Brazilian Book Club: Ópera dos Mortos, by Autran Dourado

brasilobserver - Sep 15 2015

(Leia em Português)


The next Brazilian Bilingual Book Club of the Embassy of Brazil will be discussing Ópera dos Mortos (1967) translated into English as The Voices of the Dead (1980, London; 1981,USA).


By Nadia Kerecuk, Convenor of the Brazilian Bilingual Book Club

Waldomiro Freitas Autran Dourado, born in a small town, Patos de Minas, spent most of his childhood in other Minas Gerais towns, Monte Santo de Minas and São Sebastião do Paraíso and, at the age of 17, he moved to the capital of the State of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte. He read law at the university and worked as a shorthand writer and journalist while at university graduating in 1949.

Minas Gerais is the birthplace of several notable Brazilian authors and artists. Autran Dourado greatly benefitted from the local literary and artistic currents. He was equally lucky as he was discovered in Belo Horizonte by Juscelino Kubitschek (1902-76), deputy and governor of that state and later the President of Brazil, becoming his private secretary in Minas Gerais and, subsequently, from 1958 to 1961, the former president’s press officer and adviser.

Autran Dourado moved to the Federal capital, Rio de Janeiro, in 1954. He was married to Lúcia Campos for over 60 years and they had four children, and by the time the author died in 2012, he had ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His works have gained early recognition. His A Barca dos Homens (1961), a kind of human comedy set on a fictional island in the south of Brazil, depicts the fall of the 18th century Brazilian well-off classes from grace. Ópera dos mortos is regarded as Autran Dourado’s masterpiece and has been included in the UNESCO collection of representative literary works.  He is one of the leading writers of second half of the 20th century in Brazil and his works exhibit a rare talent. Ópera dos mortos, set in the mystical baroque state of Minas Gerais, is a beautiful narrative of a master wordsmith. Readers will be enthused by this classic.

In 2000, he published his memoir, Gaiola aberta e os Tempos de Schmidt (The open cage and Schmidt times), an account of the time that he served as a press officer of President Juscelino Kubitschek. It is an invaluable source of the political and intellectual history of Brazil with delightful anecdotes.


When: 17 September

Where: Embassy of Brazil in London

Entrance: Free


Brasil Observer is a Brazilian newspaper published in London. Read issue 31.