Brazil from the Turtle Island Book Shop
Brazilian works from Turtle Island Book Shop.
By Michael Stillman
The Turtle Island Book Shop has issued a catalogue of Recent Acquisitions: Brazil. For anyone who collects Braziliana or Brasiliana (are those real words?), this catalogue will provide some interesting opportunities. There are 73 items, mostly in either the country's native language of Portuguese, or English (plus a German and a French), pertaining to South America's largest and most populous country. While the rest of that continent and Latin America speak Spanish, Brazil, long a Portuguese colony, remains the one exception. Here are some items you will find in the Turtle Island catalogue.
Item 12 is two items bound in one volume. The first is Dialogos Das Grandezas Do Brasil, by Ambrosio Brandao. This is a 1930 first printing of the new edition of Brandao's 1618 account of Brazil. The author's text is presented as a dialogue discussing the opportunities for merchants and colonists in the backwoods of Brazil, as well as describing the plants and animals, minerals and agriculture of this vast land. The second title is Viage, Ao Brasil, by Hans Staden. This is the first Portuguese language edition of the German's 1557 voyage to Brazil. Staden was an adventurer who signed on to a couple of Brazilian voyages in the mid-16th century. On the second one, his ship went down, and the survivors were forced to make their way to land. They set up shop in Sao Marco, but on a hunting trip, Staden was captured by Tupinamba Indians. It is never good for Europeans to be captured by natives, but even more so when those natives practice cannibalism. As a foreign invader, Staden was toast, or more specifically, dinner. However, he supposedly convinced the Indians that his Gods disapproved of their cooking him when many fell ill (probably from diseases brought by Europeans). Some question the total accuracy of Staden's account. Priced at $175.
For a more traditional history of early Brazil, there is Historia Do Brasil. As Origens 1500-1600, by Pedro Calmon. This 1939 history covers the period of early exploration and colonization of the country. Item 14. $35.
The Brazilian Historical Congress, which met from September 7-16, 1914, left a complete record of its proceedings. Item 58 is the Primeiro Congresso De Historia Nacional, published form 1915-1917. It contains five volumes. They cover everything from explorations and archeology to government, diplomatic, and military institutions. $750.
Brazil from the Turtle Island Book Shop
Hans Staden (bearded) watches his hosts prepare a meal, thankful that for the moment, it is not he.
Item 25 is a biography of one of Brazil's leading figures of the twentieth century, Getulio Vargas. The book is, Vargas of Brazil. A Political Biography, by John W. Dulles. Vargas came to power in 1930, placed there after a military coup. While starting as somewhat of a moderate, he drifted steadily to the right. In 1937, with the first presidential election approaching, he dissolved Congress and seized full power. He emulated the European fascists and adopted some of the attributes of the Nazis, including anti-semitism. When war broke out, he tried to play both sides, as did Portugal and Spain during the period, but eventually sided with the allies when that appeared to best suit his interests. At war's end, however, with the nation experiencing major economic problems, the military overthrew Vargas after 15 years of rule. Nevertheless, the old dictator would make his way back in 1950 as the elected president. He served until 1954 when, with support crumbling around him, Vargas shot himself through the heart. $30.
Os Sertoes is considered to be Brazil's national epic. It recounts the rebellion in 1895 among rural followers of the messianic leader Antonio Conselheiro. Protesting new taxes levied against an impoverished rural community, Conselheiro developed a large following that would go into battle with the Brazilian military. Three times the government confidently sent forces into the countryside to defeat the rebels, and each time they were routed. For two years, they steadfastly held the soldiers at bay. It was not until the fourth attack was launched, a few weeks after Conselheiro died of a fever, that the rebellion was put down. The book was written by a member of that invading force, Euclides da Cunha. Item 20 is a copy of the first English translation of this epic, Rebellion in the Backlands, published in 1944. $200.
Flagrantes Do Brasil, by Jean Manzon, presents 200 photographs of Brazil from the 1950s. They show the coastal cities and inland territories, and the various cultures of Brazil. Text and captions are provided in both English and Portuguese. Item 44. $55.
Turtle Island Book Shop is located in Berkeley, California, and may be reached at 510-655-3413 or by email at Rwturtleisland@aol.com.