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International Yearbook of Futurism Studies...

Multi-volumed work

International Yearbook of Futurism Studies

Ed. by Berghaus, Günter

e-ISSN 2192-029X

Volume 7


Ed. by Aguirre, Mariana / Sarabia, Rosa / Silverman, Renée M. / Vasconcelos, Ricardo

In coop. with Berghaus, Günter / Lee, Sze Wah

eBook (PDF)
Publication Date:
April 2017
Copyright year:
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Heavenly Heights, or Reign of the Dangerous Classes? F. T. Marinetti’s Visit to the Morro da Favela (1926)

Mattos, Romulo Costa


In 1926, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti visited the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he gave several public talks about Futurism, about his views on art and on Italian Fascism. On 18 May he visited Morro da Favela and spoke to the press and in his lectures about his impressions gained on that excursion. This essay analyses the debates that ensued, especially about the favela as a symbolic representation of Brazil and in particular of Rio de Janeiro. Seen by some as the ‘real Brazil’ due to its primitive and exotic character, others regarded it a retreat of the ‘dangerous classes’. Marinetti’s visit contributed to the valorization of the favela in the public consciousness, not so much because of its Futurist quality (“We want to sing about the love of danger, about the use of energy and recklessness”) but because of the ‘authenticity’ of its inhabitants. The enchanted eye with which Marinetti looked upon the favela had a parallel in the nostalgic views certain intellectuals had about the ‘barbaric’ hinterlands of Northeast Brazil. An entirely different attitude can be gleaned from the speeches of some town planners, who had a personal interest in razing down the favela and to gain profit from the construction of new housing estates for the poor. Judging by his statements, Marinetti saw in the shantytown dwellers neither rogues nor angels, but rather “strong people” worthy of study and observation.

Citation Information

Romulo Costa Mattos (2017). Heavenly Heights, or Reign of the Dangerous Classes? F. T. Marinetti’s Visit to the Morro da Favela (1926). In Mariana Aguirre, Rosa Sarabia, Renée M. Silverman, Ricardo Vasconcelos (Eds.), 2017 (pp. 288–306). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110527834-016

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110527834

Online ISBN: 9783110527834

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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