Manuel Inácio da Silva Alvarenga

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Manuel Inácio da Silva Alvarenga
Born 1749
Ouro Preto
Died 1814
Rio de Janeiro
Language Portuguese
Nationality Brazilian
Alma mater University of Coimbra

Manuel Inácio da Silva Alvarenga (1749–1814) was a Brazilian poet. He had a life-long commitment to life-long learning and promoting civic values and educational reforms.[1] Silva Alvarenga edited one of the first newspapers in Brazil, O Patriota.[2]


Silva Alvarenga was born out of wedlock in Ouro Preto and was biracial.[1] His mother was African and his father an "indigent white musician."[1] He was raised in Minas Geras.[2]

In the early 1770s, he studied in Rio de Janeiro.[3] Silva Alvarenga was able to attend the University of Coimbra in Portugal in 1776[1] where he studied law.[3] His father's friends encouraged his poetry and musical talents.[1] After studying in Portugal, he moved back to Brazil, where he was part of the Ouro Preto Arcady.[2] In 1782, he moved to Rio de Janeiro where he taught rhetoric and poetics[2] in the position of Royal Professor.[4]

He became a founding member of the Sociedade Literaria do Rio de Janeiro (Literary Society in Rio de Janeiro) in 1786.[3][5] The society discussed issues ranging from the French Revolution to religion, where some members challenged religious dogma and claimed that miracles did not exist.[4] Because the society was considered "subversive" he was imprisoned from 1794 to 1797.[2] He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1814.[3]


Silva Alvarenga's poetry follows European Neoclassical aesthetics of the eighteenth century[1] and is considered an Arcadian poet.[6] His work is compared to Tomas Antonio Gonzaga and Claudio Manuel da Costa.[6] Silva Alvarenga, along with other Brazilian Arcadians, have been credited with planting "the roots of a literary culture in a systematic sense" in Brazil.[2]

He was unique among contemporary Brazilian poets in using Brazil's own natural landscape in his work.[1] He rarely included Africans in his own poetry and when he did, his depictions were considered negative by today's standards.[6] Despite his personal background as a person of color, Silva Alvarenga, like many in his time, believed that black people were not "suitable subjects for poetry."[7]

O Desetor das Letras is a satire based on university reforms of 1772.[3]

His series of work, Glaura: poemas eroticos was originally published in Lisbon.[2] Many of the poems are very much part of the pastoral Arcady tradition, however, literary critics have identified "elements which foreshadow Brazilian Romanticism."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Daniel, G. Reginald (2012). Macado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 9780271052465. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Gonzalez Echevarría, Roberto; Pupo-Walker, Enrique, eds. (1996). The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature. 3. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 67, 365. ISBN 0521410355. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Braun, Harald E.; Vollendorf, Lisa (2014). Theorising the Ibero-American Atlantic. Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. p. 167. ISBN 9789004258068. 
  4. ^ a b Schultz, Kirsten (2001). Tropical Versailles: Empire, Monarchy and the Portuguese Royal Court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1821. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 52–55. ISBN 9781135308407. 
  5. ^ Safier, Neil (2009). "A Courier Between Empires: Hipolito da Costa and the Atlantic World". In Bailyn, Bernard; Denault, Patricia L. Soundings in Atlantic History: Latent Structures and Intellectual Currents, 150-1830. Harvard University Press. p. 560. ISBN 9780674032767. 
  6. ^ a b c de Almeida Pereira, Edimilson (1995). "Survey of African-Brazilian Literature". Callaloo. 18 (4): 876. Retrieved 12 July 2015. (subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ Ferreira, Isabel Cristina Rodrigues (2008). The Dialogue About 'Racial Democracy' Among African-American and Afro-Brazilian Literatures (Dissertation). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. p. 80. Retrieved 12 July 2015.