Jorge Amado’s Influence on Brazilian Culture

“When Jorge Amado died in 2001, people were already talking about him as Brazil’s cultural ambassador to the world. His novels, translated into nearly 50 languages, made many in the West suddenly familiar with the largest Latin American nation. … Amado’s emphasis on regional dialect, empowered female characters, anti-racism, folk culture, and the dignity of the worker offer a rich and politically-charged vision of Brazilian life. The author himself declared he had done more to introduce the world to Brazil than any institution, any government effort, did. Comparing himself to the Brazilian government isn’t entirely fair, however. In Amado’s time, the government wasn’t much of a constant or predictable institution. Born in 1912, Amado witnessed the Brazilian Revolution of 1930, marking the end of the Old Republic and initiating a dictatorship. This regime, called the Vargas Era, lasted until 1946, when a leader was once again elected to rule over Brazil. During the Vargas Era, Jorge Amado was an active political figure and member of the Brazilian Communist Party. He was arrested in 1936, the result of a failed coup, which was backed by the Soviets. In the coming years, the ruling government worked to suppress the Communists. As a prominent communist, thousands of copies of Amado’s books were burned by police in the public square. When the party was finally outlawed, political resentment toward Amado forced him into exile. This antagonism is a far cry from the national sentiment which would heartily embrace him in a few decades. Living in Uruguay, Paris, Czechoslovakia, and traveling around Europe, Amado realized that politics and writing were both full time jobs, and he would have to pick one to pursue. He chose writing, but politics never left his work. His politics, of course, make Amado a controversial figure. Because he was enthralled by the promise of the Brazilian Communist Party, he was eager to accept any kind of support, no matter where it came from. He worked for a Nazi-supported newspaper, Meio-Dia. …”
Books Tell You Why
BBC – Jorge Amado: Brazil celebrates its master story-teller

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