Erico Verissimo

Erico Verissimo is a quiet giant of Brazilian literature. He grew from a well-behaved child and attentive student into a prolific author, editor and critic without any public pomposity or media spotlight. At the age of 10 Erico created a magazine titled ‘Caricature’ complete with hand-drawn pictures, captions and articles—a sign of his future career as a respected magazine editor. At thirteen, Erico Verissimo was already a precocious reader racing through the works of national authors like Aluisio Azevedo and Joaquim Manuel de Macedo and foreign writers such as Walter Scott, Émile Zola, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

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Transcriptions of Euclides da Cunha and Machado de Assis date from his teenage years, as well as the beginning of a lifelong fascination with classical music.

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Érico Veríssimo

 

In 1929 Verissimo’s first text, Chico: A Christmas Carol, was published in the monthly magazine Cruz Alta em Revista, in his home town. Subsequently, his friend Manuelito de Ornelas sent his short-stories Ladrão de Gado (The Cattle Thiev) and A Tragédia dum Homem Gordo (The Tragedy of a Fat Man) to the publisher of Globo Magazine, in Porto Alegre. Furthermore, the newspaper Correio do Povo published the short story A Lâmpada Mágica (The Magic Lamp).

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In 1938, Erico Verissimo published his first work to national and international critical acclaim—Olhai os Lírios do Campo (Behold the Lilies of the Field), which was translated for readers as far apart as England and Indonesia.

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In 1947, Erico Verissimo wrote his masterpiece, the trilogy O Tempo e o Vento (The Time and the Wind). The first volume, O Continente (The Continent) was published in 1949 and marked the most important moment of his career. In this book can be found some of Versissimo’s most memorable characters, such as Ana Terra and Capitão Rodrigo Cambará.

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Erico Veríssimo

 

Two main actorsIn 1950, Verissimo wrote the second volume of The Time and the Wind, entitled O Retrato (The Portrait). The author described it as literarily inferior to The Continent—an opinion numerous critics agreed with—but in 1952 he continued on to attempt to complete the trilogy nonetheless.

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However, writers block ruined Verissimo’s inspiration and he published Noite (Night) in 1954 instead, a work that went on to garner rave reviews internationally. He was awarded the Machado de Assis prize by the Brazilian Academy of Letters in recognition of this achievement.

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