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May 17 , 2008

Rebellion in the Backlands


Euclides da Cunha's classic account of the brutal campaigns against religious mystic Antonio Conselheiro has been called the Bible of Brazilian nationality.

"Euclides da Cunha went on the campaigns [against Conselheiro] as a journalist and what he returned with and published in 1902 is still unsurpassed in Latin American literature. Cunha is a talent as grand, spacious, entangled with knowledge, curiosity, and bafflement as the country itself. . . . On every page there is a heart of idea, speculation, dramatic observation that tells of a creative mission undertaken, the identity of the nation, and also the creation of a pure and eloquent prose style."—Elizabeth Hardwick, Bartleby in Manhattan

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