From the beginning of colonization, Portuguese, the official language, was influenced by Tupi-Guaraní, a popular language born from the encounter between Jesuit missionaries and indigenous children (columin). The subsequent and copious African contributions and, from the century. XIX onwards, Italians, Germans, Japanese etc., without destroying the substantial “Portugueseness” of the Brazilian, softened his prosody even more (loss of s and r) and greatly enriched the lexicon, while the difference between spoken language and written language, enormous in the colonial centuries, gradually diminished, until it almost disappeared. Between 1931 and 1945, agreements between the Portuguese and Brazilian academies led to the orthographic unification; but total unification, although hoped for by various parts, is very difficult, given the variety of the ethnic mosaic (and the same extent) of Brazil.
CULTURE: LITERATURE. FROM ITS ORIGINS TO THE 19TH CENTURY
From the meeting of three fundamental sentiments, all of a religious nature, the first expressive motive of Brazilian literature seems to spring: the Amerindian sense of the sacred and the symbol, the African sense of Eros and nature, the Portuguese sense of individual and cosmic destiny. Linguistically, this literature has sustained a hard effort for centuries to adapt to the classical Lusitanian rules and models; but the Tupi-Guaraní terminology concerning nature has entered it massively, just as with time the African rhythmic influence has grown. At the origins of Brazilian literature are the poems of the missionary José de Anchieta (16th century), the satires of Gregório de Matos Guerra (17th century) and the texts of various chroniclers. In the sec. XVIII, especially in Minas Gerais, Arcadia spread, with lyric and epic poets of great stylistic interest, such as Basílio da Gama, Cláudio Manuel da Costa, Santa Rita Durão, Alvarenga Peixoto, Silva Alvarenga; Tomás Antônio Gonzaga, in Arcadia known as Dirceu, stands out above all, for novelty of themes and intimacy of the evocative and pathetic accent. The Arcadian movement can be said to be concluded with the Viola de Lereno by Domingos Caldas Barbosa (1740-1800), mestizo poet of refined neo-Latin culture. The European influence became even more vast and decisive after 1808, the date of the transfer of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil. In the sec. The dominant nineteenth century was the influence of European movements, starting with romanticism. According to internetsailors, the first Brazilian romantics were Domingos José Gonçalves de Magalhães, who had traveled extensively in Italy, and A. Gonçalves Dias. Prose playwright of obvious Shakespearean derivation (Leonor de Mendonça, Patkull), Gonçalves Dias built the epic of primitive indigenous peoples in Y-Juca-Pirama (in Guaraní “he who must die”) and in the lyrics he expressed a very delicate nostalgia for innocence, for the state of nature, not without Leopardian moments of cosmic shock. In the prose the fecund José de Alencár stood out, “ Indianist ”, that is, evocative of the primitive past, in historical novels in the manner of Walter Scott (O Guarany), but a follower of Balzac in those of a contemporary subject. In fiction, a first reaction to the sentimental colorism of the romantics is represented by Alfredo Escragnolle de Taunay with the novel Inocência and with A retirada da Laguna. Traditionalist in poetry is instead A. Pôrto Alegre, while Tobias Barreto is inspired by Hugo; sentimental is Casimiro de Abreu, Byronic Álvares de Azevedo, spontaneous singer of nature Fagundes Varela with his Vozes de América. Of all the romantics the most important is the poet Castro Alves, an ardent supporter of the abolition of slavery and a sincere democrat, but newer and more pungent in the poem of love. In an approximation of prose contributed to the everyday spoken Joaquim Manuel de Macedo with A Moreninha and especially Manuel Antônio de Almeida with its delightful Memórias de um silver de milícias. The decline of romanticism is marked by Joaquím Maria Machado de Assis, the greatest creative spirit of all Brazilian literature, a vigorous realist narrator, perfect stylist, playwright and critic of great value. The elegant and impersonal Parnassian opera began to flourish around him, with Alberto de Oliveira, Olavo Bilac and the more original Raimundo Corrêa. New anxieties and a musical extenuation of the verse brought the symbolists Alphonsus de Guimaraens, Hermes Fontes, Augusto dos Anjos and particularly the great black poet João da Cruz and Souza. Even the naturalism he had his moment in Brazil, with novels such as A carne by Júlio Ribeiro and O mulato by Aluísio Azevedo; but the best storytellers of the time continued the ironic and moralistic tradition of Machado de Assis: we remember Raul Pompéia, author of O Ateneu, and Alfonso Henriques de Lima Barreto, in whom the social theme acquires an unexpected prominence.