Beset by Marvels: Wonder, Change, and Violence in Northeast Brazil


ACLS Fellowship Program


Spanish and Portuguese


This book-length project offers a comparative analysis of three different sorts of traditional narratives from the northeast Brazilian interior—a region long known for its poverty and injustice as well as its creative resilience. Although these stories—pilgrimage tales, cordel ballads, and accounts of enchanted nature—appear to be about different sorts of marvelous occurrences (miracles, heroic adventures, enchantments) they all have violent aspects that makes them more complex and even more compelling than might first appear. Likewise, while these narratives initially look like remnants of a distant, largely “folkloric” regional past, they turn out to offer powerful, if often indirect, comparisons between this past and the globalizing present that is their tellers’ true concern.