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Luís Jardim

Date Born.:

Writer, painter.

Luís Jardim

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 27/09/2013

By: Virginia Barbosa - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Luís Jardim knew how to unite in the pages of his memoirs [Meu Pequeno Mundo - (My Little World)] the pleasure of drawing, his inclination for lyrics and the theatrical talent to imitate his peers.
Josué Montello

Recognised by many intellectuals as a towering figure in Brazilian literature, and also sometimes as designer, Luis Inácio de Miranda Jardim, son of Manuel Antônio de Azevedo Jardim and Angélica Aurora de Miranda Jardim, was born in the city of Garanhuns, Pernambuco, on 8 December 1901.

His early studies were in his hometown at a private school called Literary Guild Raul Pompéia. At the age of 13, he abandoned school because he was a very sickly child: he suffered paratyphoid fever and beriberi, among other ailments.

It was also in its infancy, from the age of nine, that Luís Jardim began drawing, encouraged by his uncles Argemiro and Souza. At first, his drawings were in black, but later his father bought a box of crayons, and Jardim begun to draw in colour.

His move to Recife is associated with the famous hecatomb of Garanhuns *, on 15 January 1917, when his entire family was murdered. In 1918, he moved to Recife because it was said in Garanhuns that even children from families Miranda and Jardim would be killed.

Arriving in Recife, he was enchanted by the beauty of the city: “two rivers in the service of a city, facing the ocean. Those bridges, the flat city [...] Aurora Street was a joy [...] the pier [...] Boa Viagem beach, gentle, beautiful [...].” However, he considered Recife to be a city “uncared for and whose people are not interested, or are without great enthusiasm for their city [...], the mayors have never taken advantage of the natural charm of the city.”

In the capital of Pernambuco, Luis Jardim worked at the house of Mr Elpidio Gondim as a janitor. It was in this house that Jardim met an English teacher who advised him to resume his grammatical studies of the Portuguese language, the basic requirement for learning English, which he so much desired. He followed the given advice, and after much effort and sacrifice, managed not only to read, but to speak the English language. Parallel to this, Luis Jardim read every book that came to him and continued drawing.

Luis Jardim had his first drawings published in the North Magazine, a periodical run by José Maria de Albuquerque Melo, and in the newspaper A Província. Among many books he illustrated, the Guia Prático Histórico e Sentimental da Cidade do Recife (Sentimental and Historic Practical Guide of the City of Recife) by Gilberto Freyre can be highlighted.

At the time he lived in Recife, he attended the group of the Lafayette Corner, in which Osório Borba and Joaquim Cardozo participated.

He went to Rio de Janeiro under the influence of Gilberto Freyre, who encouraged him to do an exhibition of his works in watercolour, and never left.

Later he enrolled in the Children’s Literary Competition of the Ministry of Education (1937) where he received the first two places with stories about national folklore O Boi Aruá (The Ox Aruá) – a book that Monteiro Lobato considered “the most beautiful of its kind written in Brazil” – and O Tatu e o Macaco (The Armadillo and the Monkey). In 1940 they were published with illustrations, and in 1942 they were published in English by a New York publisher. In the short story competition for the Humberto de Campos Prize in 1938, he beat writer Graciliano Ramos – who competed with the first version of Sagarana – with his short story book Maria Perigosa (Dangerous Mary), and with this award he won over Rio de Janeiro.

Being a self-taught writer since his move to Recife, and due to his success in competitions, Luis Jardim, already at a mature age, advised in his lectures: “boys and girls [...] you can learn [also ] without a teacher. Books are silent teachers, so you never leave the book aside, no. It is what prepares us for life, what we will be later, the significance of what we have and everything else [...]. books can do that for anyone.”
Besides being a writer, designer, painter, Luís Jardim was a translator of the Hindu poem Nala and Damayanti and of Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman, which was performed later by the Jaime Costa Company.

The Brazilian Academy of Letters awarded Luís Jardim with the Claudio de Souza Award, theatre category, in 1958 for his play Isabel do Sertão (Isabel from the Hinterland), and with the Monteiro Lobato Prize for Children's Literature in 1968, for As Proezas do Menino Jesus (The Exploits of the Child Jesus).

In 1971, he published Aventuras do Menino Chico de Assis (The Adventures of the Child Francis of Assisi), and in 1977, Façanhas do Cavalo Voador (Deeds of the Flying Horse) and Outras Façanhas do Cavalo Voador (Other Deeds of the Flying Horse) which brings together mythological figures, animals, forests and things from Brazil.

He was an employee of the Institute of Sugar and Alcohol, of the National Historical and Artistic Heritage, of publisher José Olympio and also editor of several newspapers in Rio de Janeiro and other states.

Luís Jardim died in Rio de Janeiro on 1 January 1987.

Some publications:

Maria Perigosa (Dangerous Mary) (short stories, 1938)
As Confissões do meu tio Gonzaga (Confessions of my Uncle Gonzaga) (romance, novel, 1949)
O meu pequeno mundo (My Little World) (1977)
O ajudante de mentiroso (The Liar's Helper) (1980)

Children’s and Youth Books:

O Tatu e o macaco (The Armadillo and the Monkey) (1937)
O Boi Aruá (The Ox Aruá) (1937)
Proezas do Menino Jesus (The Exploits of the Child Jesus) (1968)
Aventuras do menino Chico de Assis (The Adventures of the Child Francis of Assisi) (1971)
Façanhas do Cavalo Voador (Deeds of the Flying Horse) (1978)
Novas Façanhas do Cavalo Voador (New Deeds of the Flying Horse) (1978)

Theatre Play:

Isabel from the Hinterland (in three acts) (1958)

Illustrations in books:

Guia de Ouro Preto (Ouro Preto Guide) by Manuel Bandeira.

Riacho Doce (‘Sweet Creek’), Menino de Engenho (Plantation Boy) and most of the books of José Lins do Rego

Olinda: 2º Guia Prático, Histórico e Sentimental de cidade brasileira (Olinda: 2nd Historic and Sentimental Practical Guide of a Brazilian City) by Gilberto Freyre.

Guia Prático, Histórico e Sentimental da Cidade do Recife (Sentimental and Historic Practical Guide of the City of Recife) by Gilberto Freyre.

Aparência do Rio de Janeiro: notícia histórica e descritiva da cidade (Rio de Janeiro Appearance: historic and descriptive news from the city) by Gastão Cruls.

Santa Catarina de Sena: sua ação e seu ambiente (St Catherine of Siena: her deeds and her environment) by Carolina Nabuco (cover).

O Quinze (The Fifteen) by Raquel de Queiroz.

Um Besouro Contra a Vidraça (A Bug Against the Pane) by J. G. de Araújo Jorge (cover).
Quando vem baixando o crepúsculo...(When Twilight Comes...) by Olegario Marianno (cover).


* In 1917, Captain Francisco Sales Vila Nova shot and killed Júlio Brasileiro, representative of Garanhuns in the State Legislature. Captain Vila Nova, previously, had been threatened and humiliated by Júlio and his allies for political reasons and misunderstandings, culminating in the murder of the captain and of several people from the Miranda and Jardim families, at the behest of Júlio’s widow, Ana Duperron. “Hideous crimes were committed, people were beheaded, many within the jail, where they were placed to escape the vengeance. After the murders committed by supporters of Colonel Vila Nova, many people involved in these crimes were also killed and for a long time the city had to live with the war provoked by the lone gesture of Sales Vila Nova.”

Recife, 21 December 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.

sources consulted

DANTAS, Maria da Paz Ribeiro. Luís Jardim: ficção e vida. Recife: Fundarpe, 1989. (Biblioteca Comunitária de Pernambuco; ensaio, 1).

FONSECA, Yara Vidal. Centenário de nascimento de Murilo Mendes, Alcântara Machado, Luís Jardim. Rio de Janeiro; [s. n.], 2001.

FONSECA, Edson Nery da (Org.). Imagem e texto: homenagem ao pintor e escritor Luís Jardim. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 1985. 54 p. Il. (Documentos; Fundaj; 27).

PROFESSOR escreve livro sobre a hecatombe. Disponível em:. Acesso em: 17 dez. 2010.

how to quote this text

Source: BARBOSA, Virgínia. Luís Jardim. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009