Rio, João Do (1880–1921)

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Rio, João Do (1880–1921)

João Do Rio (pseudonym of Paulo Barreto; (b. 5 August 1880; d. 23 June 1921), Brazilian writer. João do Rio—reporter, short story writer, and man about town—enjoyed a tremendous reputation during his brief lifetime; he was regarded as the personification of Brazilian culture at the turn of the century and was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters before he reached age thirty. While one or two of his short stories (particularly the grotesque carnival tale "O bebê de Tarlatana Rosa") are still anthologized, his fame dissipated within a few years after his death. That fame depended, in large measure, upon his public persona, which João do Rio carefully modeled on Oscar Wilde; the persona is also the focus of much of the bibliography on his life and work, although few biographers and critics have directly addressed the central issue of his homosexuality. His stories and nonfiction accounts of Rio de Janeiro, such as A alma encantadora das ruas (1908), are now read primarily as social documents, for they provide more or less realistic descriptions of the city's underworld of brothels and cabarets, a world in which perversion, cruelty, disease, and suffering reigned.

See alsoHomosexuality and Bisexuality in Literature; Literature: Brazil.


I. De L. Neves Manta, A arte e a neurose de João do Rio, 5th ed. (1976).

R. Magalhães Júnior, A vida vertiginosa de João do Rio (1978).

Julie Jones, "Paulo Barreto's 'O bebê de tarlatana rosa': A Carnival Adventure," in Luso-Brazilian Review 24, no. 1 (1987): 27-33.

Raúl Antelo, João do Rio: O dândi e a especulação (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Gomes, Renato Cordeiro. João do Rio: Vielas do vício, ruas da graça. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará: Rio Arte, 1996.

Rodrigues, Antonio Edmilson Martins. João do Rio, a cidade e o poeta: O olhar de flâneur na belle époque tropical. Rio de Janeiro: Editora FGV, 2000.

Rodrigues, João Carlos. João do Rio: Uma biografia. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1996.

                                       David T. Haberly