It’s been a while since our last culture series post, so we’re pleased to return with a look at one of Brazilian literature’s classic novels, O Cortiço, which translates from Brazilian Portuguese to The Slum in English.
O Cortiço, which was recommended to us by Brazilian Portuguese TED Translator Leonardo Silva, was written by Aluísio Azevedo and first published in 1890. The novel, in a style that’s drawn comparisons to those of Emile Zola and Mark Twain, braids together various narratives of Portuguese immigrants living in the tenements of Rio de Janeiro in the late 19th century; but the main stories in O Cortiço concern the relationships between a landlord and two of his tenants involved in a tumultuous affair.
As Silva told us, the novel continues to resonate with him (and many other readers) because of its poetic and detailed portraits of Rio de Janeiro’s denizens living under the city’s complex social and economic structures; and because these portraits provide historical context for Rio’s current socioeconomic climate.
To learn more about O Cortiço, head here.