Figueiredo, Afonso Celso de Assis (1860–1938)

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Figueiredo, Afonso Celso de Assis (1860–1938)

Afonso Celso de Assis Figueiredo (b. 31 March 1860; d. 11 July 1938), Brazilian politician and man of letters. The son of a prominent Liberal politician and nobleman, the viscount of Ouro Prêto, Figueiredo left his native Minas Gerais to study in São Paulo. After earning a doctorate in law in 1881, he quickly embarked on his political career, winning election to the parliament four times. In contrast to his father, he showed himself to be reform-minded, most notably supporting proposals for the gradual abolition of slavery in Brazil.

Although he had embraced republican ideas as a student, Figueiredo had become a strident monarchist by the time his father headed the final cabinet of the Brazilian Empire in 1889. When the empire gave way to the new republic late in that year, Figueiredo chose to follow his father into European exile. Upon his return he practiced and taught law, and dedicated himself to political journalism and other writings. Although he also produced poetry and novels, his greatest literary fame came from his nonfiction works. Figueiredo's historical memoirs, Oito anos de Parlamento (1981; originally published in 1929), and biography Visconde de Ouro Prêto (1935), are important sources for the study of politics in the late nineteenth century. By far his most widely read literary work was Porque me ufano do meu país (1900, 1943), a celebration of all things Brazilian. Hailed by many as a model of civic pride, this book gave rise to the term ufanismo (facile, unthinking patriotism).

Honored by France with the Legion of Honor and by Pope Pius X with the title of count, Figueiredo became a central figure in Brazil's literary and intellectual organizations. One of the founding members of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, he served as president of the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro from 1912 until his death.

See alsoBrazil: Since 1889; Brazil, The Empire (Second); Slavery: Brazil.


Robert E. Conrad, The Destruction of Brazilian Slavery, 1850–1888 (1972).

Emília Viotti Da Costa, The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Rodrigues, João Paulo Coelho de Souza. A dança das cadeiras: Literature e política na Academia Brasileira de Letras (1896–1913). Campinas, São Paulo: Editora da UNICAMP, 2001.

                                Roger A. Kittleson

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Figueiredo, Afonso Celso de Assis (1860–1938)

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