Page:Brazilian tales.djvu/15

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the seventeenth century superior to Portuguese verse." He foresaw a time when it would outdistance the mother country. But Brazilian literature as a whole, he found, lacked the perfect continuity, the cohesion, the unity of great literatures, chiefly because it began as Portuguese, later turned to east (particularly France) and only then to Brazil itself. In the early days it naturally lacked the solidarity that comes from easy communication between literary centers. This same lack of communication was in a sense still true at the time he wrote his essay. The element of communicability did exist during the Romantic period (1835-1860), whereupon came influences from France, England, Italy, and even Germany, and letters were rapidly denationalized. What was thus needed and beneficial from the standpoint of national culture prejudiced the interests of national literature, says Verissimo. He finds, too, that there is too little originality and culture among Brazilian writers, and that their work lacks sincerity and form (1899). Poetry was too often reduced to the love of form while fiction was too closely copied from the French, thus operating to stifle the development of a national dramatic literature. Excessive preoccupation with