Almeida, José Américo de (1887–1980)

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Almeida, José Américo de (1887–1980)

José Américo de Almeida (b. 10 January 1887; d. 10 March 1980), a leading Brazilian social novelist of the 1930s. Almeida was an important figure in both Northeastern and national Brazilian politics until his death. A strong supporter of Getúlio Vargas's 1930 revolution and a minister in Vargas's government, his own presidential candidacy was thwarted by Vargas's coup in 1937. Later he served as governor of his home state of Paraíba. These and other episodes of his political life were described in his memoirs Ocasos de sangue (1954).

Influenced by positivism and Euclides da Cunha's Os sertões, Almeida wrote A Paraíba e seus problemas (1923), which documents his sociopolitical concerns about his state and region. Although he wrote three novels with similar economic and social themes and the same poetic style, A bagaceira (1928; Trash, 1978) is recognized as his most important work. A pioneering regionalist work within the nationalist ideology of Brazilian modernism, A bagaceira is primarily a literary exemplification of beliefs and ideas he expressed in A Paraíba e seus problemas. In this poetic novel replete with regionalist expressions, he describes the effects of the periodic droughts on the people of the Northeast and, specifically, the conflict between the sertanejos (frontiersmen) and the brejeiros (marshmen). Today, however, the novel is considered more of a monument of that period than a vibrant work of literature.

See alsoLiterature: Brazil; Vargas, Getúlio Dornelles.


R. L. Scott-Buccleuch, "Translator's Foreword," in Trash (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Castro, Angela Maria Bezerra de. Re-leitura de A bagaceira: Uma aprendizagem de desaprender. Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio Editora, 1987.

Pereira, Joacil. José Américo de Almeida: A saga de uma vida. João Pessoa: Instituto Nacional do Livro, 1987.

                                           Irwin Stern

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Almeida, José Américo de (1887–1980)

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