Contemporary Urban Brazilian Fiction and Discourses of Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nelson Vieira has deftly defended contemporary Brazilian prose that pairs sophisticated narrative techniques with pulpy disquieting themes. With relationship to various authors (Roberto Drummond, Rubem Fonseca, Samuel Rawet, Sérgio Sant’Anna, and Dalton Trevisan), Vieira has argued that their fiction—in its combination of aesthetic innovation and uncomfortable subject matter—challenges discourses of power in Brazil’s everyday reality. These discourses of power involve bourgeois society’s rigid norms, hegemonic value systems, discrimination of marginalized groups, or reductive understandings of “high art” as pure and superior to mass culture. Drawing on Vieira’s insights on Brazilian contemporary urban fiction, this article first argues that the rise of Brazilian urban fiction can be understood not only as a response to urbanization, but also as reflective of a desire to aestheticize conflicts related to place, power, storytelling, and language. Next, the article argues that the first four novels of João Almino’s Brasília quintet—with the specific backdrop of Brazil’s capital city—contrast sophisticated form and pulp themes to examine the ties between language and authority as they relate to the hypocrisy and superficiality of its elite characters.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-108
JournalBrasil/Brazil: A Journal of Brazilian Literature
Issue number60
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Special issue honoring the research of Nelson H. Vieira


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