Transatlantic Radio Dramas is a meticulously researched and insightful analysis of the early literary production of Antônio Callado, a renowned journalist and novelist. Through a careful study of Callado’s scripts and other sources, Mandur Thomaz shows how this previously unstudied material deepens our understanding of his entire life’s work.
The BBC Latin American Service was created in 1938, funded by the British Ministry of Information, to counter fascist propaganda broadcast to Latin America. Now considered one of the major Latin American novelists of the twentieth century, Brazilian writer Antônio Callado (1917–1997) got his start writing radio drama scripts for the BBC LAS during and after World War II. Largely forgotten until Daniel Mandur Thomaz collected them in a 2018 volume published in Brazil, these radio scripts were propaganda in their own right and were part of a concerted effort to win sympathy for Britain and the Allies in Latin America. They reveal how Callado’s experiences during the war influenced his writing and had a critical impact on themes he would revisit consistently throughout his literary career. Transatlantic Radio Dramas analyzesthe scripts themselves, but also examines the institutions, material practices, and beliefs that allowed modernist transatlantic networks like the BBC LAS to flourish.
Thoroughly documenting the historical context and Brazil’s involvement in international politics during the Second World War, Transatlantic Radio Dramas is bound to generate new areas of discussion around the work of Callado and become a study of reference for Brazilian intellectual and literary production of the war period in international context.
Transatlantic Radio Dramas is an important contribution to scholarship. This book provides a thorough, rigorous examination of the radio drama scripts in question and argues persuasively for their wider significance. It engages with relevant secondary literature throughout, ranging from works on Callado and his writing to recent works on the relationship between radio and modernisms.
Daniel Mandur Thomaz is lecturer in Lusophone studies and global cultures in the departments of Liberal Arts and Languages and Literatures and Cultures at King’s College London, and a fellow of King’s Brazil Institute. He is the editor of Antônio Callado: Roteiros de radioteatro durante e depois da Segunda Grande Guerra, a volume of Callado’s rediscovered radio drama scripts.