“A Flat Carnivalesque Intention of Being a Cannibal,” Or, How (not) to Read the <i>Cannibal Manifesto</i>

  • Luís Madureira University of Wisconsin, Madison
Keywords: Manifesto antropófago, antropofagia, modernism, cannibal, avant-garde


In this article, I propose that, in the face of the Manifesto antropófago’s inchoate endeavor to supersede a dominant narrative about the irresistible rise of modern rationality, the critic can either accept the terms of this attempted repudiation or reposition it within the very epistemological framework which that text seeks to displace. In accordance with this latter epistemic model, antropofagia cannot but appear contradictory. Yet the passages that seem paradoxical and nonsensical appear so only because their essential meaning cannot
be fully grasped from this frame of reference. It is therefore the epistemological framework which informs our “re-readings” of the Manifesto—rather than a failure or banality intrinsic to the text—that produces what he or she may come to define as nonsense and paradox.