Life on a knife‐edge: <i>A escola das facas</i>

Sara Brandellero

in On a Knife-Edge

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589524
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595462 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Life on a knife‐edge: A escola das facas

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This chapter offers a critical analysis of João Cabral's collection A escola das facas (1980). The title's reference to education alludes to the poet's revisitation of his formative years in the North-East of Brazil, in a journey from personal into national memory. Cabral's reworking of the image of the knife, which has often been associated with his poetics of precision, conjures up images of cutting and fragmentation through which an acute sense of instability is in fact conveyed. This resonates on a personal level, where liminal imagery articulates his anxieties in relation to mortality and to the act of writing itself. On a collective level, Cabral addressed his concerns in relation to his native land from a historical and postcolonial perspective, which included a revision of official accounts of Brazil's colonial history, such as in his figuration of Brazil's discovery, in which life and death are dramatically conflated.

Keywords: Cabral; A escola das facas; postcolonial writing; North-East Brazil; personal memory; national memory

Chapter.  12232 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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