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Afrânio Peixoto

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Death Date:

Doctor, Educator, Writer



Afrânio Peixoto

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 03/06/2022

By: Virginia Barbosa - Librarian at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - Specialist in Librarianship and History

For those who had the privilege of knowing him, as I did, in a long, almost daily relationship, there were two Afrânios: one who transferred himself to his books; and another one, who was not apart from Afrânio himself, and who accompanied him to salons, street meetings, conferences and classrooms. The second was undoubtedly larger than the first. Because books could not capture and keep all the gliterring intelligence of the Bahian master, who shone brightly in the improvisation of a lecture or a conversation. (MONTELLO quoted by VENÂNCIO FILHO, 2007, p. 8).


The doctor, educator and writer from Bahia Júlio Afrânio Peixoto, son of Francisco Afrânio Peixoto and Virgínia de Morais Peixoto, was born in the city of Lençois, state of Bahia, on December 17, 1876.

In 1885, his family moved to Canavieiras. From there, Afrânio left for the capital of Bahia where, at the age of 21, he graduated in Medicine (1897), as a laureate student.

His thesis, entitled Epilepsy and Crime, drew the attention of part of the medical society in the country and abroad and was republished in 1898, with a preface by Nina Rodrigues and Juliano Moreira – one of the pioneers of Brazilian psychiatry.

An invitation from Dr. Juliano Moreira took Afrânio to Rio de Janeiro. At that time, the early 20th century, he had already written Rosa Mística , a drama in five acts.

In the country’s capital (RJ), he held positions and functions in the area of health and education: Inspector of Public Health (1902), Director of the Hospital Nacional de Alienados (1904); professor of Legal Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine (1907); Director of the Normal School (1915) and of Public Instruction (1916); professor of History of Education at the Institute of Education (1932); director of the University of the Federal District (1935).

Alongside these activities, Afrânio Peixoto continued to write. On May 7, 1910, he was elected to occupy the number 7 chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, succedding Euclides da Cunha, and he took office on August 14, 1911. In the same year he wrote the novel A Esfinge, inspired by his impressions when he visited Egypt. The publication was a huge success and afforded the author a relevant position among Brazilian fiction writers.

Between 1914 and 1922 he wrote a trilogy of novels from the sertaneja series: Maria Bonita, Fruto do Mato and Bugrinha. Later, in 1929, he published Sinhazinha. There are records of the places where Afrânio spent his childhood: Lençois (diamond-bearing district) and Canavieiras (cacao zone).

At the Academy he was very prolific. He was part of the following Commissions: Writing of the Revista da Academia (1911-1920); Bibliography (1918); and Lexicography (1920 and 1922), in addition to serving as President (7 December 1922 to 20 December 1923). In this last year, he started the academic publications called National Culture Collection, in which he promoted the publication of several important volumes. Prosopopéia, by Bento Teixeira; A Música do Parnaso, the works by Gregório de Matos, Compêndio Narrativo do Peregrino da América, Uraguai, by Basílio da Gama (commemorative edition of the second centenary), Poesias, by José Bonifácio, Uma Página de Escola Realista, a drama by Castro Alves, the work of Machado de Assis Queda que as Mulheres Têm pelos Tolos, Os Túmulos, by Visconde de Pedra Branca and Florilégio da Poesia Brasileira, by Varnhagen, in three volumes, annotated edition by Rodolfo Garcia.

In 1931, the National Culture Collection was renamed the Afrânio Peixoto Collection, in honor of its creator and director.

Main works: Rosa mística, drama (1900); Lufada sinistra, novel (1900); A esfinge, novel (1911); Maria Bonita, novel (1914); Minha terra e minha gente, históry (1915); Poeira da estrada, criticism (1918); Trovas brasileiras (1919); José Bonifácio, o velho e o moço, biography (1920); Fruta do mato, novel (1920); Castro Alves, o poeta e o poema (1922); Bugrinha, novel (1922); Dicionário dos Lusíadas, filology (1924); Arte poética, assay (1925); As razões do coração, novel (1925); Camões e o Brasil, criticism (1926); Uma mulher como as outras, novel (1928); História da literatura brasileira (1931); Panorama da literatura brasileira (1940); Pepitas, assay (1942); Obras completas (1942); Obras literárias, ed. Jackson, 25 vols. (1944); Romances completos (1962). He also published numerous books on medicine, history, speeches, prefaces.

Afrânio Peixoto died in Rio de Janeiro on January 12, 1947.




Recife, November 22, 2012.

sources consulted

AFRÂNIO Peixoto. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 22 nov. 2012.

AFRÂNIO Peixoto [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 21 nov. 2012.

AFRÂNIO Peixoto.  In: GRANDE ENCICLOPÉDIA LAROUSSE CULTURAL. São Paulo: Larousse; Nova Cultural, 1998. v. 18, p. 4518.

ODA, Ana Maria Galdini Raimundo; DALGALARRONDO, Paulo. Juliano Moreira: um psiquiatra negro frente ao racismo científico. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, São Paulo, v. 22, n. 4, dez. 2000. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 16 nov. 2012.

VENÂNCIO FILHO, Alberto. Afrânio Peixoto. Conferência pronunciada em 27 de março de 2007 na Academia Brasileira de Letras, no ciclo Presidentes da ABL. Disponível em: . Acesso em 19 nov. 2012.

how to quote this text

BARBOSA, Virgínia. Afrânio Peixoto. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2012. Available from: Access on: dia mês ano. (Ex.: 6 ago. 2020.)