Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



In this thesis I propose a model of analysis for Gregório de Matos Guerras poetry based on the scholarly understanding of his Satirical poetry as a representation of Colonial Brazil as a body in decay. The comparison between the Colony and Matos Guerra's poetry allows for the dramatization of the tension in the Colony's life: on one hand, the new land is seen as a virtuous paradise; and, on the other, as a place where its people and resources are exploited and corrupted. The first view of the Colony is depicted by Matos Guerra Lyrical poetry, thus, in the first chapter I argue that a comparison can be drawn between Matos Guerra's amorous lyricism and the Ufanist views of Colonial Brazil by analyzing the following poems: 'Discreta e formosíssima Maria', 'A uma dama dormindo junto a uma fonte', 'Ao Rio Caípe recorre o queixoso poeta de que sua senhora admite por esposo outro sujeito' and 'Desenganos da vida humana, metaforicamente'. In these poems, the author presents the idea of Carpe Diem as celebratory of the richness and abundance of the New World, combined with the concept of the feminine Muse in perfect harmony with Nature. The other view of the new land is analogous to the author's Erotic poetry in the sense that the sexual drive present in these poems is comparable to the corruption within the higher levels of Colonial society. Matos Guerra's choice for vulgar expressions infers a critique of the moral decadence of the clergy and the immoral behavior of the white aristocracy, especially men. These elements will be seen in the poems I analyze in chapter two: 'Pica-Flor', 'Necessidades forçosas da natureza humana' and 'Minha Rica Mulatinha'. In my conclusion I argue that Gregório de Matos Guerra's Lyrical and Erotic poetry create an analogical construction of Colonial Brazil. This construction demonstrates the tensions between Brazil as a paradise and Brazil as a corrupt and decadent body. It is most likely that the same model of Brazil as body could be applied to Matos Guerra's Religious poetry, thus confirming the contribution made by this thesis.

Degree Name

Portuguese (MA)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

McKinight, Kathryn

Second Committee Member

Santiago-Diaz, Eleuterio




Colonialism, Colonial Literature, Brazilian Baroque, Lyric and Erotic poetry, New World Baroque

Document Type