Cartas Chilenas

Last updated
Cartas Chilenas
Author Tomás António Gonzaga
CountryBrazil
Language Portuguese language
SubjectSatire
GenrePoetry, epistolary novel
Publication date
1863

Cartas Chilenas (in English: Chilean Letters) is an unfinished series of satirical poems whose authorship is attributed to Luso-Brazilian Neoclassic poet Tomás António Gonzaga. The poems circulated in the city of Vila Rica (present-day Ouro Preto) via pamphlets for several years before the 1789 Minas Conspiracy, but were discontinued after the Conspiracy was dismantled, as Gonzaga was sent to exile in the Island of Mozambique. It is said that the Cartas Chilenas were loosely based on and inspired by Montesquieu's Persian Letters .

Unfinished creative work creative work that has not been finished

An unfinished creative work is a painting, novel, musical composition, or other creative work, that has not been brought to a completed state. Its creator may have chosen not to finish it, or may have been prevented from doing so by circumstances outside of their control, such as death. Such pieces are often the subject of speculation as to what the finished piece would have been like had the original creator completed the work. Sometimes artworks are finished by others and released posthumously. Unfinished works have had profound influences on their genres and have inspired others in their own projects. The term can also refer to ongoing work which could eventually be finished and is distinguishable from "incomplete work", which can be a work that was finished but is no longer in its complete form.

Neoclassicism Western art movements that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome

Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of classical antiquity. Neoclassicism was born largely thanks to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, at the time of the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but its popularity spread all over Europe as a generation of European art students finished their Grand Tour and returned from Italy to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals. The main Neoclassical movement coincided with the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, and continued into the early 19th century, laterally competing with Romanticism. In architecture, the style continued throughout the 19th, 20th and up to the 21st century.

Tomás António Gonzaga was a Portuguese-born Brazilian poet. One of the most famous Neoclassic colonial Brazilian writers, he was also the ouvidor and the ombudsman of the city of Ouro Preto, as well as the desembargador of the appeal court in Bahia. He wrote under the pen name Dirceu.

The poems were compiled for the first time and published in 1863. They were re-edited several times after that, reaching their present form in 1957 thanks to the extensive research of Portuguese philologist Manuel Rodrigues Lapa.

Plot and setting

Cartas Chilenas is a satirical poem in the shape of an epistolary novel, indirectly written "in honor" of Luís da Cunha Meneses, then-governor of the Captaincy of Minas Gerais, and the Portuguese Crown. It begins with a fictional foreword, in which an anonymous Brazilian man explains how the book came into being: he obtained a copy of a series of letters from a man coming to Brazil from an unnamed Hispanic America country, and decided to translate these letters from Spanish to Portuguese in order to keep the Brazilian governors from making the same mistakes made by Fanfarrão Minésio, the tyrannic governor of Chile.

Epistolary novel novel written as a series of documents

An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived from Latin from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter.

Minas Gerais State of Brazil

Minas Gerais is a state in the north of Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Nine Brazilian presidents were born in Minas Gerais, the most of any state.

Hispanic America region comprising the American countries inhabited by Spanish-speaking populations

Hispanic America, also known as Spanish America, is the region comprising the Spanish-speaking nations in the Americas.

The thirteen letters were written as blank verse poems by "Critilo" (the assumed nom de plume of Tomás António Gonzaga), who lives in Santiago, Chile (actually Vila Rica, Minas Gerais), and are addressed to his friend, "Doroteu" (possibly Cláudio Manuel da Costa), who lives in Madrid. In each letter, "Critilo" describes life in Santiago under the despotic and corruption-filled régime of the Chilean governor, "Fanfarrão Minésio" (who is actually Luís da Cunha Meneses).

Blank verse Unrhymed iambic pentameter

Blank verse is poetry written with regular metrical but unrhymed lines, almost always in iambic pentameter. It has been described as "probably the most common and influential form that English poetry has taken since the 16th century", and Paul Fussell has estimated that "about three quarters of all English poetry is in blank verse".

Santiago Place in Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile

Santiago, is the capital and largest city of Chile as well as one of the largest cities in the Americas. It is the center of Chile's largest and most densely populated conurbation, the Santiago Metropolitan Region, whose total population is 7 million. The city is entirely located in the country's central valley. Most of the city lies between 500 m (1,640 ft) and 650 m (2,133 ft) above mean sea level.

Chile republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

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