Lima Barreto

Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto ( born May 13, 1881 in Rio de Janeiro, † November 1, 1922 ibid ), better known as Lima Barreto was a Brazilian journalist and author. With Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma, he wrote a literary classic of the country, which describes the adventures of a music and book -loving nerd who is confronted with the peculiarities of Brazil at the turn of the century. Although little known outside Brazil, the author is considered one of the best satirical authors of the Brazilian literature. He used a heavily sarcastic, although fine writing style, through which he escaped the persecution of politicians and the military, which in the books often targets of his criticism were.


Lima Barreto was in Rio de Janeiro born in a poor family of mixed ethnic background ( mulatto ). He spent his childhood in a psychiatric hospital where his father was overseer. The abolition of slavery in 1888 it a good education was made possible. After his mother's death he attended the public school of Teresa D. Pimental do Amaral. Soon after, he enrolled in the Liceu Popular Niteroiense after his godfather, the Viscount of Ouro Preto, agreed to pay for his schooling. He remained there until 1894 and completed his studies. In 1895 he went to that time the only institution of higher education, the prestigious Colégio Pedro II, whose students mainly came from the upper class. In 1895 he was also admitted to the Polytechnic school in Rio de Janeiro, however, was forced to cancel in 1904 to provide for the mental illness of his father for his siblings. On the repeated accusation that is not interested in teaching, he spent his afternoons at the National Library. Around this time he was recruited by a competition as a copyist in the War Office, which gave him some financial stability. He became a civil servant, and wrote at the same time as a journalist and novelist. Because of his alcohol addiction, he was released early. Barretos life was marked by alcoholism and occasional psychiatric stays during depressive phases. With 41 years, he died of a heart attack. Only after his early death, his works have recognition as an important contribution to Brazilian literature.

Literary activity

As a student, Lima Barreto began in 1902 his career as a journalist for newspapers such as A Quinzena Alegre, Tagarela O, O Diabo and A Revista da Epoca. In 1905 he started for larger newspapers such as the Correio da Manhã to write, where he wrote a series of reports on the destruction of the Morro do Castelo ( " Castle Hill "). He then worked for several other newspapers and magazines such as Fon - Fon, Floreal, Gazeta da Tarde, Jornal ( evening newspaper ), Bras Cubas ( weekly ), Hoje, Revista Souza Cruz and O Mundo literario.

1911 Barreto was out with some of his friends the magazine Floreal, who survived only up to the second issue, however, attracted the attention of some critics. In 1909, he got attention as a man of letters, after the novel Recordações do Escrivao published Isaías Caminha ( memories of the writer Isaías Caminha ) in Portugal. The spiked with autobiographical elements narrative thread of the book reveals a critique of Brazilian society that accuses Barreto as biased and deeply hypocritical. The publication of the main work Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma ( " The sad end of Policarpo Quaresma " ) began in 1914 as a serial novel in a magazine. It was a year later published as paperback and described by literary critics as a seminal work of the pre-modern period. As a social critic, he reaches into his novel on the Revolta da Chibata from 1910, which was widely reprinted.

Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma and Recordações do Escrivao Isaías Caminha had some success, what Barreto at the time did not prevent the harsh criticism of other authors with readers. The criticism was based on the fact that Barreto deliberately deviated from the then fashionable elite style. He was known as slovenly as he used instead of classic Portuguese in his socially critical novels colloquial language, which suited more to journalistic texts. At its characters they disturbed also because they did not meet the standard forms. His attempts, the Academia Brasileira de Letras join, were rejected. Barreto accused his opponent, not to operate the literature as art, but in a mechanical way to use a predefined recognized language.

Lima Barretos also writes journalistic texts for the workers and anarchist press as A Plebe ( "The People " ), A Voz do Trabalhador ( " The Workers' Voice " ) and A Lanterna ( " The Lantern" ).


Writing style

Barreto was a very sarcastic author, which clearly reflected in his books. The main objectives of his criticism was the perceived mediocrity of the Brazilian population, mainly the government and the economic / military authorities. In the work Os Bruzundangas to this particular shows.

The author also criticized vehemently the complex and difficult writing style, which was popular among the Brazilian authorities and the agreement witnessed by intelligence and high social status. Therefore, he uses himself also a simple style with lower vokabularischen requirements to be understandable to a majority in Brazilian society. This increasingly called forth criticism of the Brazilian elite, which criticized his unclassical writing style.

Barreto led from the mental states of his characters; in contrast to authors of realism as the Brazilian Machado de Assis or the Portuguese Eca de Queirós it is not considered as a special quality to it. However, his works are full of strange situations to the beliefs and thoughts of his characters: for example, was Policarpo Quaresma ( Barretos legendary Creation) a radical and almost utopian patriot and his beliefs led him to his tragic end. Policarpo was innocent enough to believe that the "original Brazilian nature" could be restored. Exaggerated innocence damn well his character of Clara dos Anjos to a dishonored life ( see below). What the opponents concerns Barreto explores the hypocrisy, the ignorance and indifference to others suffering. Psychopathy was presented in his posthumously published book, Clara dos Anjos by Cassi Jones, the typical habits of a sociopath has: lack of sympathy for others' feelings, selfishness, and detailed plans for the achievement of its objectives, no matter how vile they are.

1915 - Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma ( " The sad end of Policarpo Quaresma " )

This story is considered Barretos masterpiece and therefore often read in Brazilian schools and often used in the so-called vestibular, the annual exams for university admission in Brazil. It tells the story of Policarpo Quaresma, a radical Brazilian patriots. Policarpo's dearest dream is Brazil's rise to world power. He noticed many problems in the political and social structure of his country recognizes that Brazilians appreciate European culture more than their own country and tries to change this.

The story can be divided into three distinct parts:

Os Bruzundangas are a collection of stories, published Lima Barreto over the period of 20 years in newspapers. They tell of life of the population of Bruzundanga, a fictional country that stands for Brazil. Barreto opted for the introduction of the fictitious country in order to escape persecution by politicians or other authority. In the stories of the book he tells of the corruption that exists in all areas of public life in Bruzundanga - from politics to education. They contain many allegorical correspondences with famous Brazilian people and public institutions.

1948 - Clara dos Anjos

This posthumously published novel tells of Clara dos Anjos, a girl from a poor family who lives in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. The story revolves around Clara's enthusiasm for Cassi Jones, a ruthless boy and son of a richer family. Cassi, who has an uncountable number of women pregnant and leave, Clara seduces his lustful purposes. Clara, inexperienced because of the protectionism of their parents, is pregnant. At the end flees Cassi, and Clara is leaving and " dishonored " there. In his book, Barreto would like to show the usually degrading fate of poor women in Brazil, as he does in Clara's last quote: "We have nothing in this life ." In addition, he shows any case, the hypocrisy of rich people ( mainly represented by Cassis mother who takes her son constantly in protection) and the absurd egoism of Brazilian youth ( represented by Cassi Jones).

Other works

  • O Subterrâneo do Morro do Castelo (1905 )
  • Recordações do Escrivao Isaías Caminha (1909 )
  • O Homem que Sabia Javanes e outros contos (1911 )
  • Vida e Morte de M. J. Gonzaga de Sá (1919)
  • Cemitério dos Vico (1920 )
  • Histórias e Sonhos (1920 )
  • Outras Histórias e Contos Argentinas Linos (1952, posthumous)
  • Coisas do Reino de Jambom (1953, posthumous)