When I began work on this book I thought I was going to write a
collection of intellectual portraits, studying representative figures
of the years between 1870 and 1930. To my dismay, I soon found
myself launched into an examination of all the major intellectual
currents of the era. Only slowly did I realize that I was heading
toward a detailed analysis of racial thought in Brazil. While offer-
ing my interpretation I have tried to give enough background in-
formation about Brazilian history-political, economic, and social-
to make the context intelligible.
Readers should not expect to find here anything resembling a
history of Brazilian thought between 1870 and 1930. That would
require a far more detailed and comprehensive analysis of thinkers
and institutions than I have included. Many writers and schools of
thought are omitted or mentioned only briefly, on the grounds that
they said little about race, or at least that their views did not differ
Significantly from other figures examined here. By the same token,
many writers appearing in these pages are analyzed only insofar as
they grappled with the central problem of race. Other aspects of
their thought are perforce neglected. (A more detailed discussion
on this point will be found in the Note on Sources and Methodol-
ogy in the Appendix). The danger of such an approach is that
their ideas will be distorted by being viewed through a narrow
prism which does not allow us to see the total context of their in-
Previous Page Next Page