal displays of natural resources, new technologies, and art. Existing scholarship on the Centennial Exhibition and its importance for Brazil touches only briefly on how representations of Brazil at the fair were communicated to the Brazilian public. This article claims that Brazil’s participation at the fair created translations of the nation for a foreign public that were retranslated for Brazilian readers through O Novo Mundo, a periodical published in New York from 1870 to 1879. By reading O Novo Mundo alongside archival documentation and histories of the Centennial Exhibition, I contend that the periodical recognized Brazil’s desire for modernity, critiqued how Brazilian officials wanted the nation to be seen, and questioned how models of progress from the United States would unfold in Brazil.

Author Biography

Krista Brune, Pennsylvania State University

Krsita Brune is Assistant Professor of Portuguese and Spanish in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at Pennsylvania State University.