Oswald de Andrade’s Os condenados and the Decay of the Amazonian Aura

Sarah J. Townsend


This article examines the implications of the Amazonian allusions in the trilogy of novels by Oswald de Andrade now known as Os condenados (originally called Trilogia do exílio). Published between 1922 and 1934, the trilogy revolves around the life and legacy of a young prostitute in São Paulo and is notable for what critics often describe as its cinematic style. My argument picks up on earlier readings that see it as allegorizing the decline of the "aura" of art—a process I connect to a shift in the regional dynamics of capital accumulation in Brazil, showing how the aestheticist cult of beauty was associated with the export economy and a mode of uneven development most dramatically exemplified by the Amazonian rubber boom. Ultimately, I gesture toward a reappraisal of the Amazon’s role in the imaginary of Brazilian modernismo.


Brazilian modernism; rubber boom; São Paulo; industrialization; Aesthetics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21471/jls.v3i2.180

Copyright (c) 2018 Sarah J. Townsend