Mário Raul de Morais Andrade (ahn-DRAH-thay) is regarded as the consummate writer of twentieth century Brazil for the breadth of his creative, critical, and investigatory work. His spiritual leadership placed him at the forefront of Brazilian modernism. Andrade lived all his life in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, where he studied, worked, and founded several important cultural institutions. He received a classical Catholic secondary education and took a degree in piano from the São Paulo Conservatory in 1917, the same year he published his first book of poems, which reflect on the pain and suffering of World War I.
In the early 1920’s Andrade became an advocate of literary renovation. In 1922 he was a principal figure in the polemical Week of Modern Art, which officially launched artistic modernism in Brazil. As a collaborator in literary reviews, a creative author, and an essayist, Andrade was essential to the development of the literary movement that championed the use of natural language and national cultural awareness as well as formal innovation in the light of changes in European literatures. In 1922 he published the combative volume of poetry Hallucinated City, an extravagant free-verse collection that celebrated the Brazilian urban experience and mocked staid traditionalists. He formalized his arguments for change in subsequent influential essays.
In 1924 Andrade became professor of musical history at the São Paulo Conservatory, a position he maintained while pursuing literary interests. He took numerous research trips around Brazil, on which he absorbed the colonial heritage and explored the vast and rich systems of folk culture in the northern regions of the country. The 1927 collection of poetry Cla do jaboti (a tribal clan) reflects this characteristic preoccupation with folk traditions and nonacademic, popular language.
The author’s broad ethnographic knowledge and his...
(The entire section is 799 words.)