Annotated Edition of the Letters of João do Rio to João de Barros

" Muito d’Alma…" - Letters from 1909 to 1921
Project of a critical edition of the correspondence of João do Rio to João de Barros

Claudia Poncioni
Virginia Camilotti

In 1985, Henrique de Barros deposited in the National Library of Portugal the literary estate of his father, João de Barros. Among the set of literary letters received by the Portuguese poet and politician are 62 letters from João do Rio. Sent between 1909 and 1921, this correspondence contains crucial elements on the relationship between writers and intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic, defining at once the expression and disposition to the creation of a true network of relations between Brazil and Portugal, involving the spheres of politics, literature and journalism.

The text to be published was established from digital photographs made available by the National Library of Portugal for research. All of the letters are handwritten. If João do Rio’s handwriting presents no greater difficulty in understanding, some references to characters require sometimes paleographic work. This is the case, for example, of the playwright Eduardo Schwalbach, whose name João do Rio just spells "Schw". The specificity of this correspondence – expression and expedient to the establishment of a network of relations between Brazil and Portugal – demands that the mentioned or referred to characters are clearly identified. In this sense, any hypothesis needs confirmation through thorough literature and archival search.

Central to the issue of this correspondence is the fact that only 6 of the 62 letters are dated. This requires a detailed work from small clues presented in the missives, evidence linked to the biography and bibliography of the two correspondents or related to historical events, so the chronological order of correspondence can be determined.

The nature of the critical notes required by this edition stems from its own specificity – both as a consequence and an instigator of relationships between journalists, politicians and writers on both sides of the Atlantic. The size and temporal scope of the notes on characters, institutions, works and journals has therefore the mission to connect the reader with the historicity of the letters.