“Brazil is founded on genius”–so wrote Dr Monteiro in 1853. One of the nation’s geniuses was a young poet named Alvares de Azevedo who wanted to revolutionize his country’s idea of romanticism.
Camilo Castelo Branco’s ‘Mysteries of Lisbon’ (1854): Chapter Two | [Trans. Stephen Basdeo]
“For the first time in my life the desire for vengeance erupted inside me. The closest thing to me was a small vase. It had a cactus in it—thorny like a cedar tree. I took the vase. I hit him in the face with it. “
Post-Apocalyptic Medievalism: Richard Jefferies’s “After London” (1885) | Stephen Basdeo
“Society was held together by brute force, intrigue, cord and axe, and woman’s flattery. But a push seemed needed to overthrow it. Yet it was quite secure, nevertheless, as there was none to give that push.”
Álvares de Azevedo’s “Pedro Ivo” | Leandro Machado [Trans.]
The corpse without blessings, unburied,
Thrown to the crows of the uncultivated grassland,
The manly forehead shot through,
To imperial sleep with cold lips
May pass in faded scorn.
Camilo Castelo Branco’s ‘Mysteries of Lisbon’ (1854): Chapter One | [Trans. Stephen Basdeo]
“It has always seemed impossible to me to write the mysteries of a land that has none, and, invented, nobody believes them. I was wrong. It is because I did not know Lisbon, or not able to calculate the power of a man’s imagination.”
Youthful consumption and conservative visions: Robin Hood and Wat Tyler in late Victorian penny periodicals | Stephen Basdeo
“Talk of Robin Hood and Little John, and their dingy imitators in this metropolis described by Dickens and Ainsworth … The same man passes from one form into another – developing, according to the changes in society, from a forester to a mountaineer, thence to a highwayman, thence to an instructor of pickpockets and the receiver of their day’s work in St. Giles.”
The Life and Significance of Henry Fielding (1707–54) | Stephen Basdeo
“Except for Shakespeare, Fielding was the greatest English playwright between the Middle Ages and the 19th century”–George Bernard Shaw
New Discovery: Photograph of Famous Victorian Novelist Pierce Egan the Younger (1814–80) | Stephen Basdeo
“Many among us fancy that they have a good general idea of what is English literature. They think of Tennyson and Dickens as the most popular of our living authors. It is a fond delusion, from which they should be aroused. The works of Mr. Pierce Egan are sold by the half million.”
Chartism and Progressive Nationalism: The Spirit of Wat Tyler
1848. The Chartists were down and despondent. Their third petition had been rejected by the government outright. What they needed was a new sense of purpose and, perhaps, a “Tyler” to speak to them.
Mysteries of the People, Mysteries of the World: Eugene Sue’s Anti- Medievalism and the Revolutions of 1848
When Napoleon the Third came to power, shipments of Mysteres du Peuple were seized and booksellers were prevented from selling them. Many French politicians and writers were forced into exile as a result of the coup; one such exile was Eugene Sue.
“I am a public thing”: Victor Hugo as Political Symbol | Stephen Basdeo
Hugo worked tirelessly on his self-imposed mission: poetry was so important, Hugo believed, that it should be a part of every aspect of life and had a central role to play in the story of national regeneration.
Álvares de Azevedo’s ‘Shadow of Don Juan’ [Sombra de Don Juan] | Luiz Guerra (Trans.)
Luiz Guerra’s new, and very fine, translation into English of Azevedo’s Shadow of Don Juan [‘Sombra de Don Juan’] is the first English translation of Azevedo’s poem. With great skill, as is usual of Guerra’s translations, he has largely preserved the original rhyme scheme while retaining Azevedo’s meaning.
Álvares de Azevedo’s “Love” | Luiz Guerra (Trans.)
Luiz Guerra’s translation of the following poem, titled ‘Love’ (Amor), is the first time that it has been professionally translated into the English language.
Álvares de Azevedo’s “Memory of Dying” [Lembrança de Morrer] | Leandro Machado (Trans.)
Leandro Machado’s translation of Brazilian Romantic poet Álvares de Azevedo’s ‘Lembrança de Morrer’ (Memory of Dying)
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) | Stephen Basdeo
“Sooner or later they will catch us and kill us. They will rape me. They’ll rape him. They are going to rape us and kill us and eat us.”
Soneto: Palidá a Luz [Sonnet: Pale the Light] | Álvarez de Azevedo
Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo (1831–52), referred to usually as Álvares de Azevedo, was Brazil’s most famous Romantic poet. Yet because his works have never been translated into English, Azevedo remains unknown to most British and American scholars.
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Branding Needle” and the First French Commune | Stephen Basdeo
To reign! the ambition of great souls! To reign like the Emperors of Rome! I wish to emulate them in all their sovereign omnipotence!
“The Sonnets of Luis de Camões” (1803) by Viscount Strangford | Stephen Basdeo
What Strangford wanted to do was translate Luis de Camões’s little-known sonnets, and the result was Poems, from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens.
Desânimo [“Dejection”] | Álvares de Azevedo and Luiz Guerra
‘Desanimo’ [Dejection] first appeared in Álvares de Azevedo’s posthumous collection of poetry titled Lira dos Vinte Anos (1853).
“Something strange and marvellous”: Victor Hugo’s Essay on Walter Scott | Stephen Basdeo
“He unites the exactness of the [medieval] chronicles, the majestic grandeur of history, and the all-compelling interest of romance.”
Victor Hugo’s “Ninety-Three” (1874) | Stephen Basdeo
Revolution is humanity’s surgeon, it cuts out the tumour, it cuts off the gangrened limb—What! would you have pity for the virus? For the gangrened limb!
Remembering a Poor Irishman and his Penny Dreadfuls (1893) | Katharine Tynan
“G. W. M. Reynolds we devoured in The Coral Island, a big tome of horrors; and there was Eugéne Sue’s Mysteries of Paris in three big volumes.”
The Janissary and Massacre of the Christians (1850) | G. W. M. Reynolds
His rage knew no bounds. He muttered threats of deadly vengeance; and on the following morning, he commanded the prisoners to be brought into his presence. Then commenced a terrible massacre, the horrors of which no human pen nor tongue can narrate.
The Comic History of Oliver Cromwell (1847) | Gilbert Abbot á Beckett
In those days, a joke would lead the perpetrator to the gibbet, and a pun was so highly penal—as, perhaps, it ought to be—that a dull dog who had dropped one by mistake, was called upon to find heavy securities for his good behaviour.