Traduzione di Giovanni Zanotti
Schiavitù in Brasile, Jean Baptiste Debret
Abstract: This essay, written in 1972, is one of the cornerstones of Brazilian critical theory. From the standpoint of literary criticism, with a special focus on Machado de Assis’s late work, it analyzes the ideological mechanism of 19th-century Brazilian society, where European liberal ideas are “misplaced”, i.e., contradicted by slavery, yet are absorbed according to a peculiar logic, regardless of their own content. Precisely such “second-degree ideologies”, however, allow for a more intuitive understanding of liberalism’s intrinsic contradictions and an original insight into the nature of global capitalism from a “peripheral” point of view.
Keywords: Brazilian Critical Theory; Misplaced Ideas; Periphery; Ideology; Machado de Assis.