Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



In the twentieth century, scholars have written about the theory and practice of literary criticism more than at any time in the past. Luso-Brazilian, particularly Brazilian, literary criticism has bene­fitted from this surge of interest. As in any pioneer endeavor, the most general tasks have been undertaken first. The result has been a hazy notion of individual contributions by scholars in that area. In this dissertation I assume the charge of addressing the heretofore undeveloped assessment of Fidelino de Figueiredo's principal contribu­tions to Luso-Brazilian literary theory.

The Introduction and first chapter provide an evaluation of Figueiredo's personal experiences and philosophical attitudes as they relate to his literary criticism. In the remaining chapters I analyze Figueiredo's theory from historical, national, and international per­spectives. These analyses show that Figueiredo has coherently ap­proached the compelling issues of literary theory that have continued to challenge scholars ever since Plato and Aristotle began literary debate. What I have called Figueiredo's "tensional theory" takes cognizance of topics that have formed modern schools of criticism (e.g., the New Criticism, phenomenology, structuralism) while maintain­ing a unique position in relation to them all.

I discuss the theory of literary history in two chapters wherein I show that Figueiredo represents one of two traditions in Portuguese literary history. His aesthetically based history stands in opposition to a preponderant socio-political current. In the last chapter I demonstrate the importance of Figueiredo's theoretical strength through a comparative analysis of practical literary history.

The aggregate analytical studies support two conclusions: one, that Figueiredo's literary criticism, particularly in Brazil, has had great influence, and two, that its influence and value have been overlooked by scholars who have written about the development of Luso-Brazilian criticism.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jon Tolman

Second Committee Member

Marshall Rutherford Nason

Third Committee Member

John Joseph Bergen



Document Type