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Alvaro Lins

Date Born.:

Lawyer, Journalist, Teacher, Literary critic


Alvaro Lins

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 27/09/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Alvaro Lins – an exemplary intellectual
For his literary value and dignified
political behaviour.

Cláudio de Araújo Lima

Álvaro de Barros Lins, the son of Pedro AlexandrinoLins and Francisca de Barros Lins, was born in Caruaru, Pernambuco, on 14 December 1912.
He attended primary school in his hometown and secondary school in Recife, at Colégio Salesiano and Father Felix Gymnasium. He enrolled in the University of Recife’s Faculty of Lawin 1931, graduating in 1935.

At twenty years of age, he produced his first cultural work for a conference he delivered as representative of the Directory of Students, at the opening ceremonyfor the Facultyof Law’sschool year.This work was entitled The University as a School of Public Men. He was professor of General Geography and History of Civilization at the Gymnasium of Recife, Nóbrega College, the Institute of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and at Pinto Junior Normal School, from 1932 to 1940.

In October 1934, invited by the interventor and later Pernambuco governor Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti, he became Secretary of the State Government. In 1936 he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of Pernambuco to run for a seat inthe House of Representatives. However, the elections were the suspended by the1937 coup that established the Estado Novo (New State). Álvaro Linsresigned his Secretary of Government post in November 1937 and abandoned his political plans.

He then dedicated himself to journalism, working as writer and director of the Diário da Manhã, in Recife (1937-1940). He wrote his first book at the age of 25: História literária de Eça de Queiroz (Literary History of Eça de Queiroz), launched in 1939 with an introduction written by OsórioBorba.
In 1939 and 1940, he was a contributor to the Suplemento Literário do Diário de Notícias(Literary Supplement of the Daily News) andDiários Associados(Daily Associates). He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1940, working as a literary critic, director of the Literary Supplement, editor in chief and political leader of the Correio da Manhã(Morning Post), from 1940 to 1956. He was invited bythe Foreign Ministry to write a biography of the Baron of Rio Branco, including a diplomatic study and an historical context of the time (1940). In November 1941, he assumed the post of Professor (acting) at the Colégio Pedro II, becoming a permanentprofessor of literature from December 1951 due to his 1st place in the tests and titles competition.

He was Government Delegate, Secretary and Vice-President of UNESCO in Brazil, from 1946 to 1952, and Chair Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Lisbon’sFaculty of Philosophy and Letters, on official mission fromthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil (1952 to 1954).

In August 1954, Álvaro Lins returned to Brazil, resuming hisjournalistic activities and the chair of literature at the Colégio Pedro II. With the death of Edgar Roquette-Pinto, he was unanimously elected in 1955 to fill the chair number 17 of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL).

Invited by President Juscelino Kubitscheck, he headed the House of the President of the Republic from January to November 1956, stepping down to become the Brazilian ambassador to Portugal. That same year, he received the highest Brazilian award: the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit. In 1957, he won the highest Portuguese award, the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ, and was elected member of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon.

Álvaro Lins’political positions, however, conflicted with the Salazar dictatorship and the colonialism sustained by it. He disagreed with some decisions taken by the Brazilian government and broketieswith PresidentJuscelinoKubitschek, accusing the government policy of being complicit to dictators, especially those of Portugal, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic. In 1959 he was discharged from the embassy in Portugal, and returnedthe award hehad received to the Portuguese government.

On his return to Brazil,he resumed his professor’schair. He chaired the 1st Inter-American Amnesty for Political Prisoners and Exiles from Spain and Portugal, held at the São Paulo Law School in 1960. That year, he won the Prêmio Jabuti (TortoiseAward)– Personality of the Year, from the Brazilian Book Chamber, for his bookMissão em Portugal(Portugal Mission),in which he reported his experience at the embassy in Lisbon.

From 1961 to 1964, he directed the Literary Supplement of the Diário deNotícias. In 1962, he headed the Brazilian delegation to the World Peace Congress, held in Moscow. In the last years of his life he devoted himself to writing books.

Álvaro Lins also received the Antero de QuentalCentennial Award for his essayPoesia e personalidade de Antero de Quental (Poetry and Personality of Antero de Quental) (1942); theFelipe de Oliveira Awardfrom the Felipe de Oliveira Society, and the PandiaCalógeras Awardfrom the Brazilian Association of Writers for his work Rio Branco (1945); and the Luiza Claudio de Souza Award for his works Osmortos de sobrecasaca (The Dead in Frock Coats)and Jornal de crítica - Sétimasérie(Journal of criticism - Seventh Series) (1963).

He published, among others, the following works:

A universidade como escola de homens públicos(The University as a School of Public Men)(1933)
História literária de Eça de Queiroz (Literary History ofEça de Queiroz)(1939)
Alguns aspectos da decadência do Império(Some Aspects of the Decay of the Empire)(1939)
Jornal de crítica: primeira série(JournalofCriticism: firstseries)(1941)
Poesia e personalidade de Antero de Quental(PoetryandPersonalityof Antero de Quental)(1942)
Jornal de crítica:segunda série(JournalofCriticism: second series)(1943)
Notas de um diário de crítica – Primeiro volume (Notes on a Daily critique - first volume)(1943)
Palestra sobre José Veríssimo(Lecture on José Veríssimo) (1943)
Jornal de crítica:terceira série(Journal of Criticism: third series)(1944)
Rio Branco (O Barão do Rio Branco: 1845-1912) (Rio Branco (The Baron of Rio Branco: 1845-1912))(1945)
Jornal de crítica: quarta série(Journal of Criticism: fourthseries)(1946)
No mundo do romance policial(In the World of the Detective Novel)(1947)
Jornal de crítica: quinta série (Journal of Criticism: fifth series)(1947)
Jornal de crítica: sexta série(Journal of Criticism: sixth series)(1951)
A técnica do romance em Marcel Proust(The Technique of the Novel in Marcel Proust)(1951)
Roteiro literário do Brasil e de Portugal:antologia da língua portuguesa(Literary Script of Brazil and Portugal: an anthology of Portuguese Language)(1956)
Discurso sobre Camões e Portugal (Ensaio histórico-literário)(Discourse on Camões and Portugal (A historical and literary Essay))(1956)
Discurso de posse na Academia (Estudo sobre Roquette-Pinto) (Speech at the Academy (Study on Roquette-Pinto))(1956)
Missão em Portugal:diário de uma experiência diplomática - I(Mission in Portugal: AJournal of Diplomatic Experience – I)(1960)
A glória de César e o punhal de Brutus(The Glory of Caesar and the Dagger of Brutus)(1962)
Os mortos de sobrecasaca(The Dead in Frock Coats)(1963)
O relógio e o quadrante(The Clock and the Quadrant)(1963)
Girassol em vermelho e azul(Sunflower inRed and Blue)(1963)
Dionísios nos trópicos(Dionisios in the Tropics)(1963)
Jornal de crítica: sétima série(Journal of Criticism: seventh series)(1963)
Jornal de crítica: oitava série(Journal of criticism: eighth series)(1963)
Notas de um diário de crítica – Segundo volume (Notes on a Daily Critique - second volume)(1963)
Literatura e vida literária(Literature and Literary Life)(1963)
Sagas literárias e teatro moderno no Brasil(Literary Sagas and Modern Theatre in Brazil)(1967)
Filosofia, história e crítica na literatura brasileira (Philosophy, History and Criticism in Brazilian Literature)(1967)
Poesia moderna no Brasil(Modern Poetry in Brazil)(1967)
O romance brasileiro(The Brazilian Novel)(1967)
Teoria literária(Literary Theory)(1967)

Álvaro Lins was married to Heloísa Ramos Lins, with whom he had two sons. He died in Rio de Janeiro, on 4 June 1970.

Recife, 24 May 2005.
(updated on 20 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012

sources consulted

ÁLVARO Lins. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 29 abr. 2005.

 ________. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 28 abr. 2005.

LINS, Álvaro. Literatura e vida literária: notas de um Diário de crítica. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1963. Orelha.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Álvaro Lins. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.