States of Grace

Utopia in Brazilian Culture

By Patrícia I. Vieira

Subjects: Literary Criticism, Latin American Studies, Literature
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Hardcover : 9781438469232, 234 pages, April 2018
Paperback : 9781438469249, 234 pages, January 2019

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Table of contents

Introduction: A Land of Utopias

1. The Theologico–Political Utopia of Father Antônio Vieira

2. Amazons in the Amazon: Communitarian Matriarchy in the Jungle

3. Zoophytographia: Interspecies Literature and the Writings of Clarice Lispector

4. Idling in the Tropics: Utopias of Leisure

Epilogue: The Country of the Future

Works Cited

Provides in-depth analyses of key moments in Brazilian utopianism, including theologico-political, matriarchal, environmental, and work-free utopias.


States of Grace offers a novel approach to the study of Brazilian culture through the lens of utopianism. Patrícia I. Vieira explores religious and political writings, journalistic texts, sociological studies, and literary works that portray Brazil as a utopian "land of the future," where dreams of a coming messianic age and of social and political emancipation would come true. The book discusses crucial utopian moments such as the theological-political utopia proposed by Jesuit Priest Antônio Vieira; matriarchal utopias, like the egalitarian society of the Amazons; work-free utopias that abolished the boundaries separating toil and play; and ecological utopias, where humans and nonhumans coexist harmoniously. The uniqueness of the book's approach lies in rethinking the link between messianic and utopian texts, as well as the alliances forged between progressive religious, socioeconomic, political, and ecological ideas.

Patrícia I. Vieira is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University and Associate Research Professor at the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. She has written several books, including Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction and Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought (coedited with Michael Marder).