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Adriana Vazquez | Reading Latin Subtexts in the Vernacular Poetry of the Brazilian Colonial Period
Departmental Brownbag Workshop
Professor Adriana Vazquez: “Reading Latin Subtexts in the Vernacular Poetry of the Brazilian Colonial Period”
In his contribution to the 2020 volume Conversations: Classical Imitation in Renaissance Literature, Stephen Hinds, analyzing the parallel Latin and vernacular poems of Marvell and Milton, concludes by offering the provocative suggestion of the ‘virtual diptych’: for any vernacular poem composed by a poet for whom Latin was an available language of composition, a posited Latin version, or translation, of that poem could offer insights into the vernacular text. Applying Hinds’ concept of the ‘virtual diptych’ to Lusophone poetry, I offer a reading of the Portuguese texts of the Brazilian colonial period through the lens of bilingual intertextuality to reveal a virtual Latin substratum, adapted to a colonial and New World context. Such an analysis illuminates the complex allusive relationship between this body of poetry and the Latin literature which served as an important source of its inspiration, at a time when vernacular composition continued to compete with Neo-Latin production.