José Luiz Passos is a Professor of Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures. He received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA in 1998. Prior to joining the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA in 2008, he held a tenured appointment at UC Berkeley. He was recently the inaugural director of the UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies (2008-2011). He is the author of Ruínas de linhas puras (1998) — on Mário de Andrade and Brazilian modernism — and Romance com pessoas (2014), which interprets Shakespeare’s influence on Machado de Assis’s realist fiction. He has published two novels with Alfaguara: Nosso grão mais fino (2009) and O sonâmbulo amador (2012), a finalist for the São Paulo Prize, and the winner of the 2013 Portugal Telecom Literary Prize for best novel and best book of the year, as well as winner of the 2014 Brasília Literary Prize for best novel. José Luiz Passos is also the author of a stage play and short stories published in Argentina, Brazil, France, and the United States. His current research and teaching focus on contemporary fiction, Machado de Assis, and travel in the nineteenth century.
- Ph.D. (1998) Hispanic Language and Literature, UCLA
- M.A. (1997) Portuguese, UCLA
- B.A. (1994) Sociology, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
- The Luso-Brazilian Enlightenment
- Machado de Assis
- Travel and Translation Studies
- Contemporary Fiction
- Creative Writing
- Machado de Assis, o romance com pessoas
- Nankin/Edusp, University of São Paulo Press, 2007
- Nosso grão mais fino. (novel)
- Alfaguara, 2009
- O sonâmbulo amador
- Alfaguara, 2012
- Romance com pessoas: a imaginação em Machado de Assis.
- Alfaguara, 2014
- Ruinas de linhas puras:
- quatro ensaios em torno a Macunaíma
- Annablume Editora, 1998
- O Marechal de Costas
- Alfaguara, 2016
- “Eu não acredito na vitória do mal.” Revista Continente: Especial José Lins do Rego (2013): 22-24. “Os outsiders.” Jornal Rascunho 160 (2013): 28-29. “O estilo dos cães.” Valor Econômico 659 (28 Jun. 2013): 34-35.
- Library exhibit co-curated with Stephen Bell and Ludwig Lauerhass Jr. Rio de Janeiro: Two
Centuries of Urban Change, 1808-2008. Los Angeles: UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library;
Department of Special Collections, n.d. Web 21 Ago 2011. Available in PDF. 90pp.
- “Brazil.” The Encyclopedia of the Novel. Ed. Peter Logan. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 97-105.
- “Madame Góes.” Pernambuco; Suplemento Cultural do Diário Oficial do Estado 68 (2011): 19-21.
- Review of On a Knife-Edge: The Poetry of João Cabral de Melo Neto, by Sara Brandellero. Latin
American Literary Review (2011).
- “Jurandir.” Silva 1 (2011): 5.
- “O rito da modernização impossível.” Introduction, Usina by José Lins do Rego, 20 ed., Rio de
Janeiro: José Olympio Editora, 2010. 9-28.
- Review of O chocalho de Brás Cubas: uma leitura das Memórias Póstumas, by Paul Dixon.
Iberoamericana 10.40 (2010): 270-271.
- Review of O pai dos burros: dicionário de lugares-comuns e frases feitas, by Humberto Werneck.
- Le Monde diplomatique; Brasil 3.28 (2009): 39.
- “O mal e a metamorfose em Machado de Assis.” Luso-Brazilian Review 46.1 (2009): 57-74.
- “Averrós.” Revista e 15.143 (2009): 42-44.
- “Carmelo’s War: A one-act play for four actors,” 79-page typescript, competitively selected and read at the 32nd Comparative Drama Conference, Los Angeles, March 27, 2008.
- Co-authored with Efraín Kristal, “Machado de Assis and the Question of Brazilian National Identity.”
- Brazil in the Making: Facets of National Identity. Ed. Carmen Nava and Ludwig Lauerhass, Jr.
New York: Rowman & Littlefield Inc., 2006. 17-28.
in Portuguese: “Machado de Assis e a questão da identidade nacional brasileira.” Brasil:
uma identidade em construção. Ed. Carmen Nava and Ludwig Lauerhass, Jr. São Paulo:
Editora Ática, 2007. 27-38.
- Co-authored with Valéria Costa e Silva, “The Meaning of Culture in Gilberto Freyre’s The Master and The Slaves.” Brazil in the Making: Facets of National Identity. Ed. Carmen Nava and Ludwig
Lauerhass, Jr. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Inc., 2006. 45-67.
in Portuguese, with updated bibliography: “O significado de cultura de Gilberto Freyre em Casa-grande & senzala.” Brasil: uma identidade em construção. Ed. Carmen Nava and Ludwig Lauerhass, Jr. São Paulo: Editora Ática, 2007. 55-78.
- “Laszlo, Marisa e meu pai.” Lucero: A Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 17 (2006): 116-
- “Othello, Hugo and Moral Emotions in Machado de Assis.” Latin American Shakespeares. Ed.
Bernice W. Kliman and Rick Santos. Rutherford, New Jersey: Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2005. 166-
- “Esaú e Jacó e os fins do humano.” Investigações: Linguística e Teoria Literária 17.1 (2004): 51-68.
- “Pastoral e modernidade nos Poemas de Joaquim Cardozo.” Luso-Brazilian Review 41.2 (2004): 1-19.
- Foreword, “Poetry, Island of All Languages: Poesia, ilha de todas as línguas.” Ed. Diniz Borges. On a Leaf of Blue: Bilingual Anthology of Azorean Contemporary Poetry. Berkeley: University of California; Institute of Governmental Studies Press, 2003. 13-16.
- “Macunaíma. L’éroe senza nessun carattere.” Il romanzo: La cultura del romanzo. Vol. 1. Ed. Franco
Moretti. Turin: Giulio Einaudi Editore, 2001. 841-49. Published in English: “Macunaíma.” The Novel: Forms and Themes. Vol. 2. Ed. Franco Moretti. New Jersey, Princeton: Princeton UP, 2006. 896-905.
- “Realism and Moral Reasoning: An Analysis of Machado de Assis’ Criticism of Eça de Queiroz.”
Estudos Portugueses e Africanos 36 (2000): 5-20.
- Machado de Assis’ Library: Drama and Deception in the Rise of Brazilian Realism. The Morrison
Library Inaugural Address Series No. 16, Berkeley: Doe Research Library; University of California,
- “A figura, o réquiem e a cerveja: Três visões de um Brasil entre Darcy Ribeiro e Antonio Callado.”
Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana 24.49 (1999): 217-30.
- Published in English: “Nativism, Utopia and Death in Three Contemporary Brazilian Novels: A Comparative Reading of Quarup, Maíra and Expedição Montaigne.” Revista Letras 54 (2000): 89-105.
- “O espelho, o papagaio e o latim: O espaço da mistura entre Pero Vaz de Caminha e Macunaíma.”
Brasil/Brazil 21 (1999): 57-80.
- “Nova continuidade dos parques.” Lucero: A Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 9
- “Crítica engajada e texto engasgado: Machado de Assis e Sílvio Romero na autonomização do campo literário brasileiro.” Chasqui; revista de literatura latinoamericana 26.1 (1997): 3-16.
- “A sintaxe da vida: Ação e dissimulação em Senhora e Iaiá Garcia.” Espelho: Revista Machadiana 3
- Review of Casa-grande & senzala e a obra de Gilberto Freyre nos anos 30, by Ricardo Benzaquen de Araújo. Luso-Brazilian Review 35.1 (1998): 104-5.
- “O modernismo na casa-grande: A infância da sociologia.” Estudos de Sociologia 1 (1995): 73-86.
- “Hybris: Retórica da sedução ou força da explicação ambivalente?” Estudos de Sociologia 1 (1995): 99-107.
- “Resistência e renovação: Aspectos do movimento modernista em Pernambuco.” Encontro: Revista do Gabinete Português de Leitura de Pernambuco 9/10 (1994): 51-55.
The Luso-Brazilian Enlightenment
Though the Enlightenment in the Luso-Brazilian world has held basically the same claims about universality, individuation, and autonomy of the self, it grounded them on a provocative mix of pragmatic and doctrinal principles. Its ramifications have shaped the discourses on the relationship between Portugal and Brazil, and between each country and their own sense of the past. In both countries the endurance of the pastoral mode as a way of probing identity, the concern with a suitable match between ideas and social practices, and their spiritual and economic integration to a broader continental setting are among the topics contemporary critics have engaged when trying to account for transatlantic modernity. This course revisits the contributions of intellectuals such Alexandre de Gusmão, Matias Aires, Teresa Margarida da Silva e Orta, Tomás de Antônio Gonzaga, and Azeredo Coutinho within a process of decolonization during the long and ever-changing Luso-Brazilian eighteenth century.
19th-Century Brazilian Literature and Culture
This course focuses primarily on the first half of the nineteenth-century in Brazil. We read primary and secondary texts related to the transformation of a colonial society into a slave-holding empire of politically liberal aspirations. Students are asked to discuss and reassess political documents, travel writing and novels depicting Brazilian intellectual life at the time of the residence of King D. João VI in Rio, the Revolution of 1817, and the beginning of Brazilian historiography. Special attention is given to the relationship between private life and political contestation. The course serves as an overview of Brazilian culture during its transition from a colony in the Old Regime to an independent if fragmented young nation.
Machado de Assis and the Transatlantic Realism
At the very end of their careers, Henry James, Eça de Queirós, and Machado de Assis wrote novels in which actual or supposed diplomats face the prospect of love at the same time as they retire from life. In their work, the seeming distance of point of view, fleshed out as a game of elusive intentions and homeland estranging, yields a thoroughly dynamic sense of self; a self whose dislocation brings about the enhancement of experience. Traversing North and South, English and Portuguese, Old and New Worlds sheds new light on writing and reading across the Atlantic. In this seminar we discuss how cosmopolitanism, displacement, and the novel come together as a framework for bonds that are, in reality, tangible threads of modern life. The links between these novels allow us to revisit the relevance of literary realism for a sharper picture of modern places, actual and possible.
Brazilian Modernisms and the 1930s
This course examines the practice and ramifications of Modernism in Brazil, with primary focus on poetry and the novel published during the first half of the twentieth century. Readings and discussion will emphasize issues of style and cultural exchange, the relationship between lyricism and memory, modernist poetics, the practice of translation, as well as the search for national and regional identities as expressed in the period’s poetry and prose. Special attention will be given to divergent trends of literary modernism, the supposed debate with the so-called regionalists, and the aesthetic and ideological changes to genre of the novel.
Nostalgia and the Contemporary Regionalism
This seminar focuses on contemporary manifestations of literary regionalism in Brazil, with special attention to the divide between the country and the city in film and the novel. Students will have the opportunity to read prose fiction published over the last ten years and discuss the relevance of nostalgia, regional inequalities, film adaptations, and book marketing linked to new perspectives on representation, identity, and locale. In particular, this course reassesses the neo-regionalism represented by the six novels of Francisco J. C. Dantas.
The Modern Brazilian Epic
This seminar focuses on two major Brazilian experimental novels. It explores the relationship between violence, contact, and innovation in Mário de Andrade and Guimarães Rosa. Participants are asked to develop a comparative project on the two texts. Class discussion will emphasize, among other things, issues of narrative style, linguistic hybridity, displacement, and encounter with difference. Required readings: Mário de Andrade, Macunaíma (1928); João Guimarães Rosa, Grande sertão: veredas (1956); and additional criticism and theories on the epic.
This seminar focuses on fiction and travel writing in Brazil from colonial times to the twentieth century. Students will interpret the relationship between memory and the practice of visiting across different social classes and periods. Class discussion focuses on the way travelers and writers handle the stories they hear, and how they create narratives to account for the change in their perception of individual and group identity. Readings include texts from Pero Vaz de Caminha’s letter from (1500) to the fieldwork and memories of French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.