Self-imperialism, Benjamin Moser

Check out the literary highlights of the Unmissable Series. The titles go through fiction, philosophy, criticism and analysis of authoritarian aspects of the Brasilia project, the symbolic and visual confusion of São Paulo and the predatory conquest of Brazil by Brazilians themselves.

By Vivian Mocellin

The Meursault Case

Kamel Daoud, Translation by Bernardo Ajzenberg, Blue Library, 168 pages

History of The foreigner told from another point of view. Here, the Arab killed for no reason by Mersault on a beach in colonial Algeria gains flesh, bones, identity, nationality, childhood, dreams and ambitions, unlike the almost abstract figure described by Camus in his classic.


“After losing his mother, this man, the murderer, no longer has a country and falls into idleness and absurdity. He is a Robinson who believes he can change fate by killing his Friday, but who, when he finds himself stranded on an island, begins to speak, with talent, like a complacent parrot.”


The 46-year-old Algerian Daoud, a former journalist, won the Goncourt prize with his first novel, which had the rights sold to more than 20 countries.


Benjamin Moser, Translation by Eduardo Heck de Sá, Planeta, 128 pages

In three trials – Cemetery of Hope, The Pornography of the Girl Scouts self-imperialism -, the author is dedicated to criticizing the authoritarian aspects of the Brasilia project, the symbolic and visual confusion of São Paulo and the predatory conquest of Brazil by the Brazilians themselves.


What is moving about monumental architecture is the clumsy way in which it betrays its own purposes. While it seeks to exude permanence, it is already in decline. In an attempt to show herself majestic, she reveals her vanity (…)”

AUTHOR published Clarice, biography of Clarice Lispector, and translated and edited the writer's works, making her better known and admired in the USA and Great Britain. She is currently preparing a biography of Susan Sontag.



José Ortega y Gasset, Translation and organization by Célia Euvaldo, WMF Martins Fontes, 216 pages

A collection of the philosopher's main essays on the painter Velázquez (1599-1660), part of them taken from Papeles sobre Velázquez y Goya (1950). There is also a transcript of a class given in 1947, as well as reproductions of some paintings, such as Las Meninas and the portrait of Inocêncio X.


“Until Velázquez, painting wanted to escape the temporal and simulate on canvas a world alien and immune to time, fauna of eternity. Our painter tries the opposite: he paints time itself, which is the instant, which is being insofar as it is condemned to cease to be, to elapse and to corrupt itself.”


The Spaniard Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was one of the great thinkers of the XNUMXth century. A philosopher, he was also an educator, politician and editor.

The Right to Laziness

Paul Lafargue, Translation, presentation and notes by Alain François, Edipro, 96 pages

Written in prison and published in 1855, this rather irreverent, but no less grounded, manifesto extols the importance of leisure and pleasure in contrast to the fever for work, “contracted” after the Industrial Revolution and disseminated by the owners of capital.


 “(…) when Villermé visited Alsace, the modern minotaur, the capitalist workshop, had already conquered the region; in his bulimia of human labor he had uprooted workers from their homes in order to better squeeze them and extract the work they contained.”


Married to Laura, daughter of Marx, Lafargue (1845-1911) was an important promoter of his father-in-law's ideas and also a strong socialist militant, having founded the pioneer Partido Operário.

Tale Zero and Other Stories

Sérgio Sant'Anna, Companhia das Letras, 174 pages

Every new book of short stories by Sérgio Sant'Anna is something to celebrate, and here he doesn't disappoint. A more personal work, it combines memory and fiction to deal with love, loneliness, the craft of writing and also unique moments, such as the first cigarette or the artistic residency in the USA.


 “It wouldn't really be a story, it would spend days and more days running around in your head, you wouldn't write a single sentence, a single word, because it would commit you to a follow-up, an ending, and what you wanted was loose prose, that did not need to be written and completed.”


 One of the greats of contemporary Brazilian literature, he has received the Jabuti award and other awards four times, and has had texts adapted for cinema.

the fakers

Graham Greene, Translation by Ana Maria Capovilla, Blue Library, 360 pages

The tenth novel by the British author, tells, in a combination of real facts and fiction, the encounter of conflicting characters in the Haiti of the tyrant Papa Doc. The narrator owns a run-down hotel. Beautiful women, crooks, idealists and bloody tonton macoutes complete the cast.


“I had slit my wrists and then my throat, just to be sure. (…) He must not have been dead more than a few minutes. My first thoughts were selfish: I couldn't be blamed for a man killing himself in my swimming pool."


 Greene (1904-1991) divided his novels between “serious” and “entertaining”. the fakers, as The Quiet American (released by the same publisher), is in the first case.

Censors in Action

Robert Darnton, Translation by Rubens Figueiredo, Companhia das Letras, 376 pages

Study on censorship, divided into three cases: Bourbon France, India during the English occupation and communist East Germany. In common, the erudition of the censors and the state's control over intellectual production and literary expression in particular.


“It took me some time to form a clear picture of the organization of the bureaucracy (…) East German fiction was door number 215, forty door ahead, 
walking along a seemingly endless mustard corridor as it curved around a courtyard.”


 Professor and director of the library at Harvard, Darnton is the author of The Great Massacre of the catsLamourette's Kiss and, among others, The Devil in the Holy Water.

Talking with Blue Throat

Edward Lear, Translation by Dirce Waltrick do Amarante, Illuminations, 128 pages

Four children travel around the world on a boat with a kitten, the strange trickery and a huge kettle, which serves as a kitchen and bedroom. Absurd recipes, unimaginable plants, an Indian poem and a series of limericks complete this not-so-scrupulously book.


“During the day, Violeta was mainly busy putting salt water in a can; while her three brothers shook her violently, hoping that 
it turned into butter, which it rarely, if ever, did.”

AUTHOR A precursor of Lewis Carroll in nonsense literature, Lear (1812-1888) began as a draftsman and painter. He traveled extensively for respiratory ailments and produced several books of short poems and travels.




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