Material Cartography: João Guimarães Rosa’s Paratexts

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This essay takes Antonio Candido’s reading of the role of cartography in Grande Sertão: Veredas (1956) as a departing point to question the interconnectedness of two sets of relations in the João Guimarães Rosa’s work: the relation between literary text, obscure referentiality and literary landscape; and the relation between cartography and the spatial questioning of the material book. Guimarães Rosa's ouevre, I argue, is an extreme case of the enactment of the implications of cartography in literature - not only in its poetical transfiguration of the elusive map of the landscape of the sertão heartland, but also in the overlapping of the map and its metaphors with the unstable cartography of a book in permanent reconfiguration. This essay considers the different levels of representation and inscription of space in Guimarães Rosa's fiction, trying to demonstrate the implications, for the idea of a literary cartography, of the convergence, through the map, of what Rosa calls "the moving world" and the problematic form of the book.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Cartography
Subtitle of host publicationtheories, histories, genres
EditorsAnders Engberg-Pedersen
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherThe MIT Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780262036740
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • João Guimarães Rosa
  • Literary geography
  • Materiality
  • Book Form
  • Paratext


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