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Artur Azevedo

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Storyteller, Playwright, Poet, Journalist

Artur Azevedo

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 18/07/2017

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Storyteller, playwright, poet and journalist, Arthur Nabantino Gonçalves de Azevedo was born in São Luís, Maranhão, on 7 July 1855, to David Gonçalves de Azevedo, vice-consul of Portugal in São Luís, and EmiliaAmália Pinto de Magalhães.

Since childhood,he showed an aptitude for the theatre, playing with adaptations of texts and writing plays that he performed himself.

He wrote his first play, Amor por Anexins(Love for Anexins), in 1872, which was a great success with the public. He also wrote several comedies that were staged in theatres in São Luís.

He worked in commerce and in the provincial administration, from where he was dismissed for publishing satires against government officials. After his dismissal, he underwent a public contest for Treasury clerk, beingclassified and moving to Rio de Janeiro, where he obtained a job at the Ministry of Agriculture in 1873.

He also worked in Rio as a Portuguese teacher at the PinheiroCollege. But it was in journalism that he built his career as a storyteller and playwright.

He worked at several Rio newspapers, among them, O País, Correio da Manhã, Diário de Notícias, O SéculoandA Notícia,where he wrote theatrereviews (The Theatre serial), and create literary publications, such as the magazines O Domingo, Revista dos Teatros, A Gazetinha, Vida ModernaandO Álbum.

He was a collaborator at the A Estação, along with Machado de Assis, and also at the newspapersO Mequetrefeand Novidades.

He wrote thousands of articles, mostly about the theatre, using various pseudonyms, includingElói o Herói (Ely the Hero), Gavroche, Petrônio, Cosimo, Juvenal, Dorante, FrivolinoandBatista o Trocista (Baptiste the Pranker).

He was a staunch abolitionist, advocating the abolition of slavery in newspaper articles and plays like O Liberatoand A família Salazar(The Salazar family). The latter, in partnership with Urban Duarte, was banned by the Empire’scensorship, and later published under the title of the O escravocrata(The Enslaver).

He ran the Revista do Teatro(Theatre Magazine), alongside Lopes Cardoso, and was largely responsible for creating the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre, whose inauguration on 14July 1909 he could not attend, havingdied the year before.

A contemporary of OlavoBilac and Coelho Neto, along with his brother Aluisio de Azevedo, he was a founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, creating the chair No. 29, whose patron is Martins Pena.

He translated and adapted French comediesin the beginning of his theatrical activities. Akeen observer of the habits of the then-capital of the Republic, both in storytelling and in the theatre, he wrote about daily life in Rio, portraying marital relationships, families, festive and funeral ceremonies, and home and street events, narrating and commenting on the life of Rio de Janeiro at the timein a malicious and ironic way. His work portrayed the customs of Brazilian society in the late Empire and early Republic.

He is the author of comedies, operettas and burletas (humorous farces, usually musical), which dominated the Brazilian theatrical scene in the late nineteenth century. There are about one hundred pieces of various genres, staged in Brazilian and Portuguese theatres. Even today, plays such as A jóia (The Jewel), A capital federal (The Federal Capital)andO mambembe (The RicketyTheatre)are still being performed on several stages.

Arthur Azevedo also devoted himself to poetry, and is considered one of the greatest playwrights in the Parnassian’s genre, for short stories and musical theatre.

From his work, the following stand out, by genre:


Amor por anexins(Love for Anexins)(1872); A filha de Maria Angu(The Daughter of Maria Angu)(1876); Uma véspera de Reis(An Epiphany’s Eve)(1876); Jóia(Jewel)(1879); O Mandarim(The Mandarin)(in collaboration with Moreira Sampaio, a compilation ofO LiberatoandA família Salazar, 1884); Cocota (1885, in partnershipwithMoreira Sampaio); O Bilontra(The Crook) (written with Moreira Sampaio, 1886); Mercúrio(Mercury)(1886); O Carioca (in collaboration withMoreira Sampaio, 1887); O Barão de Pitaçu(The Baron of Pitaçu)(operetta, 1887); O Homem(The Man)(in partnership with Moreira Sampaio, 1887); A almanjarra (1888); FritzmacandDona Sebastiana (both in partnership withAluísio de Azevedo, 1888 e 1889, respectively); A República(The Republic)(in partnership withAluísio de Azevedo, 1890); Viagem ao Parnaso(Journey to Parnassus)(1890); O Tribofe (1892); O Major (1894); A Fantasia (1895); Capital Federal (1897); O Jagunço(The Gangster)(1898); Gavroche (1898); Comeu! (He Ate It!) (1901); O retrato a óleo(The Oil Portrait)(1902); O mambembe(The Rickety Theatre)(1904); Guanabara (with Gastão Bousquet, 1905); O dote (TheDowry)(1907); O ano que passa(The Passing Year)(1907); O oráculo(The Oracle)(1956) andTeatro (Theatre) (1983), both posthumous.


Carapuças (poetry, 1871); Sonetos(Sonnets)(1876); O Rio de Janeiro (with Lino d’Assumpção, 1877); Um dia de finados(All Souls Day)(satire, 1877); Tal qual como lá(Just Like There)(with França Júnior, 1879); Contos possíveis(Possible Tales) (1889); Contos fora da moda(TalesOut of Fashion)(1894); Contos efêmeros(Ephemeral Tales)(1897); Contos em verso(Tales in Verse)(1898); Rimas (Rhymes)(poetry, 1909); Contos cariocas(Tales from Rio)(1928); Vida Alheia(Life of Others)(1929); Histórias brejeiras (1962); Contos(Tales) (1973).


Arthur Azevedo died in the city of Rio de Janeiro, on 22 October 1908.


Recife, july 27, 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.
Updated july 18, 2017.

sources consulted

ARTUR Azevedo [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 17 jul. 2017.

A BIBLIOTECA virtual de literatura. Disponível em:<>. Acesso em: 22 jul. 2010.

BIOGRAFIA: Arthur Azevedo. Disponível em:<>. Acesso em: 23 jul. 2010.

BIOGRAFIAS de autores: Arthur  Azevedo. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 23 jul. 2010.

MIGUEL-PEREIRA, Lucia. História de literatura brasileira. 2. ed. rev. Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio, 1957.  (Documentos brasileiros, 63)

TEATRO de revista: Arthur Azevedo e sua obra. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 23 jul. 2010.

VERÍSSIMO, José. História da literatura Brasileira: de Bento Teixeira (1601) a Machado de Assis (1908). Rio de Janeiro: Francisco Alves, 1916

how to quote this text

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