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Raízes de Gilberto Freyre


The centenary in 2000 of Gilbert Freyre's birth occasioned a number of retrospectives on his place in Brazil's history. This article focuses on Freyre up to 1933, the year in which Casa Grande & Senzala was published. Emphasis is given to such formative influences as his undergraduate study at Baylor University, his graduate study at Columbia University and his subsequent travels in Europe. In these years Freyre rejected an invitation to stay in the USA and strengthened his resolve to return to Brazil and make his career as a writer. The theme he soon adopted was Brazil's viability as a modern nation, notwithstanding its supposed defects of race and climate.

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An earlier version of this article was presented at the VII Jornada de Ciências Sociaias UNESP – Marília, Brazil, in November 2000. My interpretation of Freyre's work rests in part on my conversations with him in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Recife in the 1960s and the 1970s. Research assistance for this article was provided by Beatriz Fontenelle Arantes. I am indebted to Alexandre Eulalio and Franciso de Assis Barbosa who years ago taught me much about Brazilian cultural history in general and Freyre in particular. Felicity Skidmore edited the paper on which this article is based.
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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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