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Topoi: Revista de História

Print version ISSN 1518-3319

Topoi vol.1 Rio de Janeiro  2006


Intellectual history in Brazil: rhetoric as a key to reading*


História intelectual no Brasil: a retórica como chave de leitura



José Murilo de Carvalho

Translated by Thaddeus Gregory Blanchette
Translation from TOPOI - Revista de História, Rio de Janeiro, n.1, p.123-152, 2000.




The paper suggests the use of concepts and practices related to rhetoric as analytical instruments of use in the study of the intellectual history of Brazil. Intellectual history is taken here in its strict sense of history of discursive forms of thought. The paper starts with a brief evaluation of the state of the art of intellectual history in Brazil and continues with a discussion of the rhetorical tradition the country inherited from Portugal. Finally, ways of using this tradition to interpret Brazilian texts, especially those from the XIX century are suggested.


O ARTIGO SUGERE o uso de conceitos e práticas relacionados à retórica como instrumento de análise para pensar a história intelectual do Brasil. História intelectual é tomada em sentido estrito, isto é, como a história de formas discursivas de pensamento, deixando de lado tanto a crítica literária como o que se tem convencionado chamar de nova história cultural. Será feita, de início, breve descrição do estado da história intelectual no país. A seguir será discutida a tradição retórica herdada de Portugal. Ao final, serão sugeridas maneiras de usar esta tradição como chave de leitura para trabalhar textos brasileiros, sobretudo do século XIX.



Intellectual history in Brazil: a brief retrospective

It can be said that the intellectual history, or the history of ideas, made in Brazil was limited, until very recently, to two approaches. The first, quite traditional, followed a practice widely adopted in philosophy. It dealt with each thinker per se, assuming that his thought could be interpreted with accuracy. More history-oriented authors added to the presentation of ideas an effort to place the thinker in his social context. The link between thought and context was more or less direct according to each author’s methodological convictions. Examples of this sort of work are the many histories of political, juridical, philosophical, sociological and economical thought. All of them have their undeniable utility.1

Some historians of ideas have gone a step farther. Instead of studying authors in isolation, they sought to group them in intellectual families constructed around certain currents of thought.2 These currents were almost always defined according to classical European categories. So, we had histories of liberal, positivist and socialist thought. A few authors attempted different classifications, such as authoritarianism, conservative thought and so on.3 In such histories, thinkers were grouped together and the points they had in common as well as their divergences were discussed and some inter-textuality was established. More recent historians have combined analyses of thinkers, currents of thought and contexts.4

Without denying the importance of these studies, which were for a long time the only ones available to the student of ideas in Brazil, it must be recognized that they contain a large dose of analytical naiveté. In none of these studies do methodological discussions appear regarding the nature of the exercise at hand. This is not an unfair criticism, as all these works were published after the 1936 release of Arthur O. Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being and the Journal of the History of Ideas, founded by Lovejoy in 1940. The book and the periodical can be considered as the starting points for the sub-area or discipline known today as the history of ideas or intellectual history.5 In the histories to which we are referring here, one looks in vain for any discussion regarding authorship, reception, language, or text. Authorship was taken as the principal, if not the only, determinant of the text. The attention given to reception was generally limited to a few vague declarations regarding the influence supposedly exerted by the authors being studied. Nothing on text or writing (écriture) appears at all. These works ignored the debates and theories about intellectual history developed over the last half century.

The second approach to intellectual history in Brazil is closer to the social sciences than to history or philosophy. With a few exceptions, it is less far-reaching in its ambitions, not seeking to map out the general history of ideas but instead limiting itself to one author or theme. The main inspiration for these works can be found in the sociology of thought which took as its foundations the works of Marx and Mannheim. These studies present a systematic effort to interpret ideas as ideologies linked to the interests of social groups, classes and even states.6 Some of them, such as Lamounier's, can be compared to Pocock's approach in that they seek to discover and characterize certain specific languages, such as State ideology.7 We can included in this group those studies which seek to develop a sociology of intellectuals.8

This sociology of knowledge approach has certain limitations, even though its contributions have been quite significant. In it, the emphasis upon the author is simply shifted to the context in which he was writing, generally defined in terms of modes of production or class conflicts. Context thus determines thought. The analytical limitations of these studies were clearly exposed in a noisy debate conducted during the 1970s regarding the place and role of ideas conducted between Roberto Schwarz and Maria Sylvia de Carvalho Franco.9 Greatly simplifying the discussion, Schwarz affirmed that ideas – and above all liberalism – were out of place in Brazil from the 19th century on up to 1930. Liberalism was understood by Schwarz as having arisen in Europe as a product of a triumphant capitalism. When it was imported into a country whose mode of production was based on slavery, its nature changed: it was no longer an ideology which hid the exploitation of labor, as it was in Europe. Here, liberalism became something of an ideological comedy; an entertainment for the elite. Drained of all original meaning, it became of form of ornamental rhetoric. Franco responded that even though Brazil was a slave-holding society, it was also nevertheless part of the world capitalist system. Within this system, there was no special distinction among the parts: all were geared to the production of profits. Because of this, imported ideas such as liberalism were perfectly at home in Brazil and their international production and circulation were determined by the global capitalist system. Franco ended by accusing Schwarz of being ideologically backwards in his separation of the Brazilian condition from that of international capitalism, a move which she believed wrecked any possible radical critique of the capitalist system.

Though both authors felt that they diverged radically from one another in ideological terms, when one looks at their analytical styles and the theories of knowledge which they employed, both Franco and Schwarz's arguments end up being variations on a common theme. Both analyze ideas by taking as a given the hypothesis that thought is radically determined by social context and that this context, in turn, is strictly delimited by a given society's underlying mode of production. When looked from the outside of this determinative context, ideas lose their content – even their ideological content – and become nothing more than useless comedy. By admitting that what he calls the ideology of favor did indeed ordinate social practices among members of the elite, Schwarz at least does not reduce Brazilians to mere copiers of European fashion, totally deprived of any creativity of their own. But, of course, the ideology of favor ends up being itself a product of the social relations generated by the slave-based mode of production.

In university dissertations defended in recent years, some of which still unpublished, we can discern new analytical approaches being incorporated, either explicitly10 or implicitly11, into the study of ideas. In these works, as in that of Lamounier, we find an explicit treatment of style, the exploration of meta-historical values which inform the texts, or the search for languages (in Pocock's sense of the term) historically constructed and transmitted from text to text over long periods of time. A good example of this type of work can be found in recent efforts to reconstruct the languages of Americanism and Iberianism over more than a century of history.12

In spite of these advances, we must recognize that the practices of intellectual history in Brazil have, as of yet, not been problematized. The incorporation of new approaches has taken place in a fragmented and somewhat informal manner. Literary criticism has advanced much farther and rapider, might have been expected, especially in what regards the incorporation of linguistic debates and reception theory. Cross-fertilization between the fields of literary theory and intellectual history could certainly result in more significant advances.

Above all, we find that a more profound reflection regarding the specific problems intellectual history has confronted in post-colonial countries has been lacking in Brazil. Proximity to the West, generated through a long-term process of colonial domination, has made the task of interpreting these countries' intellectual histories particularly complex. We do not wish to affirm with this statement that post-colonial countries have been the only nations to import ideas: the circulation of ideas is, of course, a universal phenomenon. The French Revolution, for example, was affected by ideas and values originating in the ancient world and, above all, in ancient Rome. The same thing could be said about the American Revolution. It seems, however, that Ibero-America possesses, at least in what regards the history of ideas, two characteristics which make it distinct from other countries that sprung from the European expansion. In the first place, their colonization was controlled by the metropolitan state. Of particular importance in this context was the control exerted over the educational system by this state and the official Catholic Church. Even in those places where higher education was more diffused, such as in the ex-colonies of Spain, the control over curriculums, compendiums, ideas and didactic methods was very rigorous. In the case of the Portuguese colony, control was even more rigid, being that the creation of universities and schools of higher learning was prohibited, thus forcing natives to seek higher education in the metropolis.

Ibero-America's second unique characteristic, frequently remarked upon, is the Western tradition with which the region was affiliated, labeled by Guilherme Merquior (inspired by Richard Morse's fascinating work) as "the other West".13 This characteristic is important, not only due to the differences between Iberia and the Anglo-Saxon world in the field of ideas, values and views of the world (all emphasized by Morse), but also in terms of contrasts in the fields of languages, styles of thought, modes of discourse and rhetorical practices. This last field, in particular, seems to be insufficiently studied, but it is, however, of central importance in view of intellectual history's recent "linguistic turn". This "turn" cannot be ignored, even if we reject those more radical proposals which seek to reduce everything to language or text.


Rhetorical style

"…hollow verbiage, useless and vain,
rhetoric, now technical, now pompous…"

Manoel Bonfim

The final observation of the last section leads us to a discussion of cultural peculiarities which are linked to styles of thought. Once, when reading a text by Oliveira Viana, I ran across an observation which called my attention to a point which had hitherto seemed unimportant to me. Viana explained that the slight repercussion of the work of his mentor, Alberto Torres, was due to the fact that Torres almost never cited foreign authors: his texts usually referred to his own work. According to Viana, this sort of tactic was fatal in Brazil, as without his citing foreign works, no native intellectual would be taken seriously. Putting his observation into practice, Viana always cited foreign authors abundantly, even though he himself was, in many aspects, quite an original thinker. Several scholars, in fact, have remarked upon his unusual way of citing foreign works, often twisting them in order to confirm his own theses.

Oliveira Viana's observation reminded me of an earlier study I had done regarding debates in the Imperial State Council. The Council was formed by a small and select number of individuals (12 Councilors, plus a Minister and the Emperor) who formed the pinnacle of the political elite of the time. This was a homogenous group of people who weren't speaking to a diversified and poorly informed audience which they needed to impress by exhibiting their erudition. However, debates in the Council were characterized by abundant quotes from foreign authors, as well as by the liberal use of Latin expressions. Curiously, the same authority was often used to support opposing positions. Citations were also often used to sanction a given discourse which, however, would be abandoned when the time came to vote on practical matters. The councilor in question would then lament that the country's circumstances obliged him to put aside "good doctrine", which almost always consisted of liberal postulates.14

I thought that I had found a phenomenon which clearly had to do with styles of discourse and thought. Other clues, pointing in the same direction, had been uncovered in earlier studies, but I had not given them their due attention. One of the most famous speeches given in the Imperial Senate was known as "Nabuco's sorites", referring to its author, José Tomás Nabuco de Araújo. This speech was made in 1868 during a serious political crisis occasioned by to power of the Conservative Party. The sorites in question reads as follows:

The Moderating Power can call whom it likes to organize ministries; this person organizes the election, because he must do so; this election makes the majority. And there you have the representative system of our country.15

Nabuco was denouncing the Empire's representative mechanisms and doubtless the theme of his speech influenced the scope of its repercussions. What is surprising, however, is that the speech became well-known not due to its argument or the question it discussed, but because of its form, which was taken straight from a compendium of logic.16 Nabuco himself announced the form his argument would take by saying "See thou this fatal sorites, this sorites which ends the existence of the representative system". This shows that the Senator was quite conscious of what he was about: he wished to format his ideas into a sorites, doubtless convinced that this would allow them to have a greater impact upon his listeners. In this case, the form of an argument had such force that it became transformed into a political agent in and of itself: it was the sorites which destroyed the representative system. An indication of the sorites' speech impact can be seen in the fact that 31 years later, Alberto Sales, the Republic's leading intellectual, took it up once again to describe the representative system of the new regime:

The President of the Republic makes the Governors of the states; the Governors organize the elections; and the elections make the President of the Republic.17

Returning to Oliveira Viana, we find in his work frequent and emphatic criticisms leveled against the Brazilian tendency, especially apparent among liberal politicians, for the "politics of syllogism", bachelorism and verbalism. Long before Viana, another essayist, Manoel Bonfim, had written a virulent critique of the lack of a spirit of observation and an over-reliance on book-learning, not only in Brazil, but throughout all of Latin America. If I may be permitted a more extensive citation:

Everywhere, hollow verbiage, useless and vain, rhetoric – now technical, now pompous – myopic erudition, the apparatus of knowledge and an affected and ridiculous babble can be said to resume all intellectual elaboration. The verbose are held to be wise […]. And from this comes the mania for quoting, so generalized in the elucubrations of the South American lettered class: he who quotes the most, knows the most; an able man with a speech is an apt man for any task. The most high representatives of intellectuality are accepted and acclaimed, they are the most inveterate rhetoricians, whose abundant and precious words impose themselves as the sign of genius, even though one will not find a single original idea or unique observation in all their long speeches and voluminous texts.18

Shortly after Oliveira Viana, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda made similar observations regarding the rhetorical tendency of Brazilians.19 According to this scholar, the Brazilian has little esteem for intellectual speculation; rather, he "loves sonorous phrases, spontaneous and abundant verbiage, ostentatious erudition, rare expression". Intelligence, for the Brazilian, is ornamental and a demonstration of ability, not an instrument of thought and action. One consequence of this prestige of the written word, this magical belief in the power of ideas, can be encountered in bachelorism, the fascination with the title of "Doctor". Attempting a sociology of the phenomenon, Holanda attributed it to an aversion to manual labor which was endemic in a society in which slavery had so long been dominant and in which mental activity and talent had consequently been exalted. Whether one agrees or not with this view, what is interesting for our purposes here is to register the repeated diagnosis of a Brazilian national culture which is enamored of the sonorous and beautifully enunciated phrase: of rhetoric, in short.

It would not be difficult to supply a series of similar observations. They all refer to what, in the 19th century, was called "declamation". Declamation corresponds, in rhetoric to the elocutional aspect of the speech, which was well known to the politicians, professors and lawyers of the time. But what is most interesting in Manoel Bomfim's comment is not his critique of empty rhetoric, but the rhetorical style in which this critique is couched. Though the author was himself a medical doctor and thus supposedly orientated towards technical knowledge which was quite the opposite of bachelorism – in other words, towards the observation of facts and not the brilliance of words – he takes up seven pages to make his critique of verbiage and he does it in the best rhetorical style of the times, with florid imagery and multiple redundancies. To his credit, he only manages to cite one foreign author in those seven pages (the Italian G. Tarde), but the rest of the book doesn't lack for quotes from Darwin, Spencer, Heackel, Virgil and Goethe, among many others. This use of rhetoric in order to attack rhetoric is, in and of itself, impressive proof of the form's hegemony.


Historical roots

"Everywhere is a theater for rhetoric."

The importance of rhetoric in the history of Brazilian ideas is easily explained through an analysis of the Portuguese scholastic tradition, especially the one which predominated in the College of Arts and in the University of Coimbra. Many members of the Brazilian political and intellectual elite passed through the doors of these two institutions during the first half of the 19th century. The College of Arts, where lesser studies (studia minora) – including rhetoric – were undertaken, had been dominated by the Jesuits since 1555. Through this, the priests also controlled studies at the University, given that attendance of the College was an obligatory step for all those wishing to do university level coursework. This control became even more rigid after 1639, when the ratio studiorum (or Jesuit method of study) was introduced, and continued until 1759 when the Jesuits were deported from Portugal and Brazil.

During the period in which the Jesuits were dominant, orthodoxy ruled in the form of Saint Thomas and Aristotle. Professors who didn't agree with Saint Thomas on a given question were told to simply omit the question entirely. Those divergences which escaped the ratio studiorum fell directly into the hands of the Inquisition. These two institutions, working together, managed to keep Portugal isolated from the advances of modern science which were then occurring in Northern Europe. While modern methods of inquiry and reason were developing in other countries, above all in England, the students and professors of the College of Arts and the University of Coimbra occupied themselves in scholastic disputationes, citing as ultimate authorities Aristotle and Saint Thomas – aside, of course, the Bible.

The anti-Jesuit reaction, led by Pombal, hit the University and College head on, affecting all levels of study. The reform of the lesser fields of study dates from 1759 while that of the University was undertaken in 1772. The philosophy of the reformers was based on the works of the Oratorian friar Luís Antônio Verney. His polemic Verdadeiro Método de Estudar (The True Method of Studying), published in 1746, was written precisely in order to combat and eventually replace the ratio studiorum.20 Given Pombal's pragmatic orientation, the reform sought to place Portugal once again in a dignified position among the nations of polite, civilized Europe, a position from which the country had been removed due, in the eyes of Pombal and his supporters, to the predominance of Jesuit methods. "Civilization", in this sense, was understood to be science and its practical applications and, consequently, the reform sought to introduce new subjects and reform the curriculum of those already taught. Philosophy and mathematics were thus introduced to the University, with the natural sciences, chemistry and physics being included under these categories. Meanwhile, among the lesser studies, the method of teaching Latin and the concept of rhetoric were completely reformed.

There was no attempt to eliminate rhetoric, as might be expected. Far from preaching its abandonment, Verney sought to modify its content and expand its reach. Letters 5 and 6 of the Verdadeiro Método de Estudar, dedicated to rhetoric, were an attack upon Portuguese oratory's bad taste, its excessive stylistic ornamentation, its affectedness and its abuse of linguistic tropes. With an abundance of examples taken from sermons, speeches and other written works, Verney demonstrated the empty and ridiculous use of words by orators and authors. He poked fun at the excess of citations of authors and phrases, at citations used out of their original meaning, at useless repetition, at futile exhibition of learning, at obscure and exaggerated titles and even at incompetent elocution (of which the Italians were established masters). Verney accused that "Everyone is persuaded that eloquence consists of affected speech and singular ideas and following this rule and wishing to be eloquent, people seek to be affected in their speech, singular in their ideas and completely out of bounds in their applications".21 In other words, Verney accused the Portuguese of practicing baroque rhetoric. Within the classical definition of rhetoric as "docere, delectare, movere", the Portuguese baroque style emphasized "delectare" while Verney wished to emphasize "movere".

According to the good Friar, the root of the problem was not to be found in rhetoric itself but in the ignorance as to what rhetoric is. As a persuasive art, it is very useful and applicable to all of life's circumstances: "everywhere is a theater for rhetoric". The Portuguese simply ignored what rhetoric was, either because they did not study it or because they studied it through useless Jesuit manuals. Those who didn't study rhetoric thus didn't know it and those who did knew even less. What was needed, according to Verney, was a radical reformulation of the concept of rhetoric itself and the methods of teaching it. In the tradition of Quintilianus, he wanted to take rhetoric to the streets, so that all might use it in their everyday affairs.

The royal decree of 1759 which reformed the lesser studies included an appendix containing "Instructions for professors of rhetoric". These were made in the spirit of Verney’s critique and praised rhetoric, a science which

orders thought its distribution and ornamentation. And, with this, teaches all the means and artifices through which one can persuade and attract the will. Thus rhetoric is one of the most necessary arts in man's commerce, and not only of use on the pulpit or in law, as has previously been imagined. In family speech, public affairs, disputes and on all occasions in which one deals with men, it is necessary to move their will and not just make them understand one's point, but persuade them to agree with and approve of it.22

The evil of Jesuitical instruction in rhetoric, according to the "Instructions", was that it was limited to the knowledge of tropes and figures, the least important and most minimal part of the science. Tropes and figures were the scaffolding of the edifice of discourse, according to the reformists, without which it is impossible to construct anything. But they shouldn't appear once the work was completed. The ancient authors recommended by the "Instructions" were Quintilianus (as adapted by Rolin), Cicero, Aristotle and Longuinius.

This position shows that, with regards to the study of rhetoric, the reformists were not trying to eliminate it, but in fact reinforce its importance and widen its scope. Specialists who study the Pombaline reforms are unanimous in affirming that, overall, the changes they brought about were not radical. One of the reasons for this, naturally enough, was the fall of Pombal after the death of D. Jose I in 1777. Without this minister's support, the reform movement quickly lost strength and began to recede. Another reason, and a more profound one at that, was the fact that the humanist content of the reform program for the lesser studies never rejected the importance of Human Letters (languages, rhetoric and poetry) as the basis of all knowledge. In spite of the influence of Locke and his experimentalism and utilitarianism on Verney, the Friar never managed to free himself from the expository framework of scholastic thought, according to Joaquim de Carvalho.23

Beginning in 1763, reformist policy required an exam in rhetoric for all candidates seeking entrance into the University of Coimbra. Beginning in 1759, royal classes were organized in the principal cities of the Empire in order to prepare candidates for this exam. These classes soon took over the role earlier played by the Jesuit schools and their professors were approved, named and paid by the Portuguese state. The classes included the study of the vernacular, Latin, Greek, rhetoric, poetry and rational philosophy. Even though few royal classes were created in the colonies, we can say that by the beginning of the 19th century, any person with a level of education above elementary literacy in both Portugal and Brazil would have passed through them and would thus have been subjected to the study of rhetoric.24 In 1827, when the first law schools were founded in Brazil, the entrance exams for these tested for rhetoric. Later, in 1838, the Pedro II College was founded in Rio de Janeiro – the Brazilian equivalent of the Coimbra College of Arts. The professorial chairs of this institution – including those of rhetoric and poetry – were filled via public competition and were often occupied by the leaders of national culture. Many of the theses presented in these competitions were later published.

The importance given to rhetoric is also revealed by the fact that after the arrival of the Portuguese Court in Brazil in 1808, led by D.João, one of the principal royal councilors, Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira (later minister) opened a school for the study of the philosophy and theory of discourse and language. Not finding any adequate manuals to hand, Ferreira himself wrote a compendium, published between 1813 and 1820 under the title Preleções Philosophicas.25 His vision of rhetoric was similar to that of Verney and also to that defended today by those who seek to rescue the discipline from its currently evil reputation.26 According to Ferreira, rhetoric shouldn't be separated from logic and grammar and the theory of reason shouldn't be separated from the theory of language. In other words, the art of thinking shouldn't be separated from the art of speaking with clarity: rhetoric wasn't mere decoration, but a quotidian instrument of argument and persuasion.

Another indicator of the reach of rhetorical studies can be found in the compendium published by Bento Soto Maior e Menezes in 1794. Entitled Compêndio Rhetórico ou Arte Completa de Rhetórica, the 300 page book sought to present the topic in an easily accessible manner to those members of the interested public who did not wish to attend classes.27 In other words, it was a manual which today would probably be entitled Rhetoric for Beginners or even The Manual for the Complete Rhetorician. That the author was willing to write such an extensive volume on such subject indicates his conviction that there was a significant number of people interested in rhetoric outside of academic circles and this, in turn, indicates that the "science of speaking well" (as he defined it) enjoyed a certain popularity.

The book follows in Verney's reformist spirit and the masters of rhetoric for Menezes were Cicero and Quintilianus. Rhetoric was here understood to teach, delight and move and its main end was the persuasion and winning over of other people. It was divided up according to the nature of the arguments used, with these being separated into three types, demonstrative or laudatory, characteristic of panegyric (marriage speeches, birth speeches, and funerary orations), deliberative or persuasive, typical of speeches on that which is useful and honest (petitions, admonishments, recommendations and exhortations), and judicial, appropriate for defense and accusation in the forum.

Two other points regarding this compendium must be touched upon, given the importance they had for the practice of political debate. The first has to do with these authors' option for Roman civil rhetoric (such as that of Cicero and Quintilianus) as opposed to that of the formalist Aristotelian tradition. According to Menezes, Ciceronian rhetoric insists that the orator be virtuous, good, prudent and benign. The personal habits of the orator and those of whom he recommends should be above all reproach, otherwise the orator is nothing more than a common rabble-rouser who will not convince anyone. What this means is that in oratory, unlike in purely rational argumentation, the moral qualities of the orator are as important as the quality of his arguments in terms of convincing people. This, in turn, means that rhetoric admits ad hominem or even ad personam arguments which attempt to disqualify a speaker's opinions by attacking his moral stature. The second point to be observed here is that one must consider one's audience when employing rhetoric. According to Menezes, audiences vary greatly in terms of temperament, ability, education and customs, as well as according to nation, kingdom and even province. The type of audience should determine the orator's style and the kinds of arguments he uses. The proximity of this sort of argument to the modern theme of reading and reception is obvious.

Shortly after the founding of the Pedro II College, Lopes Gama, an old professor of rhetoric from a school in Pernambuco who was also a priest and an activist of the national press in the 1830s, published a vast compendium dedicated to the theme of national eloquence.28 In this work, Lopes Gama exalted the importance of rhetoric and sought to adapt it to the Brazilian idiom. His masters were the same as those of Menezes: Quintilianus, Cicero and Aristotle, along with a few more modern authors. Lopes Gama emphasized that part of rhetoric which was dedicated to elocution – the ways in which things are said – because, according to him, therein lay the source of all eloquence: "…as things are not so valued for what they say as for how they are said".29 In other aspects, Gama's compendium was not very different from the others discussed here and it, too, demonstrated the force of tradition in the teaching of rhetoric.

The importance of both rhetoric manuals and of the Pedro II College in the teaching of this discipline during the 19th century has been well established by Roberto Acízelo de Souza. This author looked at some 34 publications regarding rhetoric and poetry (topics which were generally treated together) written between 1810 and 1886. The authors he studied include Silvestre Pinheiro and Lopes Gama, another well-known national political figure, Frei Caneca, and several professors at the Pedro II College. In his study, Acízelo concentrates upon the influence of rhetoric upon literature.30


Rhetoric as a key to reading.

"…things are not so valued for what they say as for how they are said."
Lopes Gama.

This recovery of the rhetorical tradition aims at an exploration of the possibilities of its use as a analytical tool in the practice of intellectual history. This exercise is, of course, itself the result of the recent "linguistic turn" in philosophy which was later transplanted to literary criticism and intellectual history. This "turn" refers precisely to the recovery of the rhetorical dimensions of discourse. I limit myself here to observing that my taking this dimension into consideration in no way implies my adherence to more radical positions, such as those sustained by Gadamer's hermeneutics, which would imprison us in language, or even worse, Derrida's écriturisme, which would imprison us in the written text.31 The nature of rhetoric is such that, as we have seen, one must always take into consideration, aside from language and text, the author and his audience. An approach through the study of rhetoric would doubtless enter into contact with Jauss' theories of the esthetics of reception, with Kuhn's ideas regarding scientific paradigms, with Polock's concepts of political language and with Chartier's practices and reading protocols.32

One of the main recent efforts at recovering rhetoric in the strict sense of the term has been made by Chaim Perelman, and one of his works will serve as my guide in the following paragraphs.33 Perelman begins by verifying rhetorics' current unhappy reputation since Aristotle situated it in the field of opinion (doxa) as opposed to logic located in the field of truth (aletéia). The distance between these two fields has increased due to the great advances in the field of logic while rhetoric has been relegated to abandonment, laden with a reputation that varies from uselessness to dishonesty.

Perelman's strategy for recovering rhetoric from its limbo is to define it as the logic of value judgments. Rhetoric is within the domain of logic to the measure that it resorts to arguments (and not to action, suggestion, or experience). But it extrapolates from logic to the degree in which it uses arguments which go beyond strict rationality. The need for these so-called meta-rational arguments is due to the fact that the majority of problems confronted by human beings extrapolate from the strictly rational realm by involving value judgments, and to rhetoric's specific goals. As we have seen in the compendiums examined above, rhetoric does not only seek to convince, an operation undertaken through the use of logical reason: it also seeks to persuade, to move the will of others, a task which demands the use of a great variety of non-logical arguments. In many cases, even when there are enough elements to rationally convince, it is necessary to use rhetoric as convincing people is often not enough to push them to take action.

Values are obviously present in two out of the three great classical rhetorical genres, the deliberative (political), which deals with that which is useful and honest, and the juridical, which deals with that which is just. The remaining genre associated with rhetoric, the laudatory or epidictic gave the discipline its evil reputation by supposedly reducing to mere spectacle, the useless exhibition of oratory talents, or pure "delectare". Perelman observes, however, that the laudatory genre also deals with values in that it seeks to reinforce the predominant values of society and respond to possible future objections. It, too, calls for the listener's adherence and it thus has a final objective which goes beyond mere oratory spectacle.

I am interested here in selecting characteristics of rhetoric which may be useful in working with 19th century texts. Some have already been pointed out and the first of these is the strict relationship between an author's arguments and his person. The authority of this last element (measured by competence, prestige and honesty) is an important element for convincing the audience. An orator can obviously use the authority of others in order to sustain his arguments and in scholastic rhetoric, as we've seen above, this was a mandatory move and, furthermore, there was already an established canon of the names which could be used as authorities. The authority of the person invoked might even be used to make up the orator's lack of authority. The logical argument, different from the rhetorical, totally separates argument from the person of he who enunciates it. The second characteristic has to do with the field of argumentation. In logical argument, this is closed within a system, but in rhetorical argument, it is always open. In logic, proof liquidates the question: in rhetoric, there is no way to decide when "proof" is sufficient, as additional arguments may always be adduced. From this stems the necessity of repetition, redundancy and the use of linguistic images in order to persuade the audience.

A third characteristic of rhetoric is the importance of the audience. To be effective, the orator must know his public in order to choose the arguments, styles and pronunciation necessary to move it. Different audiences mean that different styles and arguments must be used: each audience has its values and each era its audiences. Variation of styles and arguments is thus not a sufficient or necessary reason to critique the orator as he is not violating the rules of the rhetorical game by using these. Logic, by contrast, dispenses entirely with this worry, seeking only to present a valid argument. A final characteristic of rhetoric is that it always permits compromise – the partial modification of opposing positions in order that a common accord might be reached. In logic, this is impossible and in this sense, rhetoric is the field of democratic debate or – as Perelman would have it – the field of humanism. By situating rhetoric within this field, the author echoes the Pombaline reform policy of maintaining the discipline within the teaching of the humanities. He goes far beyond Pombal, however, by conceiving of democracy as an integral part of humanism.


An example: the ad personam argument

"…uter melior dicetur Orator? Nimirum qui homo quoque melior".
"…which orator should be considered to be the best? Without a doubt, he who is also the
best man."


If it is true that there are indications in Brazil (or in any other country for that matter) of a culture marked by rhetoric, then the reading protocol furnished by the rhetorical form of argumentation should be used in order to decipher the texts produced within this culture. I am here referring to any type of text and not just oratory, religious or laical pieces. As Verney himself has made clear, there is also a rhetoric that is adequate for the needs of history, geometry, physics, metaphysics and theology. Here, I will try to point out how some of the problems encountered in the practice of intellectual history in Brazil may find their solution aided by suggestions taken from the rhetorical mode of argumentation.

The first of these has to do with the style of political debate commonly encountered in the media and in political pamphlets. Freedom of the press was only implemented in Brazil in 1821. Beginning in 1820, however, after the liberal revolution in Porto, political debate intensified with the publication of hundreds of pamphlets which discussed the King's permanency in Brazil and, later, the alternatives surrounding independence. After 1821, several newspapers appeared representing groups, factions and even individuals. Many of the period's principal politicians and several of its main intellectuals (frequently these categories merged in the same person) had their own newspapers. Though these papers generally did not last long, they were the main vehicle for political debate during the period and they played an important role in Brazil's apprenticeship in democracy.

One of the characteristics pointed out by all those who have studied these pamphlets and journals is the violence of the language used and the frequent recourse to personal, or ad personam, attacks. Almost every newspaper of the period promised in its first issue to adopt a balanced position promoting a free and elevated debate of ideas. Many explicitly assumed the role of educators of public opinion, of pedagogues of citizenship, or – in the language of the times – of divulgators of light. The very names of the newspapers themselves often reinforced this goal. 34 However, these high ideals and promises were usually quickly broken. All the newspapers with the exception of the Rio de Janeiro based Jornal do Commércio quickly began to aggressively attack other people (though some journals obviously engaged in this practice more than others). Even those journals run by the most important politicians of the times, such as those of the Andrada family, were not averse to using violent language. In some cases, aggressions ran beyond the verbal and were manifested in physical attacks and even assassination attempts against journalists. The systematic breaking of early promises of balance and impartiality did not, however, prevent new journals from being founded and these, in turn, quickly went through the same ritual of promising truth, light and balance and then quickly breaking these promises. This phenomenon was, in fact, recognized and commented upon by one of the best and most impartial journalists and politicians of the period, Evaristo da Veiga. He spoke with some authority on the topic as, even though he was a moderate, he was the victim of an assassination attempt. According to Evaristo, most journalists fulminated more than argued, filling their papers with names rather than doctrines. "And in this we confess to having ourselves been guilty, dragged along by the force of the torrent," he admitted.35

The explanation which always occurred to me for this phenomenon – which is also shared by other analysts – is the inexperience which all involved parties had with democratic debate. Political despotism, which saw the censorship of ideas and texts as being essential to its existence, had not allowed for the apprenticeships in debating ideas and the civilized rules for such debate had not yet been established. For this reason, the manners of private debate, which often used personal attacks, were transferred to the realm of public debate. The explanation is plausible. Obviously there were difficulties in forming a public space in the sense that Hannah Arendt gives to that term. More: such a space began to form in the absence of a public sphere in the Habermasian sense of the word. Because of this, the practices of the private sphere passed directly over to the public sphere without any intermediate apprenticeship in the rules and manners of non-political public debate.

There is in this reading, however, a perhaps excessively negative view of the phenomenon of verbal violence, which is understood to be a sign of immaturity, lack of politeness, or incivility. If looked at through the prism of rhetoric, this negative image can be somewhat allayed. As we've seen above, in rhetoric, the argument can not be separated from the orator. In the conception of rhetoric adopted by the Pombaline reforms, which were rooted in Roman civic tradition, the virtue of the orator as a guarantee of the argument's persuasive capacity is even more clear. Above all, in the deliberative rhetorical genre applied in political debate, one can never say "do as I say, not as I do".

The great majority of the period’s journalists definitely had some training in rhetoric. Certainly, this was the case of all of those who had passed through higher education or who were priests, and it was also the case of all those who had attended royal classes. Only a few self-taught were exempt from this influence and even these were possibly familiar with the science of speaking well through contact with compendiums directed towards the non-academic population. It is not a great logical leap to presume that these individuals applied the rhetorical principles which they had learned to their journalistic labors. Among these principles was the concept that an orator needed to display virtue, honesty and competency. This requirement was particularly apt as almost all the journalists – if not all of them – were also simultaneously politicians. Many were in fact journalists in order to be politicians, with journalism itself being a means of conducting politics. These men were thus not abstractly debating questions of values and principles: they were debating their own political actions and those of their adversaries.

As rhetoricians, they were also aware of the fact that the efficacy of their arguments depended upon their knowledge of their audience. Evaristo da Veiga's confession is quite revelatory in this sense. He speaks of being dragged along by the current and this current (the public) pulled him towards personal attacks. Those who refused to use this style had their efficacy reduced and were at a disadvantage. There are, as of yet, no satisfactory studies regarding the reading public of Rio de Janeiro in 1820, though it was certainly quite small. The city, which counted 100 thousand inhabitants, had only 13 bookstores and 7 print shops. If this was more than the 5 bookstores and 4 print shops of contemporary Buenos Aires, it was also certainly a far cry from Paris's 480 bookstores and 850 print shops, even when we take into consideration the fact that the French capital was seven times bigger.36 The impression that we gain from this is that the main reading public of the journalist-politicians was these gentlemen themselves. There was a permanent state of debate between the newspapers and their editorial staff. The lack of a wider public, capable of dampening these debates, can be seen in this context as a factor which exacerbated the personal attack and this ended up with people who would have preferred a more principled discussion being "dragged along by the current".

I am speaking here, of course, of the argumentum ad personam, which involved disqualifying an adversary via attacks against his person. This must be distinguished from the argumentum ad hominem, which didn't attack people, but the specific arguments of certain adversaries or audiences. In political debates, the argumentum ad hominem is almost inevitable and it can only be dispensed with in elevated philosophical discussions which presuppose a universal audience. The two types of argument are easily confused, being that an attack against an argument almost inevitably also demoralizes its proponent. Notwithstanding this, however, direct personal aggression is without a doubt a practice which should be treated as an indication of a particular style of argumentation.37


An example: the authority-based argument

We began this discussion of rhetoric with an observation by Oliveira Viana regarding Brazilian authors' need to cite foreign authorities in order to be accepted by their peers. The prestige or authority-based argument is a common rhetorical practice. As Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca have observed, this has been the type of reasoning most attacked for having been used against scientific advances.38 Though it has been abused, this style of argumentation cannot be lightly discarded, as many questions are in fact controversial and the opinion of experts may be useful for persuasive purposes. For example, jurisprudence, which is widely used in juridical argumentation, is nothing more than an appeal to authority. Taking into account the importance that an author's or orator's authority has for his rhetoric, it is quite easy to see recourse to other author's as an attempt to reinforce one's own authority.

Without a doubt, the abundant quotation of authors was generalized within the Portuguese rhetorical tradition. Verney even condemns this as a typical vice. In his words, "This desire to seem to be erudite through the repetition of a thousand steps made by other authors has been the hallucination of an infinitude of people. I once knew a man who couldn't open his mouth without repeating a verse of Marcial, Juvenal, or etc."39 We have seen how in Coimbra, during Jesuit period, there existed a rigid definition of which authors were accepted as authorities: Saint Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle. The Pombaline reforms did not affect this aspect of Portuguese higher education, however; it only changed the authors. In the lesser studies, the "Instructions for professors of rhetoric", for example, precisely stipulated the authors whom were to be used, both ancient and modern. The same thing was done for Greek, Latin and Hebrew professors and in the reform of the higher studies (studia maiora) at the University of Coimbra, the same preoccupation also made itself felt. In rational philosophy, for example, Antonio Genovese substituted for Aristotle. In law, Bartolo was replaced by Cujacio, whose school of thought was to be followed "in inviolate and uniform fashion […] by all professors, both in their dissertations and written works, as well as in their public lessons".40 The efforts to introduce Lockean experimentalism, however, which shifted proof to experiment and observation, had only partial and fleeting success.

In any case, traces of this Portuguese rhetorical style were transmitted to Brazil and are even present today. If we were to exchange the poets Marcial and Juvenal for other names, we'd find that Verney's observation would be still valid. What we are suggesting here is that the omnipresent phenomenon of citing foreign authors and the concomitant importation of ideas cannot be seen simply as an indicator of Brazilian intellectual dependence, nor as a correct, or incorrect, placement of ideas. Instead, I suggest that a useful key for understanding such enunciations can be found in the style of reasoning then being used. Within the Brazilian tradition, argumentation through recourse to authority was an indispensable rhetorical requisite. In principle, therefore, the citation of a foreign author did not necessarily mean adherence to his ideas, though, of course, it also could.

There are several documented cases of citations being used in ways which do not correspond to the thinking of their authors. This sort of twisting could occur through the use of carefully selected phrases, the emphasis on secondary elements, or even through pure and simple misquoting. The first type of transformation was demonstrated by João Quartim de Moraes with regards to the uses which Oliveira Viana made of the thoughts of Spanish anthropologist and publicist, Joaquín Costa.41 The second type of change can be found in Luís Costa Lima's analysis of Euclides da Cunha's readings of Gumplowicz' racial theories.42 The notion of race war as a motive force for history, adopted by Euclides as the nucleus of his argument and attributed by him to Gumplowicz does not correspond to the latter's theories, according to Costa Lima. The use of foreign authors can also be purely instrumental as well, as I showed in my study of the thoughts of the Imperial State Councilors. The same authors – and even the same practices – were often used to justify radically distinct policies. Further examples such as these can easily be given.

If the use of foreign authors is not an example of simple mimesis or dependency, however, it is also not necessarily simply an example of intellectual dishonesty. Eventual distortion may not, in fact, be voluntary. As it was important, above all else, to cite, readings were frequently superficial and often limited to commentators. Many intellectuals learned about foreign writers through publicity articles published, for example, in the Révue des Deux Mondes. The fact that faithful reporting of citations was rarely insisted upon indicates the acceptance of their instrumental and rhetorical use. In response to the citation of one author or group of authors, a given intellectual would generally cite another or a different group. The dispute would then shift to a discussion of which authors had more authority or were more accepted by the public.

From this, we can deduce that the act of citing in and of itself – and not the contents of said citations – should constitute the central point of our analysis. For the historian of ideas, this act may in fact constitute an obstacle, or a trap, for analysis rather a solid clue leading to explanation. Reading strategies must thus overcome this rhetorical barrier in order to try and reach what may have been the author's – or even contemporary readers' – meaning. In the best case, one could make a list of the most cited authors and through this try to establish the possible existence of a canon of authors of political, philosophical, juridical, or economic thought – a canon which, in this case, would have been freely chosen, in opposition to those of the old days of the Coimbra.

A question remains, however: why did this practice of citing foreign authors have such a long life? The answer to this question can perhaps be found in the same reasons which led to the defeat of Verney's reforms: the shifting of proof over to empirical scientific evidence would have required the development of scientific practice and up to the end of the 19th century, scientific investigation in Brazil had barely gotten underway. In 1883, a North-American geologist remarked that "what passes for science in Brazil was characterized by an almost complete absence of investigation". This phenomenon was recognized by the Brazilians themselves. An 1882 report on teaching in the country's high schools remarked upon its almost exclusively literary character. Students left these institutions for universities and emerged, in turn, from these as doctors who were incapable of actually seeing nature, but who were well-prepared to sustain with all due rhetorical pomp "the most unverifiable hypothesis regarding the existence of the unknowable". In this way, a people of orators and ideologues was formed. It is doubtless ironic that the author of the report, Rui Barbosa, was to go down in history as the greatest speaker the country had yet produced.43

Even medical doctors (such as Manoel Bonfim, cited above) and engineers, supposedly trained in the methods and language of science, were victims of this phenomenon. In the medical and engineering colleges, teaching was almost always book-based, there being almost no practical and investigative laboratories available to the student body. In the absence of scientific practice, the need to cite authority prevailed and foreign researchers and their work were the most cited.

But it was not only this practice of quoting foreign authors which had survived. The very national scientific language itself was maintained within the rhetorical style of argumentation and diction. The scientific trends which invaded Brazil towards the end of the 19th century, in other words, did not end up producing scientists. Positivism and evolutionism, for example, had numerous followers but these theories did not end up influencing Brazilian scientific practice. Engineers, doctors and military officers were produced who knew how to philosophize on science and the world, but who did not know how to produce science. These gentlemen philosophized in the best rhetorical style, in which a phrase's brilliance, its literary quality and the variety of its tropes were more important than its empirical truthfulness. Naturally, this sort of brilliance was what people sought out and what was used to judge an argument's quality, even when one was speaking against the vices of rhetoric.



"The extensive use of affected language, or allegory, has come to us […] from the
intrigues and treacheries of the diplomats and inquisitors of Despotism."

Nova Luz Brasileira (12/01/1830)

Obviously, the utility of rhetoric as a key to reading is not limited to the concerns discussed above. These aspects, it must be admitted, in fact have more to do with the text's external elements than with the texts themselves. A next step would be to shift analysis to the interior of texts in order to verify to what degree the rules of rhetoric are encountered there. Attention here must thus turn preferentially to elocution, the way things are said and their style. Traditionally, elocution has been considered the most essential part of rhetoric (how one says something is more important than what one says), and it is in this ornamentation of language that we find the main instruments of persuasion and encounter the use of figures of speech and tropes. One point which thus must be verified, for example, is the prevalence of certain tropes, such as parody, irony, sarcasm and the use of anti-phrases, or of certain figures of speech more appropriate to the persuasion of sentiments, such as apostrophes, imprecations, hyperbole and the like. This work has yet to be done.

Some journalists of the independence period clearly perceived the importance of rhetoric. This is the case, for example, of the Nova Luz Brasileira, cited above. The editorial staff of this journal – a pharmacist and a public servant – knew that they were involved in a linguistic battle which involved both content and form, or rhetoric. At one point, for example, they attacked people who they claimed to have delicate ears and who disliked direct language without euphemisms, speaking of "the language of truth, the language of the golden times of antiquity, the language understood by a sincere people not yet addicted to the courtesan behavior of a corrupted Court, the language of every honorable citizen".44 Such delicate people, the critique continued, turned up their noses when a thief is called a thief and a fool a fool. "Delicate" language called theft "waste" and "crime" "scorn" in order to reduce the gravity of the transgression. The editors of the Nova Luz Brasileira hoped to restore what they took to be ancient virtue, which had been corrupted by the habits of the Court.

The journal even engages in a direct attack upon the rhetorical style of writing: "The extensive use of affected language, or allegory, has come to us from the slaves of the Orient, the composers of the Thousand and One Nights; it comes to us from the intrigues and treacheries of the diplomats and inquisitors of Despotism. It is thus inappropriate for the use of Constitutionalist Americans and is, in fact, damaging to the public cause." This view of rhetoric is clearly negative, as it implies that dissimulation works in the service of despotism. In rhetorical terms, to call theft waste is in fact a catachresis – the use of an improper term to express and idea. The perception of the political connotations embedded within the predominant rhetoric is rich in suggestions for the type of analysis which we are proposing here, for political warfare also ends up being a war against rhetoric or, better yet, a war of competing rhetorics.

Obviously, even if we were to use all of rhetoric's heuristic potential, we would not exhaust the possibilities for the linguistic analysis of pamphlets and newspapers. Much would still be left to do, above all with regards to analyzing the content of these texts. As an example, during the independence period, there occurred what one participant called "a war of ideas". Rhetoric was one of the main weapons of this war, but there were also several others which tell us much about the semantics and the types of languages utilized. We can detect here (naturally, on a much more modest scale) a similar phenomenon in the creation of a new political language to that which took place during French Revolution as discussed by Jacques Guilhaumou.45 The new Brazilian language was based on some central concepts such as liberty, constitutionalism, mixed government (liberal monarchy), representation, the social contract and patriotism.

Some newspapers clearly perceived the need to create this new language and decided to inculcate it in the citizenry. Once again, it is the Nova Luz Brasileira which saw this problem with greatest clarity. The newspaper's most important contribution in this sense was its publication of a political dictionary which was to bring light to those still struggling in the dark. This dictionary is an extraordinarily valuable source for the study of the semantic changes then taking place. Some of the words included in it are truly semantic inversions. One of these, for example, is "people", defined as the group of free citizens. This is distinguished from "plebes", which are evil, low and vice-ridden individuals who practice bad habits. So far, so good. But who belongs to the plebeian class, according to the newspaper? Here we find the inversion: "plebes" are the small fidalgos, the rich merchants and the high functionaries of the crown. The radicals, on the other hand, are defined as virtuous citizens being persecuted by the Holy Alliance. Jesuits are defined as practicing atheists. Rebellion is the attack of tyrants against the social pact. Insurrection is the rising of the virtuous citizenry in defense of the same pact.

Both rhetoric as well as these other instruments of linguistic analysis constitute fields which have yet been little explored and which are wide open to those with an interest in studying the intellectual history of Brazil. This article has been an attempt to indicate the potential such instruments possess. If I have not been able to persuade or convince the reader, this is perhaps due to the fact that my rhetoric was not on the same level as what was said.


Adridged bibliography

ALMEIDA, Anita Correia Lima de. A República das Letras na corte da América Portuguesa: a reforma dos Estudos Menores no Rio de Janeiro setecentista". Dissertação de Mestrado. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 1995.

ANDRADE, Antonio Alberto Banha de. A reforma pombalina dos Estudos Secundários (1759-1771). Coimbra: Por Ordem da Universidade, 2°, vol. 1981.

BASILE, Marcello Otávio Neri de Campos. Anarquistas, rusguentos e demagogos: os liberais exaltados e a formação da esfera política na corte imperial (1829 - 1834). Dissertação de Mestrado. Programa de Pós graduação em História Social da UFRJ, 2000.

CARVALHO, Laerte Ramos de. As reformas pombalinas da instrução pública. São Paulo: Saraiva/Edusp, 1978.

HALLEWELL, Laurence. 0 livro no Brasil (sua história). São Paulo: Edusp, 1985.

KELLEY Donald R., ed.. The history of ideas. Canon and variations. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1990.

PERELMAN, Chaim e Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca. Tratado da argumentação. A nova retórica. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1996.

POCOCK, J.G.A. "The concept of a language and the metier d'historien: some considerations on practice". In: Anthony Pagden, ed., The languages of political theory in early modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

SOUZA, Roberto Acizelo de. O Império da Eloquência. Retórica e Política no Brasil Oitocentista. Rio de Janeiro: EdUERJ1EdUFF, 1999.

VERNEY, Luis Antonio. Verdadeiro método de estudar (Cartas sobre retórica e política). Introdução e notas de Maria Lucília Gonçalves Pires. Lisboa: Editorial Presença. 1991. 1st edition, 1746.



* This article is a modified version of another originally published in Prismas. Revista de História Intelectual, #2 (1998), Quilmes. Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, pp.149-168.
1 See, for example, PAIM, Antônio. História dar idéias filosóficas no Brasil. São Paulo: Grijalbo, 1967, CRIPPA, Adolpho, coord., As idéias filosóficas no Brasil. Séculos XVII e XIX. São Paulo: Convívio, 1978, CHACON, Vamireh. História das idéias filosóficas no Brasil. São Paulo: Grijalbo, 1977, SALDANHA, Nelson. História dar idéias políticas no Brasil. Recife: UFPE, 1963, CRUZ COSTA, João. Contribuição à história das idéias no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Jose Olímpio, 1956, LIMA, Heitor Ferreira. História do pensamento econômico no Brasil. São Paulo: Brasiliana, 1976, MACHADO NETO, A. L. História das idéias jurídicas no Brasil. São Paulo: Grijalbo, 1969.
2 See CRUZ COSTA, João. O positivismo na República. São Paulo: Cia. Editora Nacional, 1956, CHACON, Vamireh. História das idéias socialistas no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1965, LINS, Ivan. História do Positivismo no Brasil. São Paulo: Cia. Editora Nacional, 1967, and BARRETO, Vicente. A Ideologia Liberal no Processo da Independência do Brasil (1789-1824). Brasília: Câmara dos Deputados, 1973.
3 Ver MEDEIROS, Jarbas. Ideologia autoritária no Brasil, 1930-1945. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1)78 and Paula Mercadante, A consciência conservadora no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Saga, 1965.
4 This is the case with BARRETO, Vicente and PAIM, Antônio. Evolução do pensamento político brasileiro. Belo Horizonte/São Paulo: Itatiaia/Edusp, 1989.
5 For a general and critical overview of the North-American history of ideas, based on Lovejoy's work, see KELLEY, Donald R (ed.), The history of ideas. Canon and variations. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1990.
6 See MOTA, Carlos Guilherme Ideologia da cultura brasileira (1933-1974). São Paulo: Atica, 1978 and SANTOS, Wanderley Guilherme dos. Ordem burguesa e liberalismo político. Rio de Janeiro: Duas Cidades, 1978.
7 See LAMOUNIER, Bolívar. "Formação de um pensamento político autoritário na Primeira Republica: uma interpretação". In: FAUSTO, Boris (org.), História geral da civilização brasileira. O Brasil republicano, t. II. São Paulo: Difel, 1977, pp. 342-374 and J.G.A. Pocock, "The concept of a language and the metier d'historien: some considerations on practice". In: PAGDEN, Anthony ed., The languages of political theory in early modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
8 See the works of PÉCAUT, Daniel. Entre le peuple et la nation. Les intellectuels et la politique au Brésil. Paris: Maison des Sciences de I'Homme, 1989 and MICELI, Sérgio. Intelectuais e classe dirigente no Brasil 1920-1945. São Paulo: Difel, 1979.
9 See SCHWARZ, Roberto. Ao vencedor as batatas. São Paulo: Duas Cidades, 1977, initially published in Estudos CEBRAP, no. 3, 1976 and FRANCO, Maria Sylvia de Carvalho. "As idéias estão no lugar". In: Cadernos de Debate, no. 1, 1976, pp. 61-64.
10 Note here that this analysis of political vocabulary was made by CONTIER, Arnaldo Daraya in Imprensa e Ideologia em São Paulo (1822-1842). (Matizes do Vocabulário Político e Social). Petrópolis: Vozes/ Campinas: Unicamp, 1979 and also in the works of ARAÚJO, Ricardo Benzaquen de "Ronda noturna: narrativa, crítica e verdade em Capistrano de Abreu". In: Estudos Históricos, v.1, no. 1, 1988, pp. 28-54 and CARVALHO, Maria Alice Rezende de. O quinto século. André Rebouças e a construção do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: IUPERJ/Revan, 1998. More recently, we have an exercise analyzing the rhetorical vocabulary of 19th century newspapers in BASILLE, Marcello Otávio Neri de Campos. Anarquistas, rusguentos e demagogos: os liberais exaltados e a formação da esfera pública na corte imperial (1829-1839). Dissertação de Mestrado. Programa de Pós-graduação em História Social da UFRJ, 2000, caps. IV e V
11 This is the case of CARVALHO, José Murilo de, in "A utopia de Oliveira Viana". In: Estudos Históricos, v. 4, no. 7, 1991, pp. 82-99.
12 See VIANNA, Luiz Werneck. A revolução passiva. Iberismo e amercanismo no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Revan, 1997.
13 See MORSE, Richard M. El espejo de Prospero. Un estudio de la dialéctica del Nuevo Mundo. México: Siglo Veintiuno, 1982 and José Guilherme Merquior, "O outro ocidente". In: Presença, nº. 15, 1990.
14 See CARVALHO, José Murilo de. I A construção da ordem: a elite política imperial. II Teatro de sombras: a política imperial. Rio de Janeiro. Editora da UFRJ/Relume-Dumará, 2nd. ed., 1996, pp. 327-358.
15 NABUCO, Joaquim. Um estadista do Império. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Aguilar, 1975, p. 663.
16 It is worth remembering in this context that an Imperial Senator published a compendium of logic adapted to the needs of Brazilian schools in 1834. See PEREIRA, Jose Saturnino da Costa. Elementos de lógica, escriptos em vulgar e apropriados para as escolas brasileiras. Rio de Janeiro: R. Ogier, 1834.
17 Cited in PAIM, Antônio. Plataforma política do positivismo ilustrado. Brasília: Ed. da Universidade de Brasília> 1980, pp. 65-6G.
18 BOMFIM, Manoel. A América Latina. Males de origem. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1993, pp. 170-171. 1st edition 1905.
19 See HOLANDA, Sergio Buarque de. Raízes do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1984, pp. 50-51. 1st edition 1936.
20 VERNEY, Luis Antônio. Verdadeiro método de estudar (Cartas sobre retórica e política). Introduction and notes by Maria Lucília Gonçalves Pires. Lisboa: Editorial Presença. 1991. 1st edition 1746.
21 Verney, op. cit. p. 47.
22 Cited in ANDRADE, Antônio Alberto Banha de. A reforma pombalina dos estudos secundários (1759-1771). Coimbra: Por Ordem da Universidade, 3 vol., 1981, 2nd vol. p. 92.
23 Regarding the reforms at the University of Coimbra, see ANDRADE, Antonio Alberto Banha de. op. cit. CARVALHO, Laerte Ramos de. As reformas pombalinas da instrução pública, São Paulo: Saraiva/Edusp. 1978. Teófilo Braga, História da Universidade de Coimbra nas suas relações com a instrução pública portuguesa. São Paulo: Saraiva/Edusp, 1978 e PAIM, Antonio. História das idéias filosóficas no Brasil. São Paulo: Grijalbo, 1967.
24 For a study of professors of the royal classes in Rio de Janeiro, see ALMEIDA, Anita Correia Lima de. A República das Letras na corte da América Portuguesa: a reforma dos Estudos Menores no Rio de Janeiro setecentista. Dissertação de Mestrado. UFRJ/IFCS, 1995. I would like to thank the author for giving me access to the texts regarding the reform.
25 See FERREIRA, Silvestre Pinheiro. Preleções philosophicas sobre a theórica do discurso e da linguagem, a esthética, a diceósyna, e a cosmologia. Rio de Janeiro: Na Imprensa Régia, 1813-1820.
26 See, for example, PERELMAN, Chaim's excellent work, Retóricas. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1997.
27 See MENEZES, Bento Rodrigo Pereira de Soto-Maior e. Compêndio rhetórico, ou arte completa de rhetórica com méthodo facil para toda a pessoa curioza, sem frequentar as aulas saber a arte da eloquência: toda composta das mais sábias doutrinas dos melhores autores, que escreveram desta importante sciencia de falar bem. Lisboa: Na Officina de Simão Thaddeo Ferreira, 1794.
28 See GAMA, Miguel do Sacramento Lopes. Licões de eloquência nacional. Rio de Janeiro: Paula Brito, 1846. Father Lopes Gama was a professor of rhetoric and director of the Faculdade de Direto do Recife.
29 Lopes Gama, op. cit., p. 1.
30 See SOUZA, Roberto Acizelo de. O Império da Eloqüência. Retórica e Política no Brasil Oitocentista. Rio de Janeiro: EdUERJ/EdUFF, 1999. The compendiums used at the Pedro II College were generally those of Antônio Marciano da Silva Pontes, Nova Rhetórica Brasileira (1860), Francisco Freire de Carvalho, Lições Elementares de Eloquência Nacional (1834), Manoel da Costa Honorato, a professor of the College, Compêndio de Rbetórica e Política (1879), and of Dr. José Maria Velho da Silva, Lição de Rbetórica (1882).
31 For a general vision of the transformations which took place in the field of intellectual history and its principal interpretive trends, see KELLEY, Donald R. ed., op. cit, in particular the introduction and the final chapter, written by the collection's organizer.
32 See JAUSS, H.R. Pour une esthétique de la réception. Paris: Gallimard, 1978, KUHN, Thomas S. The structure of scientific revolution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962, J.G.A Pockok, op. cit., and CHARTIER, Roger. "Do livro à leitura". In: CHARTIER, Roger (org.), Práticas da leitura. São Paulo: Estação Liberdade, 1996, pp. 77-105.
33 See PERELMAN, Chaim. Ret6ricas. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1997, above all the second half of the book, and also PERELMAN, Chaim and OLBRECHTS-TYTECA, Lucie. Tratado da argumentação. A nova retórica. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1996.
34 This is the case, for example, of the newspaper A Nova Luz Brasileira. Regarding this journal, see BASILE, Marcello Otávio Neri de Campos. op. cit.
35 Cited in Isabel Lustosa, "Insultos impressos. A guerra dos jornalistas na Independência". Doctoral dissertation. Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro, 1997, p. 314. This dissertation examines the use and presence of verbal aggression in the newspapers of the independence period.
36 The information regarding book stores and print shops comes from HALLEWELL, Laurence. O livro no Brasil (sua história). São Paulo: Edusp, 1985, pp. 47-52.
37 Regarding distinctions between the two kinds of arguments, see PERELMAN and OLBRECHTS-TYTECA, op. cit., pp. 125-129.
38 PERELMAN, Chaim and OLBRECHTS-TYTECA, Lucie. op. cit., p. 348.
39 VERNEY, op. cit., p. 89.
40 Cited in CARVALHO, Laerte Ramos de. op. cit., p. 164.
41 See MORAES, João Quartim de. "Oliveira Viana e a democratização pelo alto". In: BASTOS, Élide Rugai e MORAES, João Quartim de (orgs.). O pensamento de Oliveira Viana. Campinas: Ed. da Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 1993, pp. 87-130.
42 See LIMA, Luis Costa. Terra ignota. A construção de Os Sertões. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1997, chap. 1.
43 For the quotes from Derby and Rui Barbosa's report, see CARVALHO, José Murilo de. A Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto. O Peso da Glória. Rio de Janeiro: FINEP/Cia. Editora Nacional, 1978, p. 39.
44 A Nova Luz Brasileira, 12/O1/1830. In: Marcello O. N. de C. Basile, op. cit., p. 170. I'd like to thank Marcello Basile for access to his notes regarding this journal.
45 See GUILHAUMOU, Jacques. La langue politique et la Révolution Française. De l'evénement à la raison linguistique. Paris: Méridiens Klincksieck, 1989.