Jorge Amado: Brazil celebrates its master story-teller
10 August 2012
By Julia Dias Carneiro, BBC Brasil
As Brazil celebrates the centenary of his birth, Jorge Amado is remembered as one of the country's most important and best-loved writers, famous not only at home but also internationally. His vivid portrayal of his fellow countrymen and women struck a chord, and he created characters that captured the popular imagination. Amado was born in the north-eastern state of Bahia, where culture, music and religion were deeply influenced by the arrival of African slaves. His books stress Brazil's African heritage and the mixing of races that define the country's population, as positive values. Amado wrote his first novel in 1931 and by the end of the decade his stories were being published in France. Amado's foreign success was partly boosted by his politics. He was a militant communist, which helped his work reach the Soviet Union and other countries behind the Iron Curtain. However, his politics also led him into exile in 1947. He was elected to Congress but with the Cold War, the Brazilian Communist Party was banned – and his mandate revoked. He spent five years in Paris and Czechoslovakia with his wife, Zelia Gattai, travelling extensively and mixing in circles that included Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Amado's earlier books portray social injustice and are heavily influenced by his political views. He wrote the first Brazilian book with a black main character in the 1930s. Other unlikely heroes for the time followed, from a prostitute to a black caretaker who contests a white professor's racist theories in university. "He brought the ordinary man from the street to the centre of the book. He establishes him as the hero of his stories, so winning over many ordinary workers as readers." says Eduardo de Assis Duarte, author of Jorge Amado: Romance in Times of Utopia. In the 1950s, after the world became aware of the crimes of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, he abandoned communism and began a new phase in writing, with more humour and less ideology.
www.bbc.co.uk/news. Adaptado e editado.
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