Brazil’s Vargas period, beginning with Getúlio Vargas’s rise to power in 1930 and ending with his suicide in office in 1954 (spanning the interregnum of 1946 – 50, when he was out of presidential office), has long been recognized as Brazil’s tortured passage to modernity. Urbanization, industrialization, centralization of power, and nationalist cultural projects transformed Brazil on Getúlio’s watch and to varying degrees following his direction. The nature, reach, and consequences of that direction have been much debated. This collection of essays offers a rich sampling of the current state of the art in those debates.

The offerings include close analysis of issues as diverse as the roots of positivist authoritarianism in Rio Grande do Sul and representations of Vargas in screwball comedies of the 1940s. Jens Hentschke’s excellent introduction ably brings them together, exploring their implications for revised understandings of the period....

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