Family (Novel), Death, and Polyphony in Lúcio Cardoso, Crônica da Casa Assassinada

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Jobst Welge


Taking its cue from the anthropological conjunction of "house" and "death," the article contextualizes Lúcio Cardoso's novel Crônica da Casa Assassinada (1959) within the literary tradition of the Brazilian "Big House novel" as well as the modern family saga generally, thus highlighting both its culturally specific and its potentially universal dimension. The dinstictive formal character of the novel is analyzed with regard to its emphasis on psychological representation and its polyphonic, kaleidoscopic fragmentation of epic totality. Furthermore, the novel is also linked to the tradition of the (American) Gothic, from which Cardoso adapts the notion of the unstabe boundary between life and death, of haunting as the survival of the past, or of specters as hinges between different temporalities. The recurring tropes of death and decadence are not objectively distanced, but the novel paradoxically affirms the notion of decadence against the normative expectations of both the traditional past and of modernity.

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How to Cite
Welge, J. (2019). Family (Novel), Death, and Polyphony in Lúcio Cardoso, Crônica da Casa Assassinada. Brasiliana - Journal for Brazilian Studies, 7(1), 30-47. Retrieved from