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Jorge de Lima’s Invenção de Orfeu: Tracing the Evolution of a Twentieth-Century Cosmological and Christian Epic


Open University

Journal Title:

Revista Épicas, Ano 4, No. 4, ISSN 2527-080-X



The purpose of this article is to introduce some considerations on the preeminent twentieth century epic poem produced in twentieth-century Brazil, Invenção de Orfeu, published in 1952. The workwas authored by Jorge de Lima, a poet whose career spanned four decades, and referred in multiple ways to all the poetic movements of his age. The article argues that Invenção de Orfeu represents the
consolidation and integration of the poetics evolved by Jorge de Lima in all his preceding volumes,
adapted to the eschatological and Christian matrix which had informed the poet’s direction and purpose
from 1935 onwards. I approach the poem from three different perspectives. Firstly, I draw some
parallels with other key twentieth century poetic works whose response to the issues of the age and
methods of composition are similar to those of Invenção de Orfeu. Secondly, I trace the development
of Jorge de Lima’s Christian vision as the informing doctrine from which the poet’s complex poetics
evolved. Thirdly, I explain the choice of epic genre as the framework within which Jorge de Lima
structured his poem, focusing, with examples, on the way in which key motifs encountered in the epic ar

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