Academia Brasileira de Letras (ABL) (Portuguese pronunciation: [akadeˈmiɐ bɾaziˈlejɾɐ dʒi ˈletɾɐs] (listen) English: Brazilian Academy of Letters) is a Brazilian literary non-profit society established at the end of the 19th century by a group of 40 writers and poets inspired by the Académie Française. The first president, Machado de Assis, declared its foundation on December 15, 1896, with the by-laws being passed on January 28, 1897. On July 20 of the same year, the academy started its operation.
According to its statutes, the Brazilian Academy of Letters is charged with the care of the "national language" of Brazil (the Portuguese language) and with the promotion of Brazilian literary arts. The academy is considered the foremost institution devoted to the Portuguese language in Brazil. Its prestige and technical qualification gives it paramount authority in Brazilian Portuguese, even though it's not a public institution and no law grants it oversight over the language. The academy's main publication in this field is the Orthographic Vocabulary of the Portuguese Language (Vocabulário Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa) which has five editions. The Vocabulary is prepared by the academy's Commission on Lexicology and Lexicography. If a word is not included in the Vocabulary, it is considered not to exist as a correct word in Brazilian Portuguese.
Since its beginning and to this day, the academy is composed of 40 members, known as the "immortals". These members are chosen from among citizens of Brazil who have published works or books with recognized literary value. The position of "immortal" is awarded for the lifetime. New members are admitted by a vote of the academy members when one of the "chairs" become vacant. The chairs are numbered and each has a Patron: the Patrons are 40 great Brazilian writers that were already dead when the academy was founded; the names of the Patrons were chosen by the Founders as to honour them post mortem by assigning patronage over a chair. Thus, each chair is associated with its current holder, her or his predecessor, the original Founder who occupied it in the first place, and also with a Patron.
The academicians use formal gala gilded uniforms with a sword (the uniform is called "fardão") when participating in official meetings at the academy.
|Academia Brasileira de Letras|
|Motto||Ad immortalitatem (To immortality)|
|Formation||20 July 1897|
|Headquarters||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Geraldo Holanda Cavalcanti|
The initiative to establish the Academy was taken by Lúcio de Mendonça and was realised in preparatory meetings that began on 15 December 1896, under the presidency of Machado de Assis. The statuses of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and the membership of the 40 founding fathers were approved at these meetings, on 28 January 1897. On 20 July of the same year, the inaugural session was held at the Pedagogium's facility in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.
Without appointed headquarters or financial resources, the solemn meetings of the academy were held at the hall of the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, at the premises of the former National Gymnasium and at the Noble Hall of the Ministry of the Interior. The joint sessions were held at the law firm of Rodrigo Octávio, the Academy's first secretary's, at Quitanda Street, 47.
In 1904, the academy obtained the left wing of the Brazilian Silogeo, a governmental building that housed other cultural institutions. It remained there until moving to its own headquarters in 1923.
In 1923, thanks to the initiative of its president at the time, Afrânio Peixoto and of the then-French ambassador, Raymond Conty, the French government donated the French Pavillion building to the Academy. The building had been built for the Independence of Brazil's Centenary International Exposition by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, between 1762 and 1768 and was a replica of the Petit Trianon of Versailles.
These facilities have been inscribed as Brazilian Cultural heritage since 9 November 1987 by the State Institute of Cultural Heritage (INEPAC), of the Municipal Secretary of Culture of Rio de Janeiro. To the present day, its halls continue to host regular meetings, solemn sessions, commemorative meetings and inauguration sessions of the new academics, as well as the traditional Thursdays' tea. They are also open to the public for guided tours or for special cultural programs, such as chamber music concerts, book launches, conference cycles and theatre plays.
In the buildings' first floor hall stands the decorated marble floor, a French crystal chandelier, a large white porcelain vase from Sèvres and four English bas-reliefs. Inside the building, the following premises stand out:
On the second floor, one can find the Sessions Room, the Library the Tea Room. The Tea Room is the academics' meeting point before the Plenary Session, on Thursdays. The Library is used by scholars and researchers and holds a collection of Manuel Bandeira.
During periods like the Vargas' totalitarian dictatorship or the Brazilian military government, the academy's neutrality in choosing proper members dedicated to the literary profession was compromised with the election of politicians with few or no contributions to literature, such as ex-president and dictator Getúlio Vargas in 1943. The Academy is also accused of not having defended culture expression and freedom of speech during both Vargas' Era and during the Military dictatorship. Both of these ruling periods imposed heavy censorship on Brazilian culture, including Brazilian literature.
According to its statuses, the Academy aims to promote the "culture of the national language". It comprises 40 effective and perpetual members, known as "immortals". These members are Brazilian citizens with published works of relevant literary value. Besides these members, the Academy also comprises 20 correspondent members.
All members go through a solemn session, in which dress the Academy's official garment for the first time. During the ceremony, the new member makes a speech remembering her or his predecessor and all previous members that occupied the chair.
The Academy, which was a traditionally male institution, elected its first female member on 4 November 1977 - the novelist Rachel de Queiroz. This groundbreaking election of the novelist opened the path for other female members. The academy now accounts for four women members (10% of its total membership), one of which, Nélida Piñon, served as president in 1996–97.
Thanks to revenues over $4 million a year, the academy is financially stable. It owns a skyscraper with 28 floors (Palácio Austregésilo de Athaide) in the centre of Rio, which the academy rents for office space, generating 70% of its current revenue. The rest comes from rental of other buildings, which were inherited from book editor Francisco Alves, in 1917, and from other financial investments. This comfortable situation allows the payment of a "jeton" to each academician.
The academy annually awards several literary prizes:
The academy also publishes a literary periodical, the Brazilian Review (Revista Brasileira), with quarterly editions.
The academy's main publication in this field is the Orthographic Vocabulary of the Portuguese Language (Vocabulário Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa) of which there are five editions. The Vocabulary is prepared by the academy's Commission on Lexicology and Lexicography. If a word is not included in the Vocabulary, it is considered not to exist as a correct word in Brazilian Portuguese.
The Orthographic Vocabulary, however, is not a dictionary, as it contains words and their grammatical categories, but not the definition or meaning of the words listed. Thus, unlike the French Academy, the Royal Spanish Academy and other foreign institutions dedicated to the care of a national language, the Brazilian Academy of Letters hasn't published an official dictionary. It has, however, published a School Dictionary of the Portuguese Language (Dicionário Escolar da Língua Portuguesa), with students as its target customers, in 2009.
The academy does plan to publish a full and official Dictionary. For the time being, however, other dictionaries such as the Aurélio and the Houaiss remain more prestigious than the School Dictionary, in spite of the fact that the latter is sometimes marketed by booksellers as the "ABL's Dictionary", due to its being authored by the academy. Both the Houaiss and the Aurélio Dictionaries, however, were first compiled by members of the academy Antônio Houaiss and Aurélio Buarque de Holanda Ferreira, respectively. The preparation of an official dictionary of the Portuguese language is a stated goal of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
The members of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (October 2014):
Events in the year 1936 in Brazil.Academia Pernambucana de Letras
The Academia Pernambucana de Letras (Pernambuco Academy of Letters) is a Brazilian literary society established in the manner of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, on January 26, 1901, in Recife by Carneiro Vilela and other writers from the state of Pernambuco, with a total of 20 seats. One of the first letters academies of Brazil, being surpassed only by Academia Cearense de Letras, by Academia Brasileira de Letras and Academia Paraense de Letras.Adelmar Tavares
Adelmar Tavares da Silva (Recife, February 16, 1888 – June 20, 1963 Rio de Janeiro) was a lawyer, magistrate, jurist, professor and poet from Recife. He was a member of Brazilian Societies devoted to criminology and law. As a poet he was respected with several of his poems becoming songs. In 1948 he became President of the Academia Brasileira de Letras.Adonias Filho
Adonias Aguiar Filho (November 27, 1915 – August 2, 1990) was a novelist, essayist, journalist, and literary critic from Bahia, Brazil, and a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras.Alfredo Bosi
Alfredo Bosi (São Paulo, August 23, 1936) is a Brazilian historian, literary critic, and professor. He is member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters), occupying Chair number 12. One of his most famous books is "História Concisa da Literatura Brasileira" (Brief History of Brazilian Literature), widely used in Brazilian universities in literature courses. Bosi also wrote several studies about Italian literature and about major Brazilian writers as well as essays on the field of hermeneutics.Antônio Austregésilo
Antônio Austregésilo (April 21, 1876 – December 23, 1960), was a Brazilian neurologist important to the history of the field in his nation.
Austregésilo was born in Pernambuco. He helped build the first neurological school in Rio de Janeiro. He was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and a President of the Academia Nacional de Medicina.Aníbal Machado
Aníbal Machado (December 9, 1894 – 1964) was a Brazilian writer born in Sabará, Minas Gerais. He had been the president of the Brazilian Association of Writers and received numerous awards for his novels. He was also honored by the Academia Brasileira de Letras. He is the father of playwright Maria Clara Machado.Austregésilo de Athayde
Austregésilo de Athayde (September 25, 1898 – September 13, 1993, age 94) was a writer and journalist born in Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil. His career includes being invited by Assis Chateaubriand to work at a top position at the Diários Associados. Later he became an emblematic figure for the Academia Brasileira de Letras as he served as President of the organization for 34 years.
He was active in human rights causes in Brazil. Austregésilo de Athayde died on September 13, 1993 in Rio de Janeiro at age 94.Carlos Castello Branco
Carlos Castello Branco (Teresina, June 25, 1920 – Rio de Janeiro, June 1, 1993) was a Brazilian journalist and writer. He was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and of the Academia Piauiense de Letras. The column that he maintained in the Jornal do Brasil is a landmark of political journalism. His collected papers are kept in the Archive-Museum of Brazilian Literature, part of the Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa.Carlos Heitor Cony
Carlos Heitor Cony (March 14, 1926 – January 5, 2018) was a Brazilian journalist and writer. He was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (Portuguese: Academia Brasileira de Letras).Cony viewed himself as center-leftist and faced persecution under the military government in the 1960s. Four of his works were adapted to movies. He was a columnist at the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.Colégio Marista Dom Silvério
Colégio Marista Dom Silvério, or CMDS, is a private Marist school located on the southern region of Belo Horizonte, in Brazil. Its courses go from pre-school to highscool, which in the Brazilian educational system is usually identified with ages from 4 to 17.
CMDS was founded in 1950, and hosts more than 3,000 students. Part of the school's finances were used for the seven-year-long construction of Marista Hall.
The school is named after Dom Silvério Gomes Pimenta, a Catholic priest of the early twentieth century who was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, the Brazilian Academy of Literature.
The current principal of CMDS is Professor Edison de Souza Leite.Edgar Roquette-Pinto
Edgar Roquette-Pinto (September 25, 1884 – October 18, 1954) was a Brazilian writer, ethnologist, anthropologist and physician. He was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and is regarded as the father of radio broadcasting in Brazil.Fernando Bastos de Ávila
Fernando Bastos de Ávila (March 17, 1918 – November 6, 2010) was a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest. A member of the Society of Jesus, de Ávila was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and vice-chancellor of Pontificía Universidade Católica.Humberto de Campos (journalist)
Humberto de Campos Veras (Miritiba, October 25, 1886 — Rio de Janeiro, December 5, 1934) was a Brazilian journalist, politician and writer.Júlio Afrânio Peixoto
Dr. Júlio Afrânio Peixoto (December 17, 1876 – January 12, 1947) was a Brazilian physician, writer, politician, historian, university president, and pioneering eugenicist. He held many public offices, including Brazilian congressional representative from Bahia in the federal Câmara de Deputados (federal congressman) (1924–1930), first the president of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, member of the Brazil-United States Cultural Institute, president of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, and honorary doctorates from Coimbra University and the University of Lisbon, Portugal.Luís Caetano Pereira Guimarães Júnior
Luís Caetano Pereira Guimarães Júnior (Rio de Janeiro, 17 February 1845 – Lisbon, 20 May 1898) was a Brazilian diplomat, poet, novelist and dramaturgist.
He was bachelor in the Faculdade de Direito do Recife in 1869, in the same class of the writer Araripe Júnior. His works switched from Romanticism to Parnasianism.
As a diplomat, he lived in Santiago de Chile, Roma and Lisbon, where he finally stayed and he met intellectuals such as Eça de Queiroz, Ramalho Ortigão, Guerra Junqueiro or Fialho de Almeida. He was a member and one of the founders of Academia Brasileira de Letras.Oliveira Viana
Francisco José de Oliveira Viana (June 20, 1883 – March 28, 1951) was a Brazilian professor, jurist, historian, sociologist, and an imortal of the Academia Brasileira de Letras.Vítor Viana
Vítor Viana (Rio de Janeiro, 23 December 1881 — Rio de Janeiro, 21 August 1937) was a Brazilian journalist, lawyer and historian. He was an advocate of "modern democracy" and member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras from 1935.