Sunday, October 27, 2019

ENGLISH TRANSLATION of Brazilian literary essay by Sergio Augusto on the rise of cli-fi in his country and the the world!



ENGLISH TRANSLATION: from DEEP L platform.

Essay by Sergio Augusto
original in Portugese BEHIND A PAID PAYWALL at:
https://cultura.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,sem-futuro,70003064172

But we found the English translation here via Deep L:

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When ''A Morte e o Meteoro'' (Death and the Meteor) was written, Brazilian writer Joca Reiners Terron from Mato Grosso imagined the Amazon destroyed, with dozens of hectares of "agonizing trees in the process of being burned by the sun". When the novel came out and began to be praised, the real Amazon still existed, but instead of being burned by the sun, it seemed doomed to die charred by burning.

 ''A Morte e o Meteoro'' was the most outstanding contribution of Brazilian
literature to this year's cli-fi.

If you have read or said "cli-fi," just as Montgomery Clift's last name is written or almost pronounced, I think it's best to first explain what cli-fi (read "clai-fai") means. Cli, from climate; fi, from fiction. It's a branch of science fiction, like the distopias. Expression coined in 2011 by an American literary journalist named Daniel Bloom, born in 1949, his narratives start from situations and conflicts caused, aggravated or permeated by global warming and its climatic, social, economic and psychological consequences. 

One of the consequences of the destruction of the Amazon in Terron's novel is the exodus of 50 indigenous people from the kaajapukugi tribe, taken by a sertanista to Oaxaca, Mexico, as political refugees. Forget the obvious biblical connotations. Their historical, cultural and political resonances are more relevant. Oaxaca was the land of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs, where Benito Juárez, the founding hero of the Mexican republic, was born. The ongoing world diaspora is a coda of the colonialist Holocaust and also one of the by-products of the climate apocalypse.

Just as there is cli-fi, there is cli-nonfi: non-fictional books on the scourges of Anthropocene, that is, the misfortunes resulting from the influence of the human being on the atmospheric and climatic systems of the Earth. The best of the specialty published here this year was written by journalist David Wallace-Wells, an expert in technology and the environment: The Uninhabitable Earth - A History of the Future (Cia. das Letras). 

Wallace-Wells begins his assessment of the slow global ecocide with a warning ("It's worse, much worse than you think") and extends his well-documented alarmism for three hundred and so many pages, over which he disqualifies several comforting illusions - global warming is an arctic saga, remotely located, and rising sea levels only concern coastal dwellers - that sound as pernicious as the denial of climate change. 

On so many pages, the author asks what is "the meaning of entertaining ourselves with a fictitious apocalypse when we face the possibility of a real". He answers himself: offering distraction, sublimation and catharsis is one of the functions of pop culture and literature, "a form of emotional prophylaxis" capable of persuading us that we can survive climate armagedon and, in many cases, teach us how to do it.

I want to believe that cli-fi is the most urgent and engaged fictional aspect of our time, the literature of survival, above and beyond ideologies. Incomparably more urgent than in Jules Verne's time, when he imagined the effects of a slope of the Earth's axis on the planet's climate in a novel about buying the North Pole, and predicted a sudden and brutal drop in temperature in Paris a century in advance. 
In the 1960s, the temperature in Paris did not drop above average. And in the summer of this year, it rose to unimaginable degrees. Verne speculated, working exclusively with the imagination and expectations of the moment. Today's cli-fictionists operate with real and immediate dangers, with the catastrophes of the present: storms of biblical proportions, hurricanes, floods, scorching heat, water shortage, polar melting, rising oceans, galloping desertification. 

Some of these themes inspire the generally elective accounts of a collection of short digital narratives titled Warmer, which Amazon, in a "literary biodiversity effort", recently launched with experienced, quality novelists, though with no links to this genre of fiction, such as Jane Smiley, Lauren Groff and Jess Walter.
 
The online cultural magazine Guernica dedicated its March issue to the influx of cli-fi, which has long since gained a monthly page on the Internet, signed by Amy Brandy, whose name, ''Burning Worlds'', even seems provocative to our current Brazilian Minister of the Environment. Brandy has partnered with Yale's Climate Connections and follows all of Yale's literary and essay production focused on environmental issues. It is the best guide in the cli-fi universe via the Cli-Fi Report curated by Dan Bloom since 2011 at cli-fi.net

Although a new J.G. Ballard or a  new Margaret Atwood for the 21st century hasn't come along yet, but hey, stay tuned!

(Ainda não surgiu um novo J.G. Ballard, uma nova Margaret Atwood, mas é bom ficar atento!)

I was initially interested in the experiences of Lauren Groff and Louise Erdrich. In Future Home of the Living Dead, Erdrich reveals a world in which the seasons of the year have disappeared and the natural evolution of the species begins to recede. Groff touches on a very important philosophical and existential question in Boca Raton: is it worth having a child at this beginning of the end of the world? And that leads us to Jess Walter's The Way the World Ends, in which, at a certain point, a boy complains: "It is one thing to hear adults say that Santa Claus does not exist, but it is hard to hear them say that the future does not exist".

TO BE CONTINUED.....

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NOTES from literary blogger Dan Bloom:

When Brazilian literary critic Sergio Augusto wrote about a new cli-fi novel in Brazil by compatriot Joca Reiners Terron titled "Death and the Meteor," he wrote the essay, of course, in Portugese. I was lucky enough to find a translation platform in France that was able to decipher Mr. Augusto's article for me, and I read it in English, with both terror and delight.

When ''A Morte e o Meteoro'' (''Death and the Meteor'') was written last year, Terron imagined the Amazon region destroyed, with dozens of hectares of "agonizing trees in the process of being burned by the sun.," is how Mr. Augusto put it. When the novel came out and began to be praised around the country by Brazilian books reviewers and cultural critics, the real Amazon of course still existed, but instead of it being burned by the sun in a series of unspeakable heat waves, the Amazon seemed doomed to die in a process that was characterized as ''charred by burning.''

Mr Augusto, now 77, concluded: ''A Morte e o Meteoro'' is the most outstanding contribution of Brazilian
literature to this year's cli-fi in 2019. That's quite some praise.

One of the consequences of the destruction of the Amazon in Terron's timely novel is the ''exodus'' of 50 indigenous people from the ''kaajapukugi'' Indian tribe, taken to Mexico as political refugees.
"Forget the obvious Hebrew Bible connotations of the Exodus from Egypt story," wrote Augusto. "Their historical, cultural and political resonances are more relevant.''

Augusto not only reviewed Teron's popular Brazilain novel in his essay, he also non-fictional books about the scourges of Anthropocene, zeroing in on the hyphenated David Wallace-Wells' longform essay titled "The Uninhabitable Earth."

Wallace-Wells tells his readers that "it's worse, much worse than you think" -- this ongoing climate emergency we are in in the 2020s --  and extends his ''alarmism'' for 300 pages. The book became a bestseller.

 "What is the meaning of entertaining ourselves with a fictitious apocalypse when we face the possibility of a real?" Wallace-Wells asked. His answer, in plain English: since distraction, sublimation and catharsis is one of the functions of pop culture and literature, cli-fi has a role to play here.

Mr. Augusto himself writes: "I want to believe that cli-fi is the most urgent and engaged fictional aspect of our time, the literature of survival, above and beyond ideologies."

Although new cli-fi writers like J.G. Ballard or Margaret Atwood haven't come along yet in the first part of the 21st century, such writers may very well emerge in the 2020s or 2030s,or later, Augusto envisions. He sees hope and promise in the way modern literature in many countries is raising many voices in a variety of tongues, and he puts a lot of his hope in Brazil, his native country.

I, for one, salute Sergio Augusto for his vision and his calm. There's so much at stake here.

2 comments:

DANIELBLOOM said...

*** EXCLUSIVE! .......#ENGLISH #TRANSLATION of Brazilian literary essay in Portugese by Sergio Augusto, 77, on the rise of cli-fi in his country and the the world! https://cli-fi-books.blogspot.com/2019/10/english-translation-of-brazilian.html #CliFi @neli_sz @Trunfim @ronaldopelli @conteudo_livre @MiguelMartins1 @SjFlaks @Jolanarchiste @henriqueartuni @jbbour

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