Jorge Amado

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Jorge Amado
Jorge Amado.jpg
Born Jorge Leal Amado de Faria
(1912-08-10)10 August 1912
Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil
Died 6 August 2001(2001-08-06) (aged 88)
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Occupation Poet, professor
Nationality Brazilian
Alma mater Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Faculty of Law
Notable works Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Tieta, Captains of the Sands
Spouse Zélia Gattai (1945 — 2001) (his death)

Jorge Leal Amado de Faria (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈʒɔʁʒi lɛˈaw ɐˈmadu dʒi fɐˈɾi.ɐ], 10 August 1912 – 6 August 2001) was a Brazilian writer of the modernist school. He was the best known of modern Brazilian writers, his work having been translated into some 49 languages and popularized in film, notably Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands in 1978. His work reflects the image of a mestiço Brazil and is marked by religious syncretism. He depicted a cheerful and optimistic country that was beset, at the same time, with deep social and economic differences.

He occupied the 23rd chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1961 until his death in 2001.


Amado was born in a fazenda ("farm") in the inland of the city of Itabuna, in the southern part of the Brazilian state of Bahia, son of João Amado de Faria and D. Eulália Leal. The farm Amado was born in was precisely located on the village of Ferradas, which though today is a district of Itabuna, at the time was administered by the town of Ilhéus. That is why he considered himself a citizen of Ilhéus. In the large cocoa plantation, Amado knew the misery and the struggles of the people working the earth, living in almost slave conditions, which were to be a theme always present in his later works (for example, the notable The Violent Land of 1944).

When he was only one year old, his family moved to Ilhéus, a coastal city, where he spent his childhood. He attended high school in Salvador, the capital of the state. During that period Amado began to collaborate with several magazines and took part in literary life, as one of the founders of the Modernist "Rebels' Academy".

Amado published his first novel, The Country of Carnival, in 1931, at age 18. Later he married Matilde Garcia Rosa and had a daughter, Lila, in 1933. The same year he published his second novel, Cacau, which increased his popularity. Amado's leftist activities made his life difficult under the dictatorial regime of Getúlio Vargas: in 1935 he was arrested for the first time, and two years later his books were publicly burned. His works were banned from Portugal, but in the rest of Europe he gained great popularity with the publication of Jubiabá in France. The book had enthusiastic reviews, including that of Nobel Prize Award winner Albert Camus.

In the early 1940s, Amado edited a literary supplement[1] for the Nazi political newspaper "Meio-Dia".[2] Being a communist militant, from 1941 to 1942 Amado was compelled to go into exile to Argentina and Uruguay. When he returned to Brazil he separated from Matilde Garcia Rosa. In 1945 he was elected to the National Constituent Assembly, as a representative of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) (he received more votes than any other candidate in the state of São Paulo). He signed a law granting freedom of religious faith. The same year he remarried, this time to the writer Zélia Gattai.

In 1947 he had a son, João Jorge. The same year his party was declared illegal, and its members arrested and persecuted. Amado chose exile once again, this time in France, where he remained until he was expelled in 1950. His first daughter, Lila, had died in 1949. From 1950 to 1952 Amado lived in Czechoslovakia, where another daughter, Paloma, was born. He also traveled to the Soviet Union, winning the Stalin Peace Prize in 1951.

On his return to Brazil in 1954, Amado abandoned active political life, leaving the Communist Party one year later. From that period on he dedicated himself solely to literature. His second creative phase began in 1958 with Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, which was described by Jean-Paul Sartre as "the best example of a folk novel". Amado abandoned, in part, the realism and the social themes of his early works, producing a series of novels focusing mainly on feminine characters, devoted to a kind of smiling celebration of the traditions and the beauties of Bahia. His depiction of the sexual customs of his land was scandalous to much of 1950s Brazilian society and for several years Amado could not even enter Ilhéus, where the novel was set, due to threats received for the alleged offense to the morality of the city's women.

On 6 April 1961, he was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters. He received the title of Doctor honoris causa from several Universities in Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Israel and France, as well as other honors in almost every South American country, including Obá de Xangô (santoon) of the Candomblé, the traditional Afro-Brazilian religion of Bahia. He was finally removed from the French blacklist in 1965 following the intervention of the then Minister of Culture, André Malraux. In 1984 he was awarded the French Légion d’Honneur by President François Mitterrand. [3]

Amado's popularity as a writer never decreased. His books were translated into 49 languages in 55 countries, were adapted into films, theatrical works and TV programs. They even inspired some samba schools of the Brazilian Carnival.

In 1987, the House of Jorge Amado Foundation was created, in Salvador. It promotes the protection of Amado's estate and the development of culture in Bahia. The recently renovated building on the Pelourinho in Salvador contains a small museum and wall panels with the covers of international editions of his books.

Amado died on 6 August 2001. His ashes were spread in the garden of his house four days later.



  1. ^ Victor Gentilli. "O ex-cabo Anselmo, jornalistas e historiadores" (in Portuguese). Observatório da Imprensa. 
  2. ^ Mario Magalhães (8 August 2001). "Jorge Amado foi o autor mais espionado" (in Portuguese). Folha On Line. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  3. ^ Zélia Gattai (1988). Jardim de Inverno. Editora Record. p. 10-11. ISBN 85-1-033969-4. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Otávio Mangabeira
Brazilian Academy of Letters - Occupant of the 23rd chair

1961 — 2001
Succeeded by
Zélia Gattai