De Queiroz, Rachel 1910-1983
de QUEIROZ, Rachel 1910-1983
PERSONAL: Born November 17, 1910, in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Editora Siciliano, Av. Raimundo Pereira de Magalhaes 3305, 05145-200 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
CAREER: Journalist and novelist. Brazil's representative to the United Nations, 1964.
AWARDS, HONORS: Scai Prize (Brazil), 1958, for Lampião; A beata Maria do Egito won multiple awards in Brazil; admitted to Brazilian Academy of Letters, 1977.
O quinze (novel; title means "1915"), Companhia Editora nacional (São Paulo, Brazil), 1930.
João Miguel, Schmidt (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1932.
Caminho de pedras (novel; title means "Stony Roads"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1937.
As três Marias (novel; title means "The Three Marias"), Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1939.
Náufragos, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), c. 1942.
A donzela e a Moura Torta; crônicas e reminisceências (title means "The Damsel and the Cross-eyed Mooress"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1948.
Três romances (O quinze, João Miguel, and Caminho de pedras), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1948.
Lampião; drama em cinco quadros (play), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1953.
A beata Maria do Egito: peça em 3 atos e 4 quadros (play; title means "Blessed Mary of Egypt"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1958.
100 crônicas escolhidas, 1958, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1970.
O brasileiro perplexo; hist&oactue;rias e crônicas, Editôra do Autor (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1963.
O caçador de Tatu (title means "The Armadillo Hunter"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1967.
O menino m'gico, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1969.
Seleta de Rachel de Queiroz, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1973.
Dôra Doralina (novel), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1975.
As menininhas e outras crônicas, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1976.
O jogador de sinuca e mais historinhas, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1980.
O galo de ouro (title means "Golden Rooster"), J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985.
(Contributor) Solenidade do centenario de nascimento de Jose Americo, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1988.
Obra reunida, five volumes, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1989.
Mapinguari: crônicas, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1989.
Rachel de Queiroz: os oitenta, J. Olympio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1990.
Memorial de Maria Moura (novel; title means "Memoirs of Maria Moura"), Editora Siciliano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1992.
As terras asperas, Editora Siciliano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1993.
Um alpendre, uma rede, um açude: 100 crônicas escolhidas, Editora Siciliano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1994.
O nosso Ceará, Ediçôes Fundaçáo Demócrito Rocha (Fortaleza, Caerá, Brazil), 1994.
Tantos anos, Editora Siciliano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1998.
Also author of Quatro Romances (O quinze, João Miguel, Caminho de pedras, and As tres Marias), 1960, and Matriarcas do Ceara: Don Federalina de Lavras (nonfiction), 1990. Also contributed to magazine O Cruzeiro.
ADAPTATIONS: Memorial de Maria Moura was adapted for television miniseries by TV Globo.
SIDELIGHTS: Brazilian native Rachel de Queiroz attended a Catholic girls' school. In 1927 she began working as a journalist in her home town of Fortaleza, Brazil. Three years later, de Queiroz's first book, O quinze ("1915"), was published to critical acclaim. While de Queiroz enjoyed critical accolades throughout her literary career, her first moments of her literary journey were far from encouraging. She began writing as a small child, but "wrote in secret because I was afraid of my siblings and my mother," as de Queiroz recalled to Mario Goncalves of Brazil-Brasil. "I thought they would make fun of me. I did stories that had daggers, lightning, and I don't know what else. I wrote them and ripped them up."
The daughter of well-off intellectuals, the young de Queiroz was always surrounded by books. Her family, descended from the old Brazilian state of Ceara, was exceedingly literate. De Queiroz's father read Eca de Queiroz and French authors, and her mother was partial to Russian writers such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Maxim Gorky. When de Queiroz's mother died, she left a library of approximately five thousand books.
De Queiroz's debut, Q quinze, is a romantic novel. Set in 1915 during a period of drought, the story revolves around Conceição, who falls in love with her cousin, Vincente. When Conceição suspects Vincente of infidelity, she leaves. Eventually, she meets Chico Bento, a cattle herder who was forced to abandon everything and flee to a refugee camp on the coast. The backdrop of the drought sets the tone of the novel. Although the subject matter is bleak, de Queiroz manages to wring some positive feelings about humanity out of the story.
De Queiroz's second novel brought her into conflict with the communist regime in Brazil upon its publication. De Queiroz, who was a member of the communist party, had only one copy of the novel, which made its way into the hands of party officials before it was published. She was met by three communist party enforcers and advised to abandon the book. According to the communists, the book was inappropriate because a peasant killed another worker. The communists wanted the peasant character in the book to kill a member of the bourgeois, but de Queiroz refused, telling the men they had no literary authority.
De Queiroz, who quit the communist party and became a follower of Leon Trotsky, would later face the threat of imprisonment for publishing her books. João Miguel is a story with proletariat sensibilities. Based on the tale of a common man from northeast Brazil who is accused of murder and imprisoned, the book was a turning point for de Queiroz: her approach to literature became more concerned with individual psychology than society.
De Queiroz's next major literary efforts did not come for another five years. In Caminho de pedras ("Stony Road") and As tres Marias ("The Three Marias") de Queiroz continues her efforts to examine the human psyche. Caminho de pedras provides a historical look at the persecution of political dissidents and activists. In the book, class, power, and economic development each play a part in the world of rebellious politicos. The main character, Noemi, leaves her husband for a communist organizer named Roberto. Her ultimate goal is to find liberation as an individual. As tres Marias has women looking back on their experiences as girls in a convent school. The overriding themes in the book are sex and love.
In the 1950s de Queiroz pursued her secondary passion, the theater. Her first play, Lampião, won the Scai Prize in Sao Paulo, and another play, A beata Maria do Egito ("Blessed Mary of Egypt"), won multiple awards in Brazil. According to Fred P. Ellison in Latin American Writers, critics like A beata Maria do Egito for its "unity, intensity, and clarity." The play tells the story of Blessed Mary, a woman arrested for her outspoken religious views. During her imprisonment, the police lieutenant falls in love with her. "The unities of time, place, and action focus our attention upon the woman's ambiguous spirituality, set against the lieutenant's romantic passion," wrote Ellison, in Latin American Writers.
De Queiroz published the novel Dôra, Doralina, a series of three books, in 1975. The novel tells the story of Dora, from her marriage to Laurindo and his suspicious death, to her leaving behind her family's ranch to break out on her own, to her love affair with a riverboat captain, and ultimately to her return to the ranch. The novel brings her life full circle. De Queiroz's 1992 novel Memorial de Maria Moura ("Memoirs of Maria Moura") was made into a television miniseries and shown on TV Globo.
Throughout her career, de Queiroz has published several collections of her work. In 1977 she became the first woman admitted to the Brazilian Academy of Letters. Despite her success, de Queiroz is none too taken by her chosen profession. According to Katheryn Gallant in Brazil-Brasil, in 1994 she told the magazine Caras: "I detest writing. I don't remember writing voluntarily."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bruno, Haroldo, Rachel de Querioz, Livraria Editora Cátedra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1977.
Cyclopedia of World Authors, Salem Press (Hackensack, NJ), 1997.
Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, third edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Latin American Writers, Volume 3, Scribner (New York, NY), 1989.
DoloryViceVersa.com, http://www.doloryviceversa.com/bookofinfo/ (November 11, 2003), "Rachel de Queiroz."
Brazil-Brasil Web site,http://www.brazil-brasil.com (April 12, 1999).
Brazzil.com,http://www.brazzil.com/ (November 11, 2003), Mario Gonçalves, "Sweet Anarchist."*