9530 - Honeymoon in the River Plate: Brazilian Journeys to the South, 1865-1914

In 1889, the newlywed couple Joaquim Nabuco and Evelina Torres Ribeiro went on their honeymoon to the River Plate. Regardless of what Brazil ’s foremost abolitionist leader and his wife might have envisaged, their journey from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo , up the Paraná river to Asunción and then on to Buenos Aires , during the critical months between the end of slavery and the fall the Monarchy, was hardly a private matter. Replete with official banquets, social meeting and public speeches, “their honeymoon” turned out to be a transnational affair of a political and cultural nature that reverberated across the region. The paper discusses this all but forgotten passage alongside similarly neglected journeys of Brazilian statesmen and intellectuals to the South during the last third of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. It traces their transformation from predominantly military or strictly diplomatic missions into a strange, hostile environment, to cultural expeditions into a site of wonder, envy, and desire. Compared with the well-explored travels of Europeans and North Americans from center to periphery during that period , these national border crossings within the Latin American periphery itself were marked, to a large extent, by the construction of sameness alongside the construction otherness. In other words, first-hand encounters with the neighbours’ reality simultaneously eroded and reinforced Brazil ’s singularity, thus contributing to the emergence of a South American regional identity that encompassed and transcended the national self.

Keywords: travel, , identity, Brazil, River Plate

Author: Preuss, Ori (Tel Aviv university, Israel / Israel)


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