Republican Politics (excerpt)

"A política republicana" (“Republican Politics”) is an indispensable reference for those interested in Lima Barreto’s shrewd critique of the promises of the Republic. Read here by Preto Zezé, the chronicle locates in the change of political regime one of the sources of national decline at the dawn of the 20th century. Lack of moral elevation, lack of intellectual originality and excess gluttony (“pigging out”) are a few of the defamations reiterated by the writer to disqualify what he called “the regime of corruption.” Initially printed in the A.B.C. (October 19, 1918), the piece was republished in the collection Lima Barreto: Toda crônica – Volume 1, 1890-1919 (2004, pp. 392-393).

Translated by Daniel Persia


The Republic in Brazil is a regime of corruption. All opinions must, for this or that pay, be established by the powerful of the day. No one admits to diverging from them, and so that there are no divergences, there are secret funds, reserved for this or that Ministry, and little jobs that mediocre men don’t know how to conquer by themselves and with independence (…) No one wants to argue; no one wants to shake things up; no one wants to add excitement. Everyone wants to “eat.” Jurists “eat,” philosophers “eat,” doctors “eat,” lawyers “eat,” poets “eat,” novelists “eat,” engineers “eat,” journalists “eat”: Brazil is a vast “pig out.”

Ebook Espalhe Lima

As part of the Hearing Lima project, Companhia das Letras has made available a free e-book with a selection of short stories by Lima Barreto, organized by Lilia M. Schwarcz. The stories are part of the book Contos completos (Complete Stories) by Lima Barreto, published in 2010.