Costa, Cláudio Manuel da (1729–1789)

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Costa, Cláudio Manuel da (1729–1789)

Cláudio Manuel da Costa (also Manoel; b. 5 June 1729; d. 4 July 1789), considered the father of Brazilian literature and its major neoclassic poet. He was born in Mariana, Minas Gerais, to a well-to-do family. After studying with the Jesuits in Brazil, he obtained a law degree in Coimbra, Portugal, in 1753. Returning to Brazil, he set up residence in Ouro Prêto, where he pursued a career as a lawyer and public servant. Through investments in gold mining and money lending, he became one of the wealthiest men in the province. His collected poems were published as Orbas [sic] (1768), and he also wrote an epic poem on the history of his home town (published as Vila Rica in 1839). In 1789 he was arrested under the accusation of participating in a plot to declare Minas Gerais independent of the Portuguese crown (Inconfidência Mineira). After a month in jail, he compromised himself and several of his named co-conspirators. Broken and remorseful, he committed suicide. Without presenting serious documentation, some historians have tried to contest the official version of his death, accusing his jailer of murder.

See alsoLiterature: Brazil .


Samuel Putnam, Marvelous Journey (1948), pp. 81-95.

Kenneth R. Maxwell, Conflicts and Conspiracies: Brazil and Portugal, 1750–1808 (1973).

Additional Bibliography

Alcides, Sérgio. Estes penhascos: Cláudio Manuel da Costa e a paisagem das Minas Gerais 1753–1773. São Paulo: Hucitec, 2003.

Brandão, Roberto de Oliveira. Poética e poesia no Brasil (Colônia). São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2001.

Lopes, Edward. Metamorfoses: A poesia de Cláudio Manuel da Costa. São Paulo: Editora UNESP, Fundação, 1997.

                                        Heitor Martins

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Costa, Cláudio Manuel da (1729–1789)

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