113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Devil in the Brazilian Backlands

Eduardo DaSilva, University of Washington - Seattle

In a combination of folklore, myths, and religious beliefs from the Middle Ages, the Brazilian religious leader, Antônio Conselheiro (1830-1897) created in his followers’ imaginations the representation of republicans as demoniacal forces. The city of Canudos was seen as the gates to heaven, the place of salvation.
This paper will elaborate on the representations of the Devil in the Brazilian backlands, which are rooted in the European traditions that the Portuguese colonizers brought to colonial Brazil.

 

Proposal: 

The image of the Devil played a central role in the Battle of Canudos (1896-1897). It was with the message of a war against the Devil that the religious leader Antonio Conselheiro Conselheiro kept his followers united through long battles against the troops of the Brazilian Government. Euclides da Cunha portrays in Os Sertões the fanatic mentality of conselheiristas.  His work had an undisputable impact on Brazilian and Latin American literature, especially on the literatura do sertão.    

This paper will elaborate on the representations of the Devil in the Brazilian backlands, which are rooted in the European traditions that the Portuguese colonizers brought to colonial Brazil. We will focus on the folcklore and mysticism around the images of Devil, relating it to the fanaticism of Conselheiro's followers and the importance of the folcklore and mysticism about the Devil in the Brazilian Backlands.