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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry

Hallucinated City

Mário de Andrade

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To purchase Hallucinated City

Title: Hallucinated City
Author: Mário de Andrade
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1922 (Eng. 1968)
Length: 153 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: Hallucinated City - US
Hallucinated City - UK
Hallucinated City - Canada
directly from: Sublunary Editions
  • Portuguese title: Paulicéia Desvairada
  • Translated and with an Introduction by Jack E. Tomlins
  • This is a bilingual edition, with the text of the Portuguese original facing the English translation

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Our Assessment:

B+ : grandly hallucinatory

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Books Abroad A (44:1) Winter/1970 Joaquim F. Coelho

  From the Reviews:
  • "In order to properly appreciate the merit of Professor Tomlins' translation of Paulicéia Desvairada, one has to remember that this bilingual volume of poetry is one of the boldest linguistic experiments of modern Brazilian literature. Puns, proverbs, set-phrases and paraphrases, fragments of songs and shouts of street vendors, Leonardo da Vinci, Bach, Marinetti, Tom Mix -- such is the material that flows back and forth throughout the book giving the reader a hallucinated picture of a city (São Paulo) in the hallucinated everyday life of the twentieth century. (...) Polished to the last detail, Hallucinated City is not only a work of art, it is the best tribute that an American scholar has paid to the poet generally regarded as the father of modern Brazilian letters." - Joaquim F. Coelho, Books Abroad

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Hallucinated City opens with a dedication -- addressed: 'To Mário de Andrade' -- and a quite lengthy 'Extremely Interesting Preface. (These two prose sections are presented only in English translation; the poems themselves are presented in both their Portuguese original and in English translation.) In his Preface, Andrade announces that: "Hallucisinism has been launched". After a decade of traditional versifying -- "For almost ten years I metrified and rhymed" -- Andrade has moved (far) beyond it. Arguing that: "All the great artists [...] were deformers of nature", he plunges down that route as well. Giving a good sense of the feel of his verses, too, he notes that: "Verses are meant to be sung, bellowed, wept".
       The 'hallucinated city' of the title is São Paulo, and the poems offer various visions and impressions of it -- "Oh ! my hallucinations !" -- slivers of it, or also the city as a whole:

São Paulo is a stage for Russian ballets.
Here tuberculosis, ambition, envies, crimes, dance the saraband,
and also the apotheoses of illusion . . .
But I am Nijinsky !
       The poems are tight, very free-form ones of grand pronouncements -- "Oh expanses of my wanderings !" --, with many exclamation marks. Andrade uses ellipses extensively, both to leave sentences and thoughts open-ended -- "No poetry whatsoever, no joys whatsoever ! ..." -- and for the simple rush of description: "Ravishments ... Struggles ... Arrows ... Songs ... Populate ! ...".
       The range of what is presented and how it is presented is striking, Andrade reaching, even stabbing out in all directions -- even as there is also the occasional near-perfect bit that's practically traditional-poetic in its presentation:
The trolleys swish like a skyrocket,
clicking their heels on the track,
       The majority of the poems are short -- a page or two in length --, but the final one, 'The Moral Fibrature of the Ipiranga', is a larger-scale piece. Andrade presents it as: 'a profane oratorio', with an (impossible) cast of singers (550,000 of them), as well as "around five thousand instrumentalists". The cast of contrasts includes 'The Indifferent Pallbearers' ("(workmen, poor folk). Baritones and basses."), 'The Palsied Decrepitudes' ("(millionaires and bourgeoisie). Chorus of castrati."), and 'My Madness', and it is, indeed, larger-scale in every respect -- but also of a piece with the feel of the collection as a whole, as here too the call is to:
Let our zealous hallucinations bluster !
Let our generous thoughts shine !
Let our prophetic words din
in the great virginal prophecy !
We are the Green-Gilt Youths !
The passion flower ! Terror ! Madness ! Desire !
       It all makes for a quite packed, creative, and powerful little volume.
       In his preface, Andrade suggests that with it:
     So the poetic school of "Hallucinism" is finished.
     In the next book I will found another school.
       One-off or not, it's an interesting, ebullient work, and neat variation on the city-poem(s).

- M.A.Orthofer, 18 March 2024

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Hallucinated City: Reviews: Other books by Mário de Andrade under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Brazilian author Mário de Andrade lived 1893 to 1945.

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© 2024 the complete review

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