Le idee fuori posto

 Roberto Schwarz 

Traduzione di Giovanni Zanotti 


Schiavitù in Brasile, Jean Baptiste Debret


Misplaced Ideas 

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. 

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