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The Guarani: Brazilian Novel (Portuguese: O Guarani: Romance Brasileiro) is a 1857 Brazilian novel written by José de Alencar. It was first serialized in the newspaper Diário do Rio de Janeiro, but due to its enormous success Alencar decided to compile his writing in a volume. A plausible explanation for this success might be in the fact that the novel spoke of freedom and independence, arguing for a nativeness that could be found in tropical Nature and in the indigenous people of Brazil.
Years later the novel was turned into an opera performed in Italian and called Il Guarany (1870), by Carlos Gomes, among other places it was presented in Milan and New York (it is a known fact that the author did not appreciate the final result). The Guarani is regarded a foundational text of Brazilian Romanticism, but it gained international projection by being translated into Spanish, German (Der Guarany, Brasilianischer Roman, Maximillian Emerich, 1876) and English (The Guarany, Brazilian novel, James W. Hawes, 1893).
The novel is still widely read nowadays, especially at Brazilian schools as an introduction to novel reading, but also by anyone who enjoys a thrilling adventure story. Literary criticism has tended to link The Guarani to the works of Fenimore Cooper, Chateaubriand and the noble savage from the Rousseauian tradition. However, this interpretation of the novel has become outdated as recent academic works show also how dark, sexual, gothic and lyrical (over narrative, unlike the Fenimore Cooper model) the novel is.
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