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Abstract

In his article "Guimarães Rosa's 'São Marcos' and Race and Class" Paulo da-Luz-Moreira analyzes a pivotal short story in João Guimarães Rosa's oeuvre. Published in Sagarana, Guimarães Rosa's first short fiction collection, "São Marcos" has an extremely complex structure in its juxtaposition of layers of idiosyncratic and careful ethnographic and literary erudition, making the story a challenge to critics and readers alike. Guimarães Rosa worked exhaustively on this unique piece that touches with disconcerting openness on issues of strained racial and class relations in Brazil and expounds on the power of language and on the delicate point upon which one's identity, beliefs, and social class hinge. da-Luz-Moreira argues that "São Marcos" is a seminal text that suggests a potential social contract based on respect and humility in Guimarães Rosa's description of Brazilian society and where the characters represent protagonists in most of his fiction -- jagunços, cowhands, posseiros, agregados, ex-slaves, gypsies, beggars, vagrants, children, prostitutes, and other marginal figures -- whom Guimarães Rosa never demonized or idealized, but observed and described lovingly.

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