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History of Portuguese Literature Origins of Portuguese Literature The Portuguese Language Oral Literature Fiction Lyricism
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Camilo Castelo Branco

Camilo Castelo Branco and 
Ana Plácido

The great novelist of Portuguese Romanticism (Romance de um Homem Rico, 1861), he also experimented with the new techniques of the realist school in a somewhat jocular fashion (Eusébio Macário, 1879) in a text that marked the end of his career and is undoubtedly one of his most beautiful novels: A Brasileira de Prazins, 1882.

The house at São Miguel de Seide where Camilo lived and later committed suicide in 1890

Masterful in depicting the hot-tempered and mystical adventures caused by exacerbated passion and conflicting family ties (O Retrato de Ricardina, 1868), as well as in expressing social satire (A Queda dum Anjo, 1866) and self-criticism, particularly of a literary nature, he was to become one of the foremost figures in Portuguese literature. 

At midnight, when Alma negra was entering the house through the back door, he found his wife still on her knees in front of the picture of Bom Jesus do Monte. Beside her were two daughters also praying, shivering, wrapped in a blanket full of holes, warming their hands with their hot breath.

Melro sent his daughters off to bed and went to the shop to tell his pale and tremulous wife how Zeferino had died without his having had any involvement in the affair. She placed her hands together in delight and said that it had been a miracle of Bom Jesus; that she had spent three hours on her knees in front of his divine image. Her husband protested about the miracle - saying that his friend wouldn’t give him the house, seeing that it wasn’t him who had killed Zeferino; and his wife said - let the devil take the house; for they had lived until then in the rented shack and Bom Jesus would help them.

The next day, Joaquim Melro was convinced of the miracle, when, after listening to him tell the tale of the labourer’s death, his friend told him:

After all, you get the house, compadre, why then should you kill Zéférino, if the others didn’t kill him either?

A Brasileira de Prazins (excerpt)

© Instituto Camões, 2001