Vol. 4 No. 1 2020

Saga-Like World-Fractals: João Guimarães Rosa, Sagarana, and the Literatures of the World
Author:Ottmar Ette    Time:2020-07-06    Click:

Abstract: This article presents and discusses João Guimarães Rosa as an outstanding Brazilian author whose literary work, especially Sagarana, expresses aesthetically different ways of life-forms between human beings, animals, plants, and landscapes. Movement and transformations are the basic principles in which the melody of prose expresses itself as a language in and as motion. Although based in Brazilian culture, Rosa shows the conviviality of different logics which are not reduced to one myth of the Brazilian people, but produce multiple ways of co-existence between different life-forms and culture narratives. The translingual title “Sagarana” already alludes to the transitions between two languages, regions, and cultures: the Icelandic saga-” and the Tupic-Word “rana” which means “similar” or “alike.” The interpretation figures out the correlation of different provenances (“Herkünfte”) which emerge from Rosa’s craft of storytelling. In its center, the Sertão arises as a region of nature whose forces are connected with the life of human beings. As fractal of the world, it symbolizes Brazilian relations as a world of its own and at the same time as a part of the world of others. From this point of view the essay turns world literature upside down: it emphasizes on the one hand that the epoch of world literature since Goethe has come to an end and that the meridian has shifted to Latin America. On the other hand it can be observed that the lusophonic world between Brazil and Angola, Portugal and Kap Verde develops new perspectives on literatures of the world beyond the fixed coordinations of periphery and center. Rosa’s ways of world making already shift the perspective from the local to the global as a miniatured model of a universe which reveals interpretations of a better understanding of the world as world fractals.

Keywords: João Guimarães Rosa, Sagarana, world literature, literatures of the world, Latin American literature, Brazilian literature


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