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Cannibal Modernities

Postcoloniality and the Avant-garde in Caribbean and Brazilian Literature
Luís Madureira

BUY Cloth · 272 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813923758 · $60.00 · Oct 2005
BUY Paper · 272 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813923765 · $21.50 · Oct 2005

Unique in its inclusion of Brazil in a comparative study of literary texts and their engagement with Western modernity, Cannibal Modernities is the first postcolonial study to show how the "peripheral" replications of modernity in contemporary Caribbean and Latin American texts differ crucially from their European models.

Luís Madureira addresses issues that so many postcolonial theorists have struggled with, particularly the complx interactions and antagonisms between indigenous cultures and the imperial cultures imposed upon them and the effort to "provincialize the West." Madureira’s book diverges from existing critical texts, however, in crucial, thought-provoking ways. The specific literary traditions compared here—Brazilian modernism, Négritude theory and poetry, as well as Caribbean literary theory and historical discourses in French, English, and Spanish—have not been brought together in a single study before. In addition, the book’s theoretical model of comparison focuses on the complexities of colonial and postcolonial identity and of nationhood and globalization, as well as on tyheir agonoistic engagement with Europe’s enlightenment philosophy.

Cannibal Modernities shows us it is precisely in those New World avant-garde movements that have been traditionally designated as imitative that the emergence of postcoloniality resides and, moreover, that Europe’s foundational discourses of modernity are enabled and sustained by the very peoples and cultures that have been relegated to the margins by modernity.


Cannibal Modernities offers for the first time a comparative exploration of Brazilian, French, and Spanish Caribbean literatures of modernism. Madureira's staggering erudition, linguistic talents, and subtle and provocative readings of many of the region's most important authors in the twentieth century provide rich dividends for the student of modernity in the Americas.

George Handley, Brigham Young University, author of Postslavery Literatures in the Americas: Family Portraits in Black and White

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