Lima, Jorge de (1895–1953)

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Lima, Jorge de (1895–1953)

Jorge de Lima (b. 23 April 1895; d. 16 Nov. 1953), Brazilian poet, physician, politician. Lima was born in the northeastern state of Alagoas, where he completed secondary school. While drawn to the priesthood, he chose medicine as a career and went to Salvador to study. Having specialized in public health, he returned in 1915 to practice in Alagoas. In 1926, he became involved in public affairs, winning election to the state chamber of deputies as a candidate of the Republican Party. In 1930 he moved to Rio, where he was active in political causes while continuing his medical career. In 1946, he served on the governing council of the Federal District, and in 1949 he began to teach at the University of Brazil and the Catholic University.

Like many well-known intellectuals of the period, he participated in the Catholic movement of renovation. While the first poetry he published followed Parnassian models, Lima achieved recognition only in the second phase of modernism as a member of a spiritually oriented group in Rio. His poetry, inspired by his Christian faith, gave way to surreal verse of self-searching abstraction. In literary circles, Lima's most admired single work is Invenção de Orfeu (Invention of Orpheus, 1952), a dense ten-canto lyrical epic.

In terms of cultural nationalism, Lima's cult of northeastern regionalism, especially of the black cultural presence, is noteworthy. He was born into a family that had been active in the abolition movement, and a concern for the black experience marks his writing from the 1920s on. One of his most noteworthy works is Poemas Negros (1947), which invokes African deities. In addition to eighteen books of verse, Lima wrote five works of long fiction, but they are not of the same distinction as his verse. He also produced children's literature, biography, and art criticism.

See alsoModernism, Brazil .


Richard A. Preto-Rodas, "The Black Presence and Two Brazilian Modernists: Jorge de Lima and José Lins do Rego," in Tradition and Renewal: Essays on Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature and Culture, edited by Merlin Forster (1975).

Marie F. Sovereign, "The Double Itinerary of Jorge de Lima's Poetry," in Luso-Brazilian Review 11, no. 1 (1974): 105-113.

Luciana Stegagna Picchio, "Jorge de Lima: Universal Poet," in Portuguese Studies 1 (1985): 151-167.

Additional Bibliography

Espinheira Filho, Ruy. O Nordeste e o negro na poesia de Jorge de Lima. Salvador: Fundação das Artes, Empresa Gráfica da Bahia, 1990.

Farias, José Niraldo de. O surrealismo na poesia de Jorge de Lima. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, 2003.

                                        Charles A. Perrone