Callado, Antônio 1917-1997

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CALLADO, Antônio 1917-1997

PERSONAL: Born January 26, 1917, in Niterói, Brazil; died 1997. Education: Studied law.

CAREER: Novelist, essayist, playwright, and journalist. British Broadcasting Corporation, staff member, beginning 1941; worked in radio in France, 1944-47; Jornal do Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, journalist, c. 1950s-60s.

AWARDS, HONORS: Golfinho de Ouro; Premio Brasília; Goethe Institute Prize, 1982, for Sempreviva.


Esqueleto na lagoa verde: um senaio sôbre a vide e o sumiço do coronel Fawcett, Ministério da Educacão e Saude (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1953, new edition, 1961.

A cidade assassinada (three-act play), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1954.

Assunção de Salviano (novel; title means "The Assumption of Salviano"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1954, reprinted, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1983.

Retrato de Portinari, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1955, reprinted, Paz e Terra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1978.

Frankel (three-act play), Ministério da Educacão e Cultura (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1955, English translation, Servico de documentacão (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1956.

Pedro Mico, zumbi do catacumba (play; also see below), Dramas e Comédias (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1957, reprinted, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1996.

O colar de coral, Dramas e Comédias (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1957.

A Modona de cedro (novel; title means "Cedar Madonna"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1957, reprinted, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1994.

Os industriais da sêca e os "Galileus" de Pernambuco: aspectos da luta pela reforma agrária no Brasil, Civilizacão Brasilieira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1960.

O tesouro de Chica da Silva (two-act play; also see below), Sociedade Brasileira de Autores Teatrais (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1962.

Forro no Engenho Cananêia, Civilizacão Brasilieira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1964.

Tempo de Arraes, padres e comunistas na revolução sem violência, J. Alvaro 80, 1964.

Enciclopédia Barsa, Encyclopaedia Britannica (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1964.

Quarup (novel), Civilizacão Brasilieira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1967, reprinted, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1990, translation by Barbara Shelby, Knopf (New York, NY), 1970.

64 D.C., Tempo Brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1967.

Vietnã do norte: advertência aos agressores, Civilizacão Brasilieira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1969.

Bar D. Juan (novel), Civilizacão Brasilieira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1971, translation by Barbara Shelby published as Don Juan's Bar, Knopf (New York, NY), 1972.

Djanira: 5 estudios de casa de Farinha, Cultrix (São Paulo, Brazil), 1972.

Censorship and Other Problems of Latin-American Writers, Centre of Latin American Studies (Cambridge, England), 1974.

Reflexos do baile, Paz e Terra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1976, 5th edition, Francesco Alves (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1997.

Passaporte sem carimbo, Avenir (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1978.

Sempreviva (novel), Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1981, English translation, 1988.

Antônio Callado, Abril Educação (São Paulo, Brazil), 1982, 2nd edition, Nova Cultura (São Paulo, Brazil), 1988.

Expedição Montaigne, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1982.

(Editor with Alfredo Bosi) Machado de Assis, Atica (São Paulo, Brazil), 1982.

A revolta da cachaça: teatro negro (plays; contains O tesouro de Chica da Silva, Pedro Mico, and Uma rede para Iemanjá), Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1983.

Concerto carioca (novel), Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985.

Entre o deus e a vasilha: ensaio sobre a reforma agrária Brasileira, a qual nunca foi feita, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985.

Um Escritor na biblioteca, Setor de Editoração da Biblioteca Pública do Paraná (Curitiba, Puerto Rico), 1985.

(With Roger D. Stone) Sonhos da Amazônia, Buanabara (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1986.

Memórias de Aldenham House (autobiographical novel), Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1989.

(With others) Amazon expo (in Portuguese and English), Armanaka'a Amazon Network (Brazil), 1992.

O homem cordial e outras histórias, Atica (São Paulo, Brazil), 1993.

(With Marilia Martins and Paulo Robert Abrantes) 3 Antônios & 1 Jobim: histórias de uma geração, Relume Dumará (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1993.

Viagem inteligente: as mais belas cidades do mundo na visão de sete autores Brasileiros, Geração (São Paulo, Brazil), 1994.

(Editor) Francisco de Mello Franco, Reino da estupidez, Giordano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1995.

(Translator) Gabriel García Marquéz, O amor nos tempos do cólera (Portuguese translation of Love in the Time of Cholera), Record (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1995.

Contos para um Natal Brasileiro, Relume Dumará (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1996.

(With Darcy Ribeiro) Mestiço é que é bom!, Revan (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1996.

(With Martha Vianna) Crônicas de fim do milênio, F. Alves (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1997.

(Author of text) Candido Potinari: Proyecto Cultural Artistas del Mercosur (in Spanish), Banco Velox (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1997.

Callado's works have been translated into Italian, Spanish, English, and German.

ADAPTATIONS: Callado's play O tesouro de Chica da Silva was adapted as the film Xica, directed by Carlos Diegues.

SIDELIGHTS: One of the more influential Brazilian writers of the late twentieth century, Antônio Callado enjoyed "a typical middle-class upbringing," according to Naomi Hoki Moniz in an essay for Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century. As a young man he studied law but began his career as a journalist, working in England and France for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Though he enjoyed his European sojourn, according to Moniz Callado "felt a profound longing for Brazil and a deep desire to return and rediscover his own country." Callado did so by becoming a writer for Jornal du Brazil, where his activism landed him in and out of jail. Callado parlayed that experience into a career in journalism, criticism, fiction, and drama.

In his writings, Callado sought to build upon Brazil's national identity; "thus his novels are a kaleidoscopic voyage across Brazil, in a effort to portray what he found to be its multiple and genuine realities," Moniz said. One of the first of Callado's books to receive wide attention was the novel Quarup. Its title taken from an Indian death ritual, Quarup portrays realistically the conflicting ideologies and contrasting cultures of Brazil's indigenous people and the imperialist upper classes of European descent as seen through the eyes of a fallen priest. Quarup was widely embraced in Brazil, but its translation from Portuguese to English drew some mixed notices. Ronald Christ of Commonweal interpreted the novel as a fictionalization of actual events that touches on "social and economic oppression, exploitation and extermination of the Indians, military repression leading to brutal, calculated torture of opponents of the government." While commending Callado's intent, Christ was less impressed with the author's style, labeling the novel's characters "cardboard constructions or weirdly frivolous, fatuously grotesque caricatures" and Quarup "a book that never jells into a consistent vision of the inner or outer life of Brazil." New York Times Book Review contributor David Gallagher likewise noted that "it is a pity that so absorbing a novel could be marred by a clumsy technique and by a flat unfertile style." New Republic contributor Joseph Page found Callado to be "at his best in catching the mood and style of his carioca characters, and at his worst trying to evoke the regional setting for the events in Quarup."

In the political novel Bar D. Juan, Callado "juxtaposes the plans of a group of inept Brazilian dreamers with the actualities of guerilla action in [Che Guevara's] Bolivia," according to Dorothy Nyren in Library Journal. The titular tavern is in Rio de Janeiro, where the affluent young gather to indulge in revolutionary fantasies. The plot thickens when the young people are "galvanized into a suicidal project by an emissary of Castro's," as Martin Levin explained in the New York Times Book Review. This "funny, cynical, seductive" novel, noted a Time critic, "is virtually a textbook on how not to run a revolution."

By the time the award-winning novel Sempreviva was published, Callado had established himself as "certainly the greatest Brazilian political novelist of today," according to Wilson Martins in World Literature Today. Martins described the author as "not a politician who writes novels, but a novelist who sees in politics the matter of novels." Sempreviva dramatizes Brazil's cultural issues through an exiled character, Vasco, who returns to his homeland to find his beloved Lucinda murdered by military terrorists who are also depleting the country's panther population, torturing and killing the animals for their pelts. At first bent on bloody revenge, Vasco decides instead to expose the terrorists to international scorn. "However, such is not to be," as Malcolm Silverman noted in Modern Language Review. "Both he and his nemesis die in unconscious servitude—one amid amorous nostalgia, the other amid naturalistic perversity." Silverman went on to describe Sempreviva as "a novel of ideas whose spontaneous exposition of polemics is revealed through a prose often poetic in its imagery."



Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Latin American Lives, Macmillan Library Reference (New York, NY), 1996.


Brasil-Brazil, Volume 1, number 1, Christina-Ferreira Pinto, "Mito e realidad politica em Sempreviva de Antônio Callado," pp. 7-16.

Choice, October, 1970, review of Quarup, p. 1047; September, 1972, review of Don Juan's Bar, p. 820.

Commonweal, October 9, 1970, Ronald Christ, review of Quarup, p. 51.

Library Journal, February 15, 1972, Dorothy Nyren, review of Don Juan's Bar, p. 698.

Luso-Brazilian Review, summer, 1997, Thomas P. Waldemer, "Revenge of the Cannibal: Surrender and Resistance in Antonio Callado's Nativist Novels," pp. 113-123.

Modern Language Journal, spring, 1982, Malcolm Silverman, review of Sempreviva, pp. 108-109.

New Republic, July 4, 1970, Joseph Page, review of Quarup, p. 25.

New York Times Book Review, June 14, 1970, David Gallagher, review of Quarup, p. 4; April 9, 1972, Martin Levin, review of Don Juan's Bar, p. 42.

Time, April 17, 1972, review of Don Juan's Bar, p. 92.

World Literature Today, spring, 1982, Wilson Martins, review of Sempreviva, p. 315; spring, 1984, Leland Guyer, review of A revolta da cachaça: teatro negro, p. 249; spring, 1990, Irwin Stern, review of Memórias de Aldenham House, p. 284.



Independent (London, England), February 1, 1997, p. 18.*