Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo

Portrait of Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo

Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo was a Brazilian Romantic poet, short story writer, playwright and essayist. He is regarded as one of the major exponents of Ultra-Romanticism in Brazil. He was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 12th September 1831 and died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 25th April 1852 aged 20.

Major Works

“Lira dos Vinte Anos” (1853)
“Macário” (1855)
“Noite na Taverna” (under the pseudonym Job Stern) (1855)
“O Conde Lopo” (1886)
“O Poema do Frade” (1890)

Biography

Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo, (affectionately called “Maneco” by friends and family) was born on 12th September 1831. Sadly all his works were published posthumously due to his premature death aged 20 years due to an accident whilst out riding a horse. He was born into a wealthy family, the son of a law student called Inácio Manuel Álvares de Azevedo and Maria Luísa Azevedo (née Mota).

1833: The family move to Rio de Janeiro.

1835: His brother, Inácio Manuel Júnior,dies prematurely.

1840: He goes to the Colégio Stoll, in the Botafogo beachfront area of Rio. 

1844: He temporarily returns to São Paulo with his uncle.

1845: He goes back to Rio to the Colegio Pedro 11 where he studies, English, German and French. He develops a love for literature and reads works by Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Johann von Goethe amongst many others.

1846: He finishes his school years.

1847: He goes up to the University of São Paulo Law School. Their he meets fellow poets Jose Bonifacio the Younger (Grandnephew of the Brazilian Statesman Jose Bonifacio de Andrade e Silva) and Bernardo Guimaraes. He founds the “Sociedade Epicureia” (“Epicurean Society”) which is a bohemian collection of likeminded people. His planned work of poetry with Guimaraes “As Três Liras” (The Three Lyres) is never completed.

1849: He founds the official magazine of the Sociedade Ensaio Filosófico Paulistano. Azvedo was never in the strongest of health and he contracts tuberculosis whilst at University. HE gives up his course and moves to his grandfather’s farm in Rio in the hope that the warmer weather there would help his condition.

1852: He falls from a horse on the farm and fractures his fractured his hip. He undergoes surgery but it is unsuccessful and he dies on 25th April. He was buried the next day at the Saint John the Baptist Cemetery. Strangely one of his last poems he wrote was called “Se Eu Morresse Amanhã” (If I Died Tomorrow) This was read at his funeral by Manuel Antonio de Almeida. one of his cousins. Azevedo also wrote many letters and essays, and translated into Portuguese works by Victor Hugo, Lord Byron and William Shakespeare. Most of his only novel “O Livro de Fra. Gondicário” has been lost.