1. Introduction

In the article ‘Brazilian Literature Goes Global’, Kristal Bivona stresses the increasing availability of Brazilian literature in translation owing to governmental and private-sector investments to promote Brazilian literature abroad. However, this view has not been unanimously supported as the subject ‘Brazilian literature in translation’ has provoked contrasting views. According to Ángel Gurría-Quintana, despite the common complaint that not enough Brazilian literature is published in English, this is an auspicious moment for new Brazilian writing in translation. Furthermore, there are global issues which prevent ‘peripheral’ literature from being known worldwide. As evidence of this, according to the University of Rochester (Three Percent), only about three percent of all books published in the USA are works in translation, and in terms of literary fiction and poetry the number is lower than one percent.1

In order to examine the reception of Brazilian literature in the anglophone world and also to show how the Brazilian literary system has developed from the viewpoint of the historiography of translation, this study aims to produce an overview of Brazilian literature in the English language by mapping the most representative works, authors, translators and publishing houses from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first century, mainly in the UK and the USA.2 The research is based on data gathered by researchers up until 2004, especially by Heloísa Gonçalves Barbosa and Maria Lúcia Santos Daflon Gomes, as well as from the Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English. It also produces new data regarding the production of the past ten years, based on the information provided by literary books, digital library databases,3 authors’ webpages, publishers’ websites, bookstores,4 literary festivals, awards, book fairs and digital sources.

First, in section 2, this article examines the efforts of translators, publishers and academia since the first translations at the end of the nineteenth century, passing through years of an absence of translations and the awakening of translation into English. Some brief case studies are used for this section, with authors such as Machado de Assis, Mário de Andrade, Guimarães Rosa, Jorge Amado and Clarice Lispector. Second, in section 3, the research focuses on the current literary system by producing some data on the works translated into English by 2014 in order to show the relative growth in translation of Brazilian literature.5 Finally, there is an attempt to produce a profile of the current Brazilian literary system in English translation by looking at challenges and perspectives for the process of internationalization of Brazilian literature in the dawn of the new millennium.

2. From Burton into the Twentieth Century

Silviano Santiago points out that Latin American culture has occupied ‘the space in-between’. Through the destruction of the concepts of unity and purity, Latin American writing has been produced based on other writings, as the writer ‘plays with the signs of another writer and another work’, which becomes a kind of global translation (Santiago 34). Therefore the Latin American writer lives between the assimilation of the original model, which has already been written, and the need to produce a new text that confronts and sometimes negates the original (Santiago 35). These contrasts show the forces which have driven Brazilian literature through the centuries, as well as the emerging criticism found in a type of literature which has dealt with a range of translation processes involving historical and social circles of assimilation and transgression, neocolonialism and cultural exchange.

It is within this in-between cultural context that Brazilian literature in translation started to be formed. Between the frontiers of two different processes of reception – on the one hand, the domestic recognition, and on the other hand, the international receptive patterns – it has struggled to create major interest in the eyes of a supposed world literature.6 As Santiago observes, in Latin American culture, Brazilian literature has lived between dialectic forces, which generated different translation processes through the centuries. As an effect of this, the history of translation of Brazilian fiction into the English language has been marked by great challenges regarding its international circulation.

Brazilian literature starts with the story of travellers in Latin America rather than with the effort of publishing houses, government and academia to bring forward a legacy of contributions towards literary translation. Among them, the English explorer Richard Burton is known for his pioneering work. Either translating Brazilian literature into English or translating the New World through travel account writings, such as the book Explorations of the Highlands of Brazil, Burton made the first push towards an English translational historiography within Brazilian culture and the arts (see table 1).

Table 1

First translated Brazilian writers.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

José de Alencar 1886 – UK Iracema
[Iraçéma the Honey-Lips:
A Legend of Brazil]
Isabel Burton, Bickers & Son
19?? – UK Ubirajara
[Ubirajara: A Legend of the Tupy Indians]
T. W. Sadler
Ronald Massey

J. M. Pereira da Silva 1886 – UK Manuel de Moraes: crônica do século XVII
[Manuel de Moraes: A Chronicle of the Seventeenth Century].
Richard Burton and
Isabel Burton
Bickers & Son

Basílio da Gama 1982 – USA O Uraguai
[Uraguay: A Historical Romance of South America]
Richard Burton
University of California Press

According to Batista and Vieira (15), Burton contributed to the spread of two works of Brazilian literature in the anglophone world at the time of the country’s post-independence, when Brazil was searching for its national and cultural identity. As the English consul to Brazil, Burton lived in São Paulo between 1865 and 1869, when he and his wife, Isabel Burton, had contact with Brazilian culture and translated some literary works directly connected to the country’s history and the search for identity, which are considered to be the first books of Brazilian literature translated into English. Either presenting the history of Jesuit Missions in the very South of Brazil, revealing important points of Brazilian colonial history, or presenting an imagined account regarding the first contact between European colonizers and Brazilian natives, Burton explored images of a diverse and exotic country from an English perspective through translation, by locating in the selected works indigenous culture and natural landscapes.

However, within the forty years following Burton’s translations of Iracema and Manuel de Moraes, only a few works were translated. Burton’s translation of Uraguai, for example, was only published in the 1980s by the University of California Press. In fact, the number of translations began to rise from the 1940s when North American and English publishers, such as Macmillan and Arco Publications, seemed to have discovered part of the Brazilian canon, including representative authors (see table 2).

Table 2

Sample of translated canonical writers in the twentieth century.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Visconde de Taunay 1889 – UK Inocência
[Innocencia: A Story of the Prairie Regions of Brazil]
James W.
Wells Chapman and Hall
1945 – USA [Inocência] Henriqueta Chamberlain Macmillan

Manuel Antônio de Almeida 1959 – UK Memórias de um sargento de milícias
[Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant]
Linton J. Barrett
Pan American Union

Graça Aranha 1920 – USA Canaã Mariano Joaquim Lorente
1921 – UK [Canaan] Four Seas Co. Allen & Unwin

Monteiro Lobato 1925 – USA Urupês K. S. Girard
[Brazilian Short Stories] Haldeman-Julius

Aluísio de 1926 – USA O cortiço Harry W. Brown
Azevedo 1928 – UK [A Brazilian Tenement] McBride & Co. Cassel

José Américo de Almeida 1978 – UK A bagaceira
[Trash]
Robert Scott-Buccleuch
Peter Owen

Lima Barreto 1978 – UK Triste fim de Policarpo Quaresma Robert Scott-Buccleuch
[The Patriot] Rex Collings

Mário de Andrade 1933 – USA Amar, verbo intransitive
[Fraulein]
Margaret Richardson
Hollingsworth MacCaulay

Oswald de Andrade 1979 – USA Serafim Ponte Grande
[Seraphim Grosse Pointe]
Kenneth D. Jackson and Albert Bork
Nefertiti Head Press

1979 – USA Memórias sentimentais de João Miramar Albert Bork, Ralph Niebuhr
[The Sentimental Memoirs of John Seaborne] Nefertiti Head Press

Erico Verissimo 1943 – USA Caminhos cruzados
[Crossroads]
L. C. Kaplan Macmillan
1956 – UK [Crossroads and Destinies] Arco Publications

Erico Verissimo 1945 – USA O resto é silêncio L. C. Kaplan
1956 – UK [The Rest is Silence] Macmillan
Arco Publications
Greenwood

1947 – USA Olhai os lírios do campo Jean Neel Karnoff
1969 – UK [Consider the Lilies of the Field] Macmillan
Greenwood

1951 – USA O tempo e o vento Linton J. Barrett
1954 – UK [Time and the Wind] Macmillan
Arco Publications

1956 – UK/USA Noite
[Night]
Linton Barret
Macmillan
Arco Publications

1967 – USA O senhor embaixador
[His Excellency, the Ambassador]
Linton Barrett and
Marie Barrett
Macmillan

Graciliano Ramos 1946 – USA Angústia
[Anguish]
L. C. Kaplan
Alfred A. Knopf

1961 – USA Vidas secas
[Barren Lives]
Ralph Edward Dimmick
Texas University Press

1974 – USA Memórias do cárcere
[Jail: Prison Memoirs]
Thomas Colchie
Evans

1975 – UK São Bernardo Robert Scott-Buccleuch
1979 – USA [São Bernardo] Peter Owen
Taplinger Publishing

1979 – UK Infância
[Childwood]
Celso de Oliveira
Peter Owen

José Lins do Rego 1948 – UK Pureza
[Pureza]
Lucie Marion
Hutchinson

1966 – USA Menino de engenho
[Plantation Boy]
Emmi Baum
Alfred A. Knopf

Cornélio Penna 1975 – USA Fronteira
[Threshold]
Tona and Edward A. Riggio
Franklin Publishing Co.

Cyro dos Anjos 1986 – Canada O amanuense Belmiro
[Diary of a Civil Servant]
Arthur Brakel Fairleigh Dickinson
University Press

1988 – UK Associated University Presses

Rachel de Queiroz 1963 – USA As três Marias
[The Three Marias]
Fred P. Ellison
University of Texas Press

1984 – USA Dora, Doralina
[Dora, Doralina]
Dorothy Scott
LoosDutton

Brazilian society at the beginning of the twentieth century was marked by the traditional-modern contradiction: its agrarian present contrasted with the ideal of a still absent modernity (Ortiz, Culture and Society’ 123). In contrast, Barbosa states that the increase in the number of translations of Brazilian literary works into English from the 1940s can be verified both by ‘a world-wide increase in literacy, income and leisure time, which can and does foster the acquisition of and therefore the demand for books’, and by its connection to ‘turning points in Brazilian history and in international affairs’ (Barbosa 22), which can affect the production of translations as transcultural goods. In fact, Brazil has undergone major economic and political changes since Getulio Vargas’ government period, which has reflected on international trading (especially with the USA) and on mass-media projects. Therefore I highlight in this period the translations of Erico Verissimo’s works into English as he acted as a lecturer in Brazilian literature at the University of California in Berkeley and was a member of the staff of Casa Panamericana at Mills College, Oakland.

Throughout the twentieth century, few writers received international attention through translation into English, and the translated works show the apparent differences between domestic and international processes of literary reception. Among them, Armstrong points out the cases of Machado de Assis, Mário de Andrade and Guimarães Rosa – with the exception of Jorge Amado, whose novels were translated into more than fifty languages during the second half of the twentieth century, themselves interesting examples to understand some issues regarding the inclusion versus the exclusion of Brazil in the world literary market. Thus reflecting why certain writers have been translated and others have not seems to be key to understanding the translation flows which Brazilian literature has undergone since the nineteenth century.

Machado de Assis is considered by Armstrong (128) to be the bearer of the most royal mantle in Brazilian literature and has been recognized as one of the greatest Brazilian writers ever; however, he had minimal impact abroad in terms of translation, with works produced especially in the USA and the UK mostly by the efforts of academia (see table 3). In fact, they have rarely achieved more than a second edition, which shows the disparity between the two worlds and the paradox between inside and outside Brazil in terms of literary reception.

Table 3

Translations of Machado de Assis’ literary works.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Machado de Assis 1952 – USA Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas William L. Grossman,
Noonday Press
1953 – UK [Epitaph of a Small Winner] W. H. Allen
1955 – Brazil [Posthumous Reminiscences of Brás Cubas] E. Percy Ellis
Instituto Nacional do Livro
1997 – USA [Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas] Gregory Rabassa
Oxford University Press

1953 – UK/USA Dom Casmurro [Dom Casmurro] Helen Caldwell – Noonday
Press W. H. Allen
1966 – UK R. L. Scott-Buccleuch,
Peter Owen
1997 – USA John Gledson
Oxford University Press

1976 – UK Iaiá Garcia
[Iaiá Garcia]
Robert Scott-Buccleuch,
Peter Owen
1977 – USA [Yayá Garcia Albert I. Jr. Bagby –University Press of Kentucky

1976 – UK Iaiá Garcia
[Iaiá Garcia]
Robert Scott-Buccleuch,
Peter Owen
1977 – USA [Yayá Garcia Albert I. Jr. Bagby – University Press of Kentucky

1970 – USA A mão e a luva
[The Hand and the Glove]
Albert I. Jr. Babgy, University Press of Kentucky

1984 – USA Helena [Helena] Helen Caldwell
University of California Press

1966 – UK/USA Esaú e Jacó [Esau and Jacob] Helen Caldwell
University of California Press Peter Owen

1954 UK/USA Quincas Borba
[Philosopher or Dog?] [The Heritage of Quincas Borba]
Clotilde Wilson
Noonday Press
W. H. Allen
1998 – UK/USA [Quincas Borba] Gregory Rabassa,
Oxford University Press

Machado de Assis 1972 – USA Memorial de Aires
[Counselor Ayres’ Memorial]
Helen Caldwell
University of California Press
1990 – UK [The Wager: Aires’s Journal] R. L. Scott-Buccleuch

1984 – USA Helena [Helena] University of California Press

Other collections of Machado de Assis’ selected works have been published, such as A Chapter of Hats: Selected Stories, translated by John Gledson. However, Machado seems not to have achieved a sizeable readership beyond Brazil’s borders.

These disparities concerning the reception of Brazilian literature within the country and beyond bring to light issues regarding translation trends during the twentieth century. Reasons for minimal translation can be connected to the language in which literary works are produced, and Portuguese seems to be limited to itself and Portuguese-speaking countries – it is an outcast language. According to the colloquium ‘Brazilian Literature: Challenges for Translation, ‘in fact, the current international profile enjoyed by Brazil in many other spheres throws into relief the limited scope and impact of the small corpus of translated works from Brazil that are as yet available to readers in English. Despite being the sixth most spoken language in the world, present in all continents and officially the language of eight countries, Portuguese is not among the languages most often translated into English.’ While the number of translated writers has increased in recent decades in Brazil, bringing to Brazilian bookstores a number of foreign authors whose works have been translated into Portuguese, the country’s literature is hidden from English-speaking readers. According to Lajolo, the publishing houses are more likely to invest in writers whose books have achieved good sales in Brazil rather than taking the risk of publishing translated works. A reason for the lack of translation could be the influence of stereotypes, as international readers and publishers may have searched for ‘images of the country’ in books written by Brazilian writers. Other motives could be the poor quality of translated works and the lack of brokering of Brazilian literature abroad, which can make the translations occur for personal reasons, with books and writers chosen by translators, researchers and/or translation groups linked to universities. In the case of Machado de Assis, researchers and universities have played an important role as most of his works have been sponsored by scholarly publishers, such as the University Press of Kentucky, the University of California Press and Oxford University Press.

The cases of Mário de Andrade and Guimarães Rosa are even more disconcerting (see table 4). Both writers have received prestigious recognition within their country of origin and they are among the greatest writers that Brazil has ever had. Nevertheless, their works have remained almost unknown on the international scene.

Table 4

Translations of Mário de Andrade and Guimarães Rosa’s literary works.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Mário de Andrade 1933 – USA Amar, verbo intransitivo [Fraulein] Margaret Richardson Hollingsworth MacCaulay

1968 – USA Pauliceia Desvairada [Hallucinated City] Jack E. Tomlins Vanderbilt University Press

1984 – UK/USA Macunaíma: o herói sem nenhum caráter [Macunaíma] E. A. Goodland Random House Quartet Books

Guimarães Rosa 1963 – USA Grande sertão: veredas [The Devil to Pay in the Backlands] James L. Taylor and Harriet de Onís Alfred A. Knopf

Guimarães Rosa 1966 – USA Sagarana [Sagarana: A Cycle of Stories] Harriet de Onís Alfred A. Knopf
1968 – USA Primeira estórias [The Third Bank of the River and Other Stories] Barbara Shelby Alfred A. Knopf

Mário de Andrade’s literature has been ignored by the English-speaking world, despite acknowledging how he stands out within the modernist expressions of the twentieth century in Brazil. Similarly, Guimarães Rosa’s works have been obscured in times of the ‘Boom of the Latin American novel’, which brought to light Latin American literature in Europe and the USA. According to Armstrong, the deep contrasts between Hispanic countries of Latin America and Brazil, concerning the cultural market and international reception, is a result of two separately evolving traditions, which can be seen through literary discourse. As a consequence, ‘The Ulysses of Latin Americans’ (Rulfo apud Armstrong 116) produced a story apart and lived in the shadows of the ‘boom’. The translation The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, with a preface by Jorge Amado, who was already an influential name in Brazilian literature at that time, provoked contrasting reviews, misunderstanding and minimum sales during the course of the following decades.7

The quality of translation and regional influences on the language should also be considered when we look into Brazilian literature in translation. Books by writers such as Guimarães Rosa resulted in problematic English editions, a situation that might have created difficulties in terms of promoting the literature among English-speaking readers. In the case of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, the letters exchanged between Guimarães Rosa and Harriet de Onís record the translator’s difficulties in creating the English version of that novel, and also her persistence in ignoring some of the writer’s requests when they tackled points of disagreement (Silva and Holanda 349), an issue that perhaps contributed to Rosa’s poor reception in the USA when the English version was published. Considering herself a headhunter, Onís ‘discovered’ Rosa in the 1950s because of her son, who lived in Brazil. She also translated the work of other Brazilian writers, such as Euclides da Cunha, Monteiro Lobato, José Lins do Rego and Mário de Andrade. However, the translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands wasn’t published until the 1960s, because of the aforementioned difficulties, as well as the translator’s health problems, which made her require the collaboration of Nina F. Oliver and James Lumpkin Taylor, who worked on the final version (Silva and Holanda 350).

In the case of Mario de Andrade’s Macunaíma, one of the most complex books of Brazilian literature, the linguistic competence and indigenization must be considered to understand the process of translation of what David Haberly called an ‘utterly untranslatable book’ (146). The first interest in translating the book came from Margaret Richardson Hollingsworth, who had already translated Amar, verbo intransitivo. However, even after Andrade’s efforts to explain indigenous Brazilian words, creating a kind of glossary and a code of colours in a copy of his novel in order to clarify language issues for the English translation (Andrade 386), the English version did not materialize at the time. Thus a translated version of Macunaíma was only published in 1984 by E. A. Goodland, who recreated the original work in a version considered to be problematic because the text differs from Andrade’s original, with the translator in some cases even inserting ‘additional information into the narrative in an attempt to make it more culturally accessible to his readers’ (Braz 192). Such issues lead us to view this as a possible reason for the minimum impact of Goodland’s translation in the English-speaking world, despite Macunaíma being a classic in Brazil.

Moreover, the case of Jorge Amado is an exception in the history of literary translation in Brazil. Armstrong (134) points out that Amado has been widely read, both in Brazil and externally (see table 5). However, his popularity has become a controversial matter within academia owing to the recurrent questioning of the aesthetic quality of his works, mainly the post-Gabriela novels, Amado’s international best-sellers. In Armstrong’s words, ‘as for Amado’s reception within Brazil, there is a clear distinction between the academic literary establishment and Brazilian writers themselves. […] The real resistance to Amado did not come from his quarter, of which he was an integral element, but from the new university reference centred in São Paulo.’

Table 5

Translations of Jorge Amado’s literary works.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Jorge Amado 1945 – USA Terras do sem fim Samuel Putnam
1989 – UK [The Violent Land] Alfred A. Knopf Collins Harvill
1962 – USA Gabriela, cravo e canela James L. Taylor and William L. Grossman, Alfred A. Knopf
1963 – UK [Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon]
1984 – USA Mar morto
[Sea of Death]
Chattto & Windus Gregory Rabassa, Avon

1984 – USA Mar morto
[Sea of Death]
Gregory Rabassa, Avon

1988 – USA Capitães da areia
[Captains of the Sands]
Gregory Rabassa Avon Books

1988 – UK/USA Tocaia grande
[Show Down
Gregory Rabassa Bantam Books

1969 – USA Dona Flor e seus dois maridos Harriet de Onís
1969 – UK [Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands: A Moral and Amorous Tale] Alfred A. Knopf Weidenfeld and Nicolson

1971 – USA Tenda dos milagres [Tent of Miracles] Barbara Shelby
1978 – UK Alfred A. Knopf Avon Books

1974 – USA
1982 – UK
Tereza Batista cansada de guerra [Tereza Batista: Home from the Wars] Barbara Shelby Alfred A. Knopf Souvenir Press

Jorge Amado 1979 – USA
1981 – UK
Tieta do Agreste
[Tieta, the Goat Girl: Or, the Return of the Prodigal Daughter]
Barbara Shelby Alfred A. Knopf Souvenir Press

1984 – USA Jubiabá
[Jubiabá]
Margaret A. Neves
Avon Books

1992 – USA São Jorge dos Ilhéus [The Golden Harvest] Clifford A. Landers Avon Books

Elizabeth Lowe (119) suggests that ‘Amado is among the writers who have contributed most to the emergence of a post-modern Inter-American literature’ as he was the ‘first Brazilian writer to achieve commercial success in the United States’ and ‘he is credited with opening the international market to the post-dictatorship generation of Brazilian writers’. However, his mixed reception brings to light the controversy around stereotyping in his post-1958 works, even acknowledging that Amado has enjoyed a great reception among the English-reading public. According to Lowe (127), ‘for his English and French language readers, he is a fascinating source of exotic and titillating narratives’, and for Brazilians he is either a ‘great ambassador of Brazilian culture and civilization around the world’ or a faux populist who thinly disguises sexist and racist attitudes behind charming prose.

Another important case to consider is that of Clarice Lispector (see table 6). Perhaps the greatest writer of contemporary Brazilian fiction, she also remained little known in the anglophone world throughout the twentieth century. First translated into English by Gregory Rabassa, some of her works were recreated in the USA and in the UK, mainly after her death, but these efforts seem not to have been enough to give her a better reception within the English-speaking world until a new wave of translations and re-translations were made in the twenty-first century, as we observe in the next section of this article.

Table 6

Translations of Clarice Lispector’s literary works.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Clarice Lispector 1967 – USA
1985 – UK
A maçã no escuro
[The Apple in the Dark]
Gregory Rabassa
Alfred A. Knopf
Virago Press

1972 – USA
1985 – UK
Laços de família [Family Ties] Giovanni Pontiero
University of Texas Press
Carcanet Press

1986 – UK/USA A legião estrangeira
[The Foreign Legion, Stories and Chronicles]
Giovanni Pontiero
Carcanet Press
New Directions

1990 – UK/USA Perto do coração selvagem
[Near to the Wild Heart]
Giovanni Pontiero
Carcanet Press
New Directions

1986 – UK
1992 – USA
A hora da estrela
[The Hour of the Star]
Giovanni Pontiero,
Carcanet Press
New Directions

1988 – USA A paixão Segundo G. H.
[The Passion according to G. H.]
Ronald W. Sousa
University of Minnesota Press

1989 – USA Água viva
[Stream of Life]
Elizabeth Lowe and Earl
Fitz University of Minnesota

1989 – USA Onde estivestes de noite;
A via crucis do corpo
[Soulstorm: Stories]
Alexis Levitin
New Directions

1992 – UK A descoberta do mundo
[Discovering the World]
Giovanni Pontiero
Carcanet Press

1969 – USA Uma aprendizagem ou o livro dos prazeres
[An Apprenticeship or the Book of Delights]
Richard A. Mazzara
University of Texas Press

In the book of memoirs If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Discontents (70), Rabassa defines Lispector as a “rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf”, whom he met at a conference on Brazil in Texas in the 1960s, before being invited by Knopf to launch works on Brazilian books, which led him to his first translation from Portuguese: The Apple in the Dark:

The conditions were ideal because I was preparing to leave for Brazil on my Fullbright and Clarice would be available in case I needed any help. […] I was glad to be translating The Apple in the Dark and not Grande sertão: veredas. Clarice goes smoothly into English, Rosa would have to be rewritten, not translated, unless by the likes of James Joyce. (Rabassa 71)

In the mid-twentieth century, movements towards translation were made essentially by the individual efforts of foreign researchers, travellers and publishers interested in Brazilian culture rather than collective projects or governmental programmes. It is important to highlight the fact that the reception of Clarice Lispector in the 1980s and 1990s in the English language was also connected to the reception of her works in the French-speaking world, especially after Hélène Cixous’ readings on Lispector, as Elena Carrera points out:

The idiosyncratic readings of Clarice Lispector, which French feminist Hélène Cixous has been offering to her readers and students since 1979, have not only had the important effect of calling international attention to the work of Brazil’s most celebrated novelist, but have also raised questions about whether it is possible to read and be read by the other as other, in a non-appropriating way. At a time when the continuity of Cixous’s seminars at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes and the Collège International de Philosophie is threatened, the name of Clarice, as Cixous has evoked it in her fortnightly public meditations year after year, still resonates in many diverse academic contexts through the three volumes of transcripts in English published by British and North American Universities. (Carrera 86)

Throughout the ‘post-boom’ period, the number of translations of Latin American literature increased significantly.8 Among the reasons for this, the effects of the ‘boom’ of Latin American fiction can be highlighted, even acknowledging its greater impact in Hispanic countries compared with Brazil; the rising interest in Latin American works by the worldwide cultural market and the consequent increase in departments of Latin American studies at US and UK universities, as well as funds for research to be carried out in Latin American countries. In this regard, Barbosa (66) states that the ‘boom’ is a phenomenon of translation, raising queries such as ‘why some authors are translated, and how their works are selected for translation’.

According to Gomes, the average number of translated books in the twentieth century was around two per year. Only in the second half of that century did translations become more numerous, reaching thirty-nine in the 1970s, fifty-six in the 1980s (Barbosa 16–17) and fifty-seven from 1990 to 2000 (Gomes 69–72). Some representative writers with more than one piece of work translated between the 1970s and the 1980s are Antonio Callado, Autran Dourado, Lêdo Ivo, Antonio Torres, J. J. Veiga, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Moacyr Scliar and João Ubaldo Ribeiro (see table 7).

Table 7

Samples of translated authors: 1970s, 1980s and beyond.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Antonio
Callado
1970 – USA Quarup
[Quarup]
Barbara Shelby
Alfred A. Knopf

1972 – USA Bar Don Juan
[Don Juan’s Bar]
Barbara Shelby
Alfred A. Knopf

Autran
Dourado
1969 – USA Uma vida em segredo
[A Hidden Life]
Edgar Miller Jr.
Alfred A. Knop

1980 – UK
1981 – USA
Ópera dos mortos
[The Voices of the Dead]
John M. Parker
Peter Owen
Tapingler Publishers

1984 – UK O risco do bordado
[Pattern for a Tapestry]
John M. Parker
Peter Owen

1988 – UK Os sinos da agonia
[The Bells of Agony]
John M. Parker
Peter Owen

Lêdo Ivo 1981 – USA
1989 – UK
Ninho de cobras
[Snake’s Nest; or, a Tale Badly Told]
Kern Krapohl
New Directions
Peter Owen

Antonio Torres 1987 – UK Essa terra
[The Land]
Margaret A. Neves
Readers International

1989 – UK Balada da infância perdida
[Blues for a Lost Childhood]
John M. Parker
Readers International

José J. Veiga 1970 – USA A Máquina extraviada
[The Misplaced Machine and Other Stories]
Pamela G. Bird
Alfred A. Knopf

1970 – USA
1979 – UK
A hora dos ruminantes
[The Three Trials of Manirema
Pamela G. Bird
Alfred A. Knopf
Peter Owen

Lygia Fagundes Telles 1982 – USA As meninas
[The Girl in the Photograph]
Margaret A. Neves
Avon Books

1986 – USA Ciranda de pedra
[The Marble Dance]
Margaret A. Neves
Avon Books

1977 – USA Seminário dos ratos
[Tigrela and Other Stories]
Margaret A. Neves
Avon Books

João Ubaldo Ribeiro 1978 – USA
1980 – UK
Sargento Getúlio
[Sergeant Getúlio]
Houghton Mifflin
André Deutsch

1980 – UK Sargento Getúlio
[Sergeant Getúlio]
Houghton Mifflin
André Deutsch

1988 – USA
1989 – UK
Viva o povo brasileiro
[An Invincible Memory]
Harper & Row
Faber & Faber

1994 – USA O sorriso do lagarto
[The Lizard’s Smile]
Clifford A. Landers
Atheneum

Moacyr Scliar 1985 – USA O centauro no jardim
[The Centaur in the Garden]
Margaret A. Neves
Ballantines Books

1986 – USA Os deuses de Raquel
[The Gods of Rachel]
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1986 – USA O carnival dos animais
[The Carnival of the Animals]
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1985 – USA Exército de um homem só
[The One-Man Army]
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1987 – USA Balada do falso messias
[Balad of the False Messiah
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1988 – USA A estranha nação de Rafael Mendes
[The Strange Nation of Rafael Mendes
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Crown Books

1988 – USA Os voluntários
[The Volunteers]
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1989 – USA O olho enigmático
[The Enigmatic Eye]
Eloah F. Giacomelli
Ballantines Books

1990 – USA Max e os felinos
[Max and the Cats]
Eloah F. Giacomell
Ballantines Books

2011 – USA Os leopardos de Kafka
[Kafka’s Leopards]
Thomas O. Beebee
Texas University Press

In the 1990s, the increase in the number of Brazilian women writers’ works being translated into English is apparent, a fact which expresses not only some changes in the translation flow but also new dynamics in the Brazilian literature system. Lya Luft, Nélida Piñon, Adélia Prado and Marilene Felinto are some examples (see table 8) of a trend that is being consolidated in the twenty-first century. The publishing houses Carcanet, Boulevard Books, Bloomsbury and Peter Owen in the UK, as well as New Directions, Ballantines Books, Avon Books and Texas University Press in the USA, are responsible for most of the publications in this period.

Table 8

Samples of translated authors in the 1990s and beyond.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Adélia Prado 1990 – USA Coração disparado
[The Headlong Heart]
Ellen Watson
Wesleyan University Press

1990 – USA Os componentes da banda
[The Alphabet in the Park]
Ellen Watson
Wesleyan University Press

Caio Fernando Abreu 1990 – UK Os dragões não conhecem o paraíso
[Dragons]
David Treece
Boulevard

2000 – USA Onde andará Dulce Veiga?
[Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga? A B Novel]
Adria Frizzi
University of Texas Press

Lya Luft 1986 – USA O quarto fechado
[Island of the Dead]
C. C. McClendon and B. J.
Craige University of Georgia Press

1994 – UK Exílio
[The Red House]
Giovanni Pontiero
Carcanet Press

Chico Buarque 1992 – UK Estorvo
[Turbulence]
Peter Bush
Bloomsbury

1997 – UK Benjamin
[Benjamin]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

2004 – UK Budapeste
[Budapest]
Alison Entrekin
Bloomsbury

2012 – USA/Canada Leite derramado
[Spilt Milk]
Alison Entrekin
Grove/Atlantic Books

Nélida Piñon 1989 – USA A república dos sonhos
[The Republic of Dreams]
Helen Lane
Alfred A. Knopf

1992 – USA A doce canção de Caetana
[Caetana’s Sweet Song]
Helen Lane
Alfred A. Knopf

Rubem Fonseca 1986 – US A grande arte
[High Art]
Ellen Watson
Harper & Row

1990 – USA Bufo & Spallanzani
[Bufo and Spallanzani]
Clifford E. Landers
Dutton/Penguin Books

1998 – USA Vastas emoções e pensamentos imperfeitos
[Vast Emotions and Imperfect Thoughts]
Clifford E. Landers
Ecco Press

Rubem Fonseca 2014 – USA Agosto
[Crimes of August: A Novel]
Clifford E. Landers
Tagus

Edla Van Steen 1991 – USA Cheiro de amor
[Scent of Love]
David George
Latin American Literary
Review Press

1991 – USA Madrugada
[Early Mourning]
David George
Latin American Literary
Review Press

1991 – USA Corações mordidos
[Village of the Ghost Bells]
David George
University of Texas Press

João Gilberto Noll 1997 – UK Hotel Atlântico
[Hotel Atlantico]
Harmada
[Harmada]
David Treece
Boulevard Books

Marilene Felinto 1994 – USA Mulheres de Tijucopapo
[The Women of Tijucopapo]
Irene Matthews
University of Nebraska Press

There were a significant number of new writers whose works were being translated at the end of the twentieth century. Among them, Rubem Fonseca, Chico Buarque, Milton Hatoum, João Gilberto Noll and Patrícia Melo can be highlighted as they have continued to be translated into the twenty-first century. The number of reprints/re-translations was also growing at the time – fifteen in the 1990s, according to the data provided by Gomes (69–72), including names such as Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis, Erico Verissimo, Clarice Lispector, Paulo Coelho and Graciliano Ramos. This suggests an increasing interest in the Brazilian canon, as well as in the ‘best-sellers’. In addition, it shows that just a few works have circulated across the world and have had acceptance by different readers, critics and translators, reaching what Guillén (145) terms ‘world literature’. However, the criteria used by translators, publishing houses and academia to identify writers and/or books for translation have varied considerably, in many cases involving personal experiences and individual selection rather than a deeper analysis of the Brazilian literary system or the presence of policies for broadening the internationalization of Brazilian culture. Thus, as Werner (8) states, the translation flow from Brazil to other countries and languages are influenced by the economic and political position of the country in the international scene, and also by individuals who play a decisive role in the growth of the translation system. Furthermore, translation follows an uneven structure in which the relations between centre and periphery cause a number of effects on the circulation of a country’s cultural goods, and Portuguese is considered to be a peripheral language for the translation system.

3. Into the Twenty-First Century: Challenges and Perspectives for Brazilian Literature

Within the fourteen years of the twenty-first century covered by my research, it was possible to observe three parallel phenomena regarding the international impact of Brazilian literature:

  1. the sales success of Paulo Coelho’s works and the consolidation of his name as one of the best-known Brazilian writers worldwide, despite the fact that he has not been considered as ‘belonging in the domain of high culture literature’, as Fernando Antonio Pinheiro suggests in the article ‘The Academy’s Refusal to Understand Paulo Coelho’ (Folha de S. Paulo, 2013);9
  2. the collection of retranslations of Clarice Lispector’s works, organized by Benjamin Moser, which positions her as the greatest contemporary representative of the Brazilian canon within ‘world literature’;
  3. the rise of the number of translations of contemporary writers’ works, generally connected to award-winning authors, who have been promoted internationally by literary agents, translators, publishing houses, literary festivals and book fairs.

Paulo Coelho is a particular case within Brazilian contemporary literature (see table 9). Acclaimed as the internationally best-selling author of The Alchemist, Coelho’s books, on the one hand, have had a major impact on publishers’ selling rates for Brazilian works, and for Brazilian literature’s international reception. On the other hand, Coelho has remained ignored or criticized by academia owing to the themes of his novels, which are generally connected to esoteric issues, and their lack of cultural content. Furthermore, the quality and originality of his works have been thrown into sharp focus by academics in contrast with his planetary market success.

Table 9

Translations of Paulo Coelho’s works.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Paulo Coelho 1992 – USA
1997 – UK
O diário de um mago
[The Diary of a Magus]
[The Pilgrimage
Alan R. Clarke
Harper Collins
Publishers

1993 – USA
2013 – UK (25th anniversary edition)
O alquimista
[The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream]
Alan R. Clarke
Harper Collins
Publishers

2008 – UK/USA Brida
[Brida]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

1995 – USA
2003 – UK
As Valkírias
[The Valkyries]
Alan R. Clarke
Harper Collins
Publishers

1996 – USA
1997 – UK
Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei
[By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept]
Alan R. Clarke
Harper Collins
Publishers

1998 – UK/USA O Monte Cinco
[The Fifth Mountain]
Clifford E. Landers
Harper Collins
Publishers

1999 – UK/USA Veronika decide morrer
[Veronika Decides to Die]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2003 – UK Manual do Guerreiro da Luz
[Manual of the Warrior of the Light]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2002 – UK
2006 – USA
O demônio e a Srta. Prym
[The Devil and Miss: A Novel of Temptation]
Amanda Hopkinson
and Nick Caistor
Harper Collins
Publishers

2003 – UK
2004 – USA
Onze minutos
[Eleven Minutes]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2005 – UK/USA O Zahir
[The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2007 – UK/USA A bruxa de Portobello
[The Witch of Portobello]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

Paulo Coelho 2009 – UK/USA O vencedor está só
[The Winner Stands Alone]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2011 – UK/USA Aleph [Aleph] Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers/Alfred A. Knopf

2013 – UK/USA Manuscrito Encontrado em Accra
[Manuscript Found in Accra]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harper Collins
Publishers

2014 – UK Adultério
[Adultery]
Margaret Jull Costa
and Zöe Perry
Hutchinson

The ‘Paulo Coelho phenomenon’ has brought to Brazilian fiction a position in the cultural market that it had only previously achieved with Jorge Amado’s works. Despite his works not being considered literature by many critics and the fact that they are not within the Brazilian canon, it is necessary to highlight Coelho’s reception in both the USA and the UK, as well as many other countries, including Brazil, by the readership.

Moreover, the canonical writer Clarice Lispector seems to have been rediscovered in the twenty-first century as her works have been republished in the anglophone world, with good international reception (see table 10). The idea of ‘rediscovering Lispector’ came from Benjamin Moser, when he published the book Why this World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, in 2009 (Oxford University Press/Penguin), which had a high profile among the Notable Books of 2009 as part of the New York Times Review. According to Moser, ‘it’s rare enough to get one chance to be translated into English. It’s even rarer – almost unheard of — to get two’. Lispector has indeed had a second chance in English, as New Directions and Penguin Modern Classics expressed their interest in a project to be launched in both the UK and the USA. The result was that several of her most important novels were re-translated within a period of four years.

Table 10

Re-translations of Clarice Lispector’s literary works in the twenty-first century.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Clarice Lispector 2011 – USA
2014 – UK
A hora da estrela
[The Hour of the Star]
Benjamin Moser
New Directions
Penguin

2012 – USA/Canada
2014 – UK
Água Viva
[Água Viva].
Stefan Tobler
New Directions
Penguin

2012 – USA/Canada
2014 – UK
Um sopro de vida: pulsações
[A Breath of Life [Pulsations]]
Johnny Lorenz
New Directions
Penguin

2012 – USA/Canada
2014 – UK
A paixão segundo G.H.
[The Passion According to G. H.]
Idra Novey
New Directions
Penguin

2012 – USA/Canada
2014 – UK
Perto do coracão selvagem
[Near to the Wild Heart]
Alison Entrekin
New Directions
Penguin

The retranslations of Lispector have breathed new life into the Brazilian literary system at the dawn of the twenty-first century by pushing her literary works towards the contemporary concept of ‘world literature’ (Damrosch and Guillén) as a result of the phenomenon of ‘mundialization’ (Ortiz, ‘Globalização: notas sobre um debate’ 246).10 By and large, in a mundi context, literature has faced translation as an issue in order to enter a ‘mundialized’ universe. Having Brazilian literature as an example, the translation of literary works into English seems to be an important step towards achieving planetary dimensions in the cultural market, as we can see in the cases of Paulo Coelho and Clarice Lispector.

Regarding re-translations, it is worth mentioning the impact that they generally have on the quality of translated works and consequently on the translation flow. As Lowe (414) points out, re-translations exist because ‘available translations are not well done and there is a market for a better version of the text’. In the case of Clarice Lispector’s works, the series of re-translations was intended to ‘re-create’ the writer’s voice for English-speaking readers. The decision to re-translate concomitantly a number of her books was, however, initiated by Benjamin Moser, when New Directions was preparing to reissue A hora da estrela [The Hour of the Star]. According to Lowe (414), he convinced the publisher to proceed with more re-translations, which raises issues regarding translation politics.

Another point to be considered is regarding new Brazilian literature (see table 11). Either through writings more concerned with universal themes rather than Brazilian issues or through the exploration of transnational spaces within time, the fact is that contemporary Brazilian writers have addressed the opening of their works to the global market, even with all of the difficulties that being a ‘peripheral writer’ imposes. Some of them have even changed the country of origin, as in the cases of Adriana Lisboa and Patrícia Melo, living in the USA or in Europe, respectively; others have travelled around the world, like Bernardo Carvalho and Tatiana Salem Levy.

Table 11

Translations of Brazilian literature in the twenty-first century.


Brazilian writer Year/country of translation Translated work Translator/publishing house

Michel Laub 2014 – UK Diário da da queda
[Diary of the Fall]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harvill Secker

Daniel Galera 2014 – UK Barba ensopada de sangue
[Blood-Drenched Beard]
Alison Entrekin
Hamish Hamilton

Adriana Lisboa 2010 – USA Sinfonia em branco
[Symphony in White]
Sarah Green
Texas University Press

2011 – USA Rakushisha
[Hut of Fallen Persimmons]
Sarah Green
Texas University Press

2013 – UK
2014 – USA
Azul-corvo
[Crow Blue]
Alison Entrekin
Bloomsbury

Bernardo Carvalho 2007 – UK/USA Nove noites
[Nine Nights]
Benjamin Moser
William Heinemann/Vintage

Milton Hatoum 2004 – UK/USA Relato de um certo Oriente
[Tale of a Certain Orient]
Ellen Watson and John
Gledson Bloomsbury

2003 – UK/USA Dois irmãos
[The Brothers]
John Gledson
Blomsbury

2008 – UK/USA Cinzas do Norte
[Ashes of the Amazon]
John Gledson
Blomsbury

2012 – UK/USA Órtfãos do Eldorado
[Orphans of Eldorado]
John Gledson
Cannongate

Patricia Melo 1997 – UK/USA O matador
[The Killer]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

1999 – UK/USA Elogio da mentira
[In Praise of Lies]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

2002 – UK/USA Inferno
[Inferno]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

2004 – UK/USA Valsa negra
[Black Waltz]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

2009 – UK/USA Mundo perdido
[Lost World]
Clifford E. Landers
Bloomsbury

Diogo Mainardi 2014 – UK A queda: as memórias de um pai em 424 passos
[The Fall: Father’s Memoir in 424 Steps]
Margaret Jull Costa
Harvill Secker

Cristóvão Tezza 2013 – USA/Australia/New Zealand O filho eterno
[Eternal Son]
Alison Entrekin
Scribe
Tagus Pres

João Paulo Cuenca 2013 – USA O único final feliz para uma história de amor é um acidente
[The Only Happy Ending for a Love Story Is an Accident]
Elizabeth Lowe
Tagus Press

Marcelo Mirisola 2012 – Brazil Joana a contragosto
[Joana Against my Will]
Fal Azevedo
KBR Editora Digital

Paulo Scott 2014 – UK/USA Habitante irreal
[Nowhere People]
Daniel Hahn
And Other Stories

Rodrigo de Souza Leão 2013 – UK/USA Todos os cachorros são azuis
[All Dogs are Blue]
Zoë Perry and Stefan
Tobler And Other Stories

Luiz Ruffato 2014 – USA Eles eram muitos cavalos
[There Were Many Horses]
Anthony Doyle
Amazon Crossing

Drauzio Varella 2012 – UK/USA/Canada/Australia Estação Carandiru
[Lockdown – Inside Brazil’s most Dangerous Prison]
Alison Entrekin Simon & Schuster

Alberto Mussa 2013 – USA O senhor do lado esquerdo
[The Mistery of Rio]
Alex Ladd
Europa Editions

Bernardo Kucinski 2013 – UK K
[K]
Sue Branford
Latin American Bureau

Edney Silvestre 2013 – UK Se eu fechar os olhos agora
[If I Close My Eyes Now]
Nick Caistor
Doubleday

Luis Fernando Verissimo 2001 – UK Clube dos anjos
[Club of Angels]
Margaret Jull Costa
The Harvill Press

2005 – UK Borges e os Orangotangos
[Borges and the Eternal Orang-Utans]
Margaret Jull Costa
Vintage

2012 – UK Os espiões
[The Spies]
Margaret Jull Costa
Quercus

João Almino 2008 – USA As Cinco Estações do Amor
[The Five Seasons of Love]
Elizabeth Jackson
Host Publications

2012 – UK/USA/Ireland O livro das emoções
[The Book of Emotions]
Elizabeth Jackson
Dalkey Archive Press

2013 – UK/USA/Ireland Cidade livre
[Free City]
Rhett McNeil
Dalkey Archive Press

Even with different backgrounds, aesthetic and/or ideological purposes, this new generation of writers has been prompted by national and international prizes, literary festivals and books fairs, such as Flip and Flipside Festivals, Edinburgh International Book Fair and, Frankfurt International Book Fair, at which Brazil was the guest of honour in 2013. These new ways of promoting international literature have influenced the status quo of Brazilian literary works in English. The series Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, published by Boulevard Books in 2001, and the Best of Young Brazilian Novelists, published by Granta in 2012, have also helped to shape the variety of current writers who have been translated into English.

It is important to highlight the Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction within the first works that have brought together writers of contemporary Brazilian literature at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Of the thirty-nine authors selected for this issue of Babel Guides, all have had their work translated into English. They include Chico Buarque, Paulo Coelho, Rubem Fonseca, Milton Hatoum, Patrícia Melo and Moacyr Scliar.

Of the authors selected for Granta’s The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists, only Michel Laub and Daniel Galera have had works published in English. Observing the fourteen authors invited to participate in Flipside in 2013 and/or included in the book New Stories from Brazil (Gurría-Quintana) launched at the event, the list of translated authors increases: Adriana Lisboa, Bernardo Carvalho, Miton Hatoum, Patrícia Melo and Cristovão Tezza – award-winning authors with a number of works published in Brazil and who have already received a very positive reception from critics.11

All three Brazilian writers selected for the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2014 –Daniel Galera, Diogo Mainardi and Paulo Scott – have works published in English. Ángel Gurría-Quintana highlights the recent translated works by Michel Laub, Daniel Galera, Diogo Mainardi, Paulo Scott, Adriana Lisboa, Cristovão Tezza, Rodrigo de Souza Leão, Alberto Mussa, Bernardo Kucinski and Edney Silvestre, as well as those by ‘veterans of English-language publication’, such as Chico Buarque, Milton Hatoum and Luis Fernando Verissimo, bringing them together as representative Brazilian writers of the present day. Furthermore, he states that there are a number of yet-to-be translated writers, such as Fernanda Torres, Carola Saavedra, Andréa Del Fuego, Marcelo Ferroni, Sérgio Sant’Anna, João Anzanello Carrascoza, Sérgio Rodrigues, Socorro Alcioli, Tatiana Salem Levy as well as the latest works of Bernardo Carvalho and Paulo Lins.

4. Final Remarks

Heloisa Barbosa (5) stressed in her thesis that ‘From the point of view of visibility in the world scene of literature, it is possible to say that the Brazilian system is “small”, that is, it occupies a subordinate position in the world panorama’, a result of cultural, economic and political factors. Looking at this panorama from the perspective of the twenty-first century, we can observe that the number of translated works has not increased significantly, as can be seen in figure 1.

Figure 1 

Number of translations of Brazilian literature into English.

There are, however, some interesting data which refer to the number of translations between 2010 and 2014: twenty-seven translations were found among the data collected, not including re-translations and reprints.12 This number is close to the twenty-nine works found for the whole of the previous decade (2000–2009), showing that the number of works translated in the current decade is proportionally much greater than for the first ten years of this century.

One of the reasons suggested for these new paths for translation is the ease of access to world literature and reading through digital resources, especially via e-books. Books once considered to be inaccessible to the majority of anglophone readers, owing to the print runs of the translated editions, are nowadays easily found on the Internet to be bought and downloaded. Another reason is connected to the role of international prizes and awards, literary festivals and book fairs, which have brought writers together from all over the world. It is also worth mentioning the movement to promote writers and translators provided by the Brazilian government, through the International Book Centre;13 by international organizations, such as the British Centre for Literary Translation and the British Council; and by academia, which has been launching new books since the 1950s, through publishers such as Tagus Press (University of Massachusetts), Texas University Press and Oxford University Press; also publishing houses which have published on digital media new books of Brazilian in translation, such as Amazon Crossing.14

Nevertheless, these new perspectives for Brazilian literature in translation do not include the genre of poetry. The majority of the translations are novels and short stories, data relating to which has not been fully collected in the research because anthologies and collections of selected works were not included. The Brazilian poet who has been translated into English most often is Carlos Drummond de Andrade, with selections of his poems being published in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s including Travelling in the Family, translated by Thomas Colchie. Among the most important works of Brazilian poetry in translation ever produced are Elizabeth Bishop and Emanuel Brasil’s An Anthology of Twentieth Century Brazilian Poetry, Charles Perrone’s Seven Faces: Brazilian Poetry Since Modernism and Frederick G. Williams’ Poets of Brazil. In addition, there is a selection of Antonio Moura’s poetry, published in translation as Silence River in 2012, which claims to be the only English translation of a living Brazilian poet’s work.

Moreover, very few plays have been translated because this genre seems to have been forgotten in the world of translation. Jackson (116–17) claims that Brazilian plays in English are confined to the mid-twentieth century, perhaps as a consequence of the fact that Brazilian literature remains relatively unknown among English-speaking readers. I would highlight Apareceu a Margarida by Roberto de Athayde, translated as Miss Margarida’s Way in 1977 (unknown translator), and O auto da compadecida by Ariano Suassuna, translated as The Rogue’s Trial in 1963 (by Dillwyn F. Ratcliff). In the twenty-first century, little has been done to change this situation. As an example it seems that none of the works by Nelson Rodrigues, one of the most important Brazilian playwrights, has yet been published in English translation, except for his series of newspaper chronicles A vida como ela é [Life as It Is]. Likewise, little has been translated from the genre of the essay – one example is Os sertões by Euclides da Cunha, translated into English by Samuel Putnam as Rebellion in the Backlands and published by the University of Chicago Press in 1944. Nevertheless, research into the essay genre in translation is beyond the scope of this article.

On the other hand, the creation of projects for the translation of Latin American works into English and research into translation and Latin American studies carried out at universities has produced a substantial amount of Brazilian works translated into English. The selection of works translated in the nineteenth and the twenty-first centuries seems to be for the following diverse reasons: the contact of explorers, travelers and researchers with Brazilian culture; the reception of Brazilian literature in Brazil and the formation of the canon within Brazilian letters; the boom of Latin American literature; the bestseller books in the Brazilian cultural market; the economic and political opening up of the country from the 1980s; the increasing number of departments of Latin American and Lusophone studies at universities; and the connection between selected works of Brazilian literature within world literature and the effects of cultural globalization, such as the ease of air travel and the boom of the Internet. However, there are still many barriers that prevent a greater flow of translations of Brazilian literature, especially the difficulties of translating from Brazilian Portuguese, the lack of brokering of Brazilian literature abroad and the fact that the language remains in a peripheral position in the cultural market. As Albert Braz (17) suggests, translation requires that one artefact is transported from one culture to another, and Brazilian literature has a long way to go with regard to the expansion of its processes of transculturalization.

According to Ortiz, for historical reasons, ‘English became the language of world modernity’, which does not signify the disappearance of other languages. In fact, ‘The emergence of English as a world language gives a new definition to the world market of linguistic goods on a planetary scale’ (Ortiz, ‘Mundialization/Globalization’ 402). Brazilian literature, as with any other cultural system in the world, has to be aware of these forces. From the ‘space in between’ in which this literary system has lived, Brazilian literature finds a way for global translation in the English language, which evokes what Santiago (35) suggested as ‘assimilation and the need to produce a new text’ in a range of other translation processes, as well as transnational experiences:

Somewhere between sacrifice and playfulness, prison and transgression, submission to the code and aggression, obedience and rebellion, assimilation and expression – there, in this apparently empty space, its temple and its clandestinity, is where the anthropophagous ritual of Latin American discourse is constructed. (Santiago 38)

Additional Files

The additional files for this article can be found as follows:

Appendix

Brazilian Literary Works in English Translations from 2000 to 201415. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3828/mlo.v0i0.124.s1