Sérgio Buarque de Holanda was one of the most diverse and influential Brazilian intellectuals of the twentieth century. In a career that spanned more than 60 years and included work as a journalist, literary critic, and historian, he had a profound influence on Brazilians’ understanding of themselves and their country. Since Holanda’s death in 1982, the meaning and implications of his work have come under increasing scrutiny. In this book, Robert Wegner makes an important contribution to our understanding of a particular aspect of Holanda’s early work: his historical treatment of the Brazilian West.

Written in the tradition of intellectual history, Wegner’s book primarily examines the monographs and articles that Holanda composed between 1936 and 1957 (though he does not completely limit himself to these dates). A sociologist by training, Wegner is neither interested in the historical merits of Holanda’s argu ments nor...

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