Literature in Brazil

Roughly half the literature put out in Latin America is made up of Brazilian fiction, poetry, and drama. This is figured by the amount of titles of individual books. Modern Brazilian literature largely concentrates on the elements of city life. These include loneliness, violence, political issues, and media control. Brazilian authors like Rubem Fonseca and Sérgio Sant’Anna wrote very famous books about these issues in the 1970s. This was new to Brazil since literature had mostly focused on rural life up until then.

Authors like Joo Gilberto Noll, Milton Hatoum, Bernardo Carvalho, Joo Almino, Adriana Lisboa, and Cristovo Tezza have written very important books since the 1980s. Poets such as Ferreira Gullar and Manoel de Barros are considered the most celebrated amongst literary circles in Brazil.

History of Literature in Brazil

Literature developed in Brazil loosely aligns with the country’s main historical periods. One of these periods was the Colonial Period from 1500 until independence in 1822. This era was defined mostly by writings in the Baroque and Arcadian styles. Significant literary movements during the National Period were mainly due to the country’s political and social development at that time. The literary Romantic Movement occurred during the 57 years of the Empire.

The Parnassians and the Realists did very well during the earliest part of the Republic. After this came the Symbolists. In the 20th century, the Vanguardist or Modernist Movement emerged. It brought with it very unconventional and advanced ideas. These were featured and highly praised in the So Paulo Week of Modern Art in 1922. This movement greatly inspired literature, painting, sculpture, music, and architecture in Brazil.


A very important literary movement in Brazil was Romanticism. Since Neoclassicism in Brazil occurred for such a long period of time, it did not allow advancement and creation in literature. In 1836, Romanticism started to inspire Brazilian poetry. This was mainly due to the poet Gonçalves de Magalhães. Shortly after this, many young poets, such as Casimiro de Abreu, started to pursue this style as well. This literary movement brought about some of the earliest standard works of Brazilian literature. The main aspects of romanticism at this time included nationalism and the celebration of nature. Contrasting this, around 1850, the second Romantic generation focused mainly on morbidity and death.


Another significant literary movement in Brazil was the Realism period. Many social changes occurred in the middle of the 19th century. With this came the downfall of Romanticism. After this, a new kind of prose writing started. It involved the study of the native people of Brazil and explained the environment in great detail. Some of the regionalist authors who took on this style were Franklin Távora and Joo Simões Lopes Neto. Brazilian Realism was not thought to be a very innovative idea for literature. In spite of this, it became very significant because of influential writers like Machado de ssis and Euclides da Cunha.

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