Graciliano Ramos

Graciliano Ramos de Oliveira (Portuguese pronunciation: [gɾasili'ɐ̃nu 'ʁɐ̃mus dʒi oli'vejɾa]) (October 27, 1892 – March 20, 1953) was a Brazilian modernist writer, politician and journalist. In most of his novels (more prominently in Vidas Secas) he depicts the precarious situation of the poor inhabitants of the Brazilian sertão.

Graciliano Ramos
Graciliano Ramos, 1940
Graciliano Ramos de Oliveira

October 27, 1892
DiedMarch 20, 1953 (aged 60)
Other namesFeliciano de Olivença
Almeida Cunha
OccupationNovelist, politician, journalist
Notable work
Vidas Secas, Angústia, São Bernardo, A Terra dos Meninos Pelados
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
TitleMayor of Palmeira dos Índios
Political partyBrazilian Communist Party
Spouse(s)Maria Augusta de Barros (1915–1920) (her death)
Heloísa Leite de Medeiros (1928–1953) (his death)
ChildrenMárcio Ramos (1916–1950)
Júnio Ramos (1917–1975)
Múcio Ramos (1919–1994)
Maria Ramos (1920–1980)
Ricardo Ramos (1929–1992)
Roberto Ramos (1930) [2]
Luísa Ramos (1931–)
Clara Ramos (1932–1993)
Parent(s)Sebastião Ramos de Oliveira (died 1934)
Maria Amélia Ramos (died 1943)


Graciliano Ramos de Oliveira was born in the city of Quebrangulo, in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, on October 27, 1892, to Sebastião Ramos de Oliveira and Maria Amélia Ramos. Graciliano was the oldest of the couple's 16 children.[3]

He would spend most part of his childhood travelling through different cities of Northeast Brazil. After finishing high school in Maceió, he became a collaborator of the newspaper Jornal de Alagoas in 1909, where he published a sonnet called "Céptico" under the pen name Almeida Cunha, and some other texts under many different pseudonyms. He also published texts in the magazine O Malho, under the pen name Feliciano de Olivença, and founded a short-lived periodical named Echo Viçosense in 1906.

In 1914 he moved to Rio de Janeiro, but had to return to Alagoas in September 1915, in order to live with his father, who became a salesman in the city of Palmeira dos Índios. Also in 1915, he married his first wife, Maria Augusta de Barros, having with her four children. Maria Augusta died in 1920, due to troubles during childbirth.

In 1927, Ramos was elected mayor of Palmeira dos Índios: he took office in 1928 and would abdicate his post in 1930. Mesmerized by the high literary quality of his prefecture reports, Augusto Frederico Schmidt would approach Ramos into publishing his first novel, Caetés, that Ramos started to write circa 1925. He would finish Caetés in 1930, but did not publish it until 1933. In 1928, he married his second wife, Heloísa Leite de Medeiros, having with her four more children.

From 1930 to 1936 he lived once again in Maceió. In 1934 he published the novel São Bernardo, and in the following year, he was arrested due to alleged (but never confirmed) participation in the Communist Revolt of 1935. (Graciliano wrote an account of his time in prison named Memórias do Cárcere, published a few months after his death in 1953.) After being freed from prison, he publishes with the help of associates such as José Lins do Rego his most famous novel, Angústia.

In 1938 he publishes Vidas Secas and moves definitely to Rio de Janeiro, where he became in 1945 a member of the Communist Party of Brazil. In the subsequent years, he travelled alongside his wife to countries such as France, Portugal, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Also in 1945 he published an account of his childhood years, named Infância. Beginning in 1952, Graciliano's health gradually began to decline. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and, after an unsuccessful surgery, died on March 20, 1953. His wife Heloísa would die 46 years later, in Salvador, Bahia.

Graciliano is survived by one daughter and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Graciliano described himself as an atheist, although he enjoyed reading the Bible.


Graciliano Ramos statue
Bronze sculpture of Graciliano Ramos located on the beach of Ponta Verde in Maceió, Alagoas


Children's literature

  • A Terra dos Meninos Pelados (The Naked Boys' Land) (novel — 1939)
  • Histórias de Alexandre (Alexandre's Stories) (short story book — 1944)
  • Alexandre e Outros Heróis (Alexandre and Other Heroes) (posthumous — 1962)

Short story books

  • Histórias Incompletas (Unfinished Stories) (1946)
  • Insônia (Insomnia) (1947)


  • Infância (1945)
  • Memórias do Cárcere (Memories from Incarceration) (posthumous, unfinished — 1953)
  • Viagem (Travel) (posthumous — 1954)
  • Viventes das Alagoas (Living People from Alagoas) (posthumous — 1962)


  • Linhas Tortas (Squiggly Lines) (posthumous — 1962)



  • Garranchos (Scribbles) (posthumous — 2012; collection of previously unpublished texts of different genres by Ramos, compiled by Thiago Mio Salla)

Film adaptations

Ramos had three of his works adapted to cinema:


  1. ^ Graciliano Ramos por ele mesmo Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine (in Portuguese)
  2. ^ Roberto died six months after his birth.
  3. ^ Árvore genealógica de Graciliano Ramos Archived 2014-03-28 at the Wayback Machine (in Portuguese)

External links

1892 in Brazil

Events in the year 1892 in Brazil.

1953 in Brazil

Events in the year 1953 in Brazil.


The agreste (Portuguese pronunciation: [aˈɡɾɛʃti], "countryside") is a narrow zone of Brazil in the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia between the coastal forest zona da mata and the semiarid sertão. The agreste fades out after it reaches Rio Grande do Norte due to the break of the mountain-chain that blocks air currents from the Atlantic ocean. This barrier is what induces high rainfalls in the coastal Atlantic forest zone.

Most of the agreste is hilly, its hills becoming higher at south, except near the narrow valley of São Francisco River. This land is mostly used for mixed farming, prevailing fruits, of which melons have especial importance. Like the sertão, the agreste is frequently affected by drought, though generally with less severe effects. Only some highland regions mostly in Pernambuco, where cities like Garanhuns and Triunfo are located, are able to reach temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius for a part of the year, usually coinciding with the south-American winter.


Alagoas (Portuguese pronunciation: [alɐˈɡoɐs], [ɐlɐˈɡow.wɐs]) is one of the 27 states of Brazil and is situated in the eastern part of the Northeast Region. It borders: Pernambuco (N and NW); Sergipe (S); Bahia (SW); and the Atlantic Ocean (E). It occupies an area of 27,767 km², being slightly larger than Haiti. Its capital is the city of Maceió.

It is made up of 102 municipalities and its most populous cities are Maceió, Arapiraca, Palmeira dos Índios, Rio Largo, Penedo, União dos Palmares, São Miguel dos Campos, Santana do Ipanema, Delmiro Gouveia, Coruripe, Marechal Deodoro, and Campo Alegre.

It is the second smallest Brazilian state in area (larger only than Sergipe), and with Sergipe it is sometimes called the Rhode Island of Brazil. It is 16th in population. It is also one of the largest producers of sugarcane and coconuts in the country, and has an economy based on cattle raising.

Land of the sururu (or Charru Mussel), lagoon shellfish which serves as food for the coastal population, and of coconut water, Alagoas also possesses some of the country's richest folklore.

Initially, the Alagoano territory constituted the southern part of the Captaincy of Pernambuco and only gained its autonomy in 1817. Its occupation pushed the expansion of the captaincy's sugarcane farming, which required new areas of cultivation, southward. Thus arose Porto Calvo, Alagoas (now Marechal Deodoro) and Penedo, nuclei which guided the colonization, economic, and social life of the region for a long time.

The Dutch invasion in Pernambuco was extended to Alagoas in 1631. The invaders were expelled in 1645, after intense fighting in Porto Calvo, leaving the economy in ruins.

The escape of African slaves during the Dutch invasion created a serious labour shortage problem on the sugarcane plantations. Grouped in villages called quilombos, the Africans were only completely dominated at the end of the 17th century with the destruction of the most important quilombo, Palmares.

During the empire, the separatist and republican Confederation of the Equator (1824) received the support of noteworthy Alagoano figures. Throughout the 1840s, political life was marked by the conflict between the lisos (lit. "straights", not the sexual orientation connotation), conservatives, and the cabeludos (lit. "hairies"), liberals.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Alagoano hinterland lived through the pioneering experience of Delmiro Gouveia, a Pernambucano entrepreneur who installed the Estrela thread factory, which came to produce 200 spools daily. Delmiro Gouveia was killed in October 1917 in circumstances still unclarified, after being pressured, according to rumor, to sell his factory to competing foreign firms. After his death, his machines would be destroyed and thrown into Paulo Afonso Falls.

Nicknamed the Land of the Marshals (Terra dos Marechais), for being the birthplace of Deodoro da Fonseca and Floriano Peixoto, Alagoas gave the country numerous illustrious Brazilians among whom are the anthropologist Arthur Ramos, the maestro Hekel Tavares, the philologist Aurélio Buarque de Holanda, the musicians Djavan and Hermeto Pascoal the poet Jorge de Lima, the jurists Pontes de Miranda and Marcos Bernardes de Mello, besides the writers Lêdo Ivo and Graciliano Ramos.


Angústia is a book by Graciliano Ramos that tells the life of Luís da Silva, a man very confused with his own life.

One day, he meets Marina, his new neighbour, a beautiful girl with whom he falls in love. From this point, the monotony of his life is abruptly changed for a voluntary thought about the family, the childhood and the present, when Julião Tavares, a rich man, fell in love with Marina.

Brazilian literature

Brazilian literature is the literature written in the Portuguese language by Brazilians or in Brazil, including works written prior to the country's independence in 1822. Throughout its early years, literature from Brazil followed the literary trends of Portugal, whereas gradually shifting to a different and authentic writing style in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the search for truly Brazilian themes and use of the Portuguese language.

Portuguese is a Romance dialect and the sole official language of Brazil. Lyrically, the poet Olavo Bilac, named it " (...) desconhecida e obscura./ Tuba de alto clangor, lira singela,/ Que tens o trom e o silvo da procela,/ E o arrolo da saudade e da ternura! ", which roughly translates as "(...) unknown and obscure,/ Tuba of high blare, delicate lyre,/ That holds the frill and the hiss of the tempest/ And the singing of the saudade and of the tenderness!"

Brazil's most significant literary award is the Camões Prize, which it shares with the entire Portuguese sprachraum. As of 2016, Brazil has eleven recipients of the prize. Brazil also holds its own literary academy, the Brazilian Academy of Letters, a non-profit cultural organization pointed in perpetuating the care of the national language and literature.Brazilian literature has been very prolific. Having as birth the letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha, the document that marks the discovery of Brazil, the country's literature has encompassed several significant writers. Major figures include novelists Machado de Assis, Guimarães Rosa, Jorge Amado, Clarice Lispector and Graciliano Ramos; poets such as João Cabral de Melo Neto, Mario de Andrade, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Vinicius de Moraes, Ferreira Gullar and Manuel Bandeira; dramatists like Nelson Rodrigues and Augusto Boal, and literary critics and theorists as Antonio Candido and Otto Maria Carpeaux, among others.


Buíque is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Pernambuco, mesoregion of Agreste. It has an estimated population of 53,272 in a total area of 1345,1 km2.

Drought cycle (Brazilian literature)

Drought Cycle is the name given to the "drought novels cycle," a Brazilian literary era that had as main theme the life in the Brazilian backlands.

It began with the publication of O sertanejo of José de Alencar (1876), and lasted until the first decade of the twentieth century. The main characters of the drought cycle literature are bandits, migrants and blesseds. In the cycle stand the Ceará writers.

"Os sertões was a landmark, work of sociology, literature and war story, written by Euclides da Cunha with obvious admiration for the country people, understanding their struggles against nature and protest against the contempt with which handles the federal government."Gilberto Freyre was influenced by this literary tendency. Other relevant authors are Raquel de Queirós, José Lins do Rego, Jorge Amado, Graciliano Ramos, Antônio Callado, until Guimarães Rosa.

José Lins do Rego

José Lins do Rego Cavalcanti (July 3, 1901 in Pilar Paraíba – September 12, 1957 in Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian novelist most known for his semi-autobiographical "sugarcane cycle." These novels were the basis of films that had distribution in the English speaking world. Along with Graciliano Ramos and Jorge Amado he stands as one of the greatest regionalist writers of Brazil According to Otto Maria Carpeaux, José Lins was "the last of the story tellers". His first novel, Menino de Engenho ("Boy from the plantation"), was published with difficulty, but soon it got praised by the critics.

Manhattan Transfer (novel)

Manhattan Transfer is an American novel by John Dos Passos published in 1925. It focuses on the development of urban life in New York City from the Gilded Age to the Jazz Age as told through a series of overlapping individual stories.

It is considered to be one of Dos Passos' most important works. The book attacks the consumerism and social indifference of contemporary urban life, portraying a Manhattan that is merciless yet teeming with energy and restlessness. The book shows some of Dos Passos' experimental writing techniques and narrative collages that would become more pronounced in his U.S.A. trilogy and other later works. The technique in Manhattan Transfer was inspired in part by James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and bears frequent comparison to the experiments with film collage by Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein.

Sinclair Lewis described it as "a novel of the very first importance ... The dawn of a whole new school of writing." D. H. Lawrence called it "the best modern book about New York" he had ever read, describing it as "a very complete

film ... of the vast loose gang of strivers and winners and losers which seems to be the very pep of New York." In a blurb for a European edition, Ernest Hemingway wrote that, alone among American writers, Dos Passos has "been able to show to Europeans the America they really find when they come here."

Memoirs of Prison

Memoirs of Prison (Portuguese: Memórias do Cárcere) is a 1984 Brazilian drama film directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos. It is based on Memórias do Cárcere an autobiographical novel by Graciliano Ramos, about the period he was incarcerated during the Vargas Era. The film was selected as the Brazilian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 57th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

Memórias do Cárcere

Memórias do Cárcere may refer to:

Memórias do Cárcere is a book by Camilo Castelo Branco in 1862;

Memórias do Cárcere is a book by Graciliano Ramos in 1953;

Memórias do Cárcere is a film by Nelson Pereira dos Santos in 1984.

Morte e Vida Severina

Morte e Vida Severina (literally, Severine Life and Death, but translated by Elizabeth Bishop as The Death and Life of a Severino) is a play in verse by Brazilian author João Cabral de Melo Neto, one of his most famous and frequently read works. Published in 1955 and written between 1954 and 1955, the play is divided into 18 sections and written in heptasyllabic meter, recalling the popular poetry of northeastern Brazil, where Melo Neto was born and lived for most of his life, the cordel.

Morte e Vida Severina is subtitled Auto de Natal Pernambucano (Auto of Pernambucan Christmas), in a reference to both the biblical perspective of the word and in a broader sense of a new, hopeful beginning for life at its entirety. The play accounts for the journey of a retirante, someone who, fleeing from the droughts that annually ravage the northeastern region of Brazil, proceed either to the city or to fertile lands, often in a repetitive cycle of flight and devastation.

The “retirantes” had also been the theme of the famous novel Vidas Secas by Graciliano Ramos, albeit under a very different point of view. This auto, which chronicles the journey of a single man, the eponymous Severino, down the Capibaribe river, evolves into a metaphysical account that parallels Nativity and reflects the possibility for a meaningful life amid the harshness of the sertão.

Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Nelson Pereira dos Santos (22 October 1928 – 21 April 2018) was a Brazilian film director. He directed films such as Vidas Secas (Barren Lives), based on the book with the same name by Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos.

Otto Maria Carpeaux

Otto Maria Carpeaux (March 9, 1900 – February 3, 1978), born Otto Karpfen, was an Austrian-born Brazilian literary critic and multilingual scholar.

Palmeira dos Índios

Palmeira dos Índios is a municipality located in the western of the Brazilian state of Alagoas. As of 2010, it has a population of around 70,000.

The city is situated on Alagoas backwood region. The Brazilian writer, Graciliano Ramos, was its mayor in 1927. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palmeira dos Índios.

S. Bernardo (film)

São Bernardo is a 1972 Brazilian film written and directed by Leon Hirszman, based on the novel São Bernardo by Graciliano Ramos. It stars Othon Bastos as Paulo Honório, a farmer and landowner in Brazil tortured by his personal desires and ambitions.

Vidas Secas

Vidas Secas (Pre-Reform spelling: Vidas Sêcas, literally "Dry Lives"; translated into English as Barren Lives) is a novel by twentieth-century Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos, written in 1938. It tells the cyclical story of a family of five: Fabiano, the father; Sinhá Vitória, the mother; two sons (just called boys) and their dog called Baleia (whale in Portuguese) in the poverty stricken and arid Brazilian northeast. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the book is that it is written in said cyclical manner, making it possible to read the first chapter as a continuation of the last chapter, reflecting the cycle of poverty and desolation in the Sertão. Another distinguishing characteristic is that the dog Baleia is considered the most sensible and human character.

It is often considered amongst the most important works in Brazilian literature, with a "dry", concise style of writing.

Vidas Secas (film)

Vidas Secas (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈvi.das ˈse.kas], meaning "Dry lives"; Pre-Reform spelling: Vidas Sêcas) is a 1963 Brazilian drama film directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Graciliano Ramos. It tells the story of a poverty-stricken family in the dry Brazilian northeast.

The film stars Átila Iório, Orlando Macedo, Maria Ribeiro and Jofre Soares. It is one of the key films in the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement. It was entered into the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.

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