Brazil in Portugal: Two Worlds in the Publishing Activity of António de Sousa Pinto

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The Portuguese book world, mostly but not exclusively publishers, during the 19th and well into the 20th century has developed a relationship with Brazil built on the premise of considering the former colony as a natural market extension for the book industry. Ubiquitous in the rhetoric and activity of most publishers in Portugal, often in an implicit guise, the Brazilian reading and book space was perceived as part of the Portuguese historical entitlement to cultural and economic influence on such space, and as a factor of the survival of the Portuguese book. From the end of the 1930’s onwards, articulated with the transformation and growing capacity of the Brazilian printing and publishing industry during the course of the first half of the 20th century, the relations between the book worlds of both countries followed a path comprised by convergence and distrust. Not inattentive to this changing reality, mainly from the 1940’s onwards, a new attitude begun to grow among some members of the Portuguese book world, ever more prone to explore non imposing forms of collaborating with the Brazilian writers and publishers as means of promoting new ways of circulating ideas and the printed word. Such a trend is illustrated by the individual action of several publishers and booksellers, emerging the name of António de Sousa Pinto as the most distinguished case. Born in Portugal, Sousa Pinto established in Rio de Janeiro the publishing house “Livros de Portugal” (“Books of Portugal”), where he and his two partners published an array of contemporary Portuguese writers, thus promoting in Brazilian territory a group of previously unknown or unpublished authors. Returning to Portugal, Sousa Pinto decides to take on a similar project, devoted to the unambiguous mission of presenting to the Portuguese reading public the most recent literature from Brazil, as well as more classic Brazilian writers. This new project was given the name of “Livros do Brasil” (“Books of Brazil”). Soon to become one of the most relevant publishing houses in Portugal during the course of the 200th century, “Livros do Brasil” produced the most impressive and lengthy catalogue of Brazilian writers published in Portugal, introducing most of them for the first time to Portuguese audiences, and launching not a small number outside Brazilian borders. Even today the series “Livros do Brasil”, homonymous with the publishing house itself, retains the record for the longest and most diversified series in Portugal dedicated to Brazilian letters. This oral presentation intends to dwell on the role of the publisher in both prescribing and disseminating the book, and the ways such an intervention affects the circulation and configuration of print culture in what concerns power relations among literary and publishing universes (and territories).
Period21 Jul 2013
Event title21st Annual Conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP): 21st SHARP Annual Conference
Event typeConference
Conference number21
LocationPhiladelphia, United States, Pennsylvania
Degree of RecognitionInternational