Ferdinand Denis, Almeida Garrett, and Alexandre Herculano were European authors who, during the nineteenth century, formulated a meaning for local color below the equator, and contributed to a comparativism that geopolitically originated from the Old World, which created comparisons based on the representation of the New World chiefly derived from the supposed characteristics of its “nature.” This article will identify traces of the demand made by Ferdinand Denis (1798–1890) that the intellectual production of the Americas must reflect the effect of the nature that inspires us, and formulate local ideas derived from this nature, although from the nineteenth century onwards this opinion was challenged. It will also highlight the importance, for South America, at this moment in history when authoritarianism is rearing its head again, of using comparative approaches to study narratives that represent the period of military dictatorships in South America, as well as to critically analyze the issue of languages in postcolonial contexts in Latin America.

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