Academia Brasileira de Letras

Academia Brasileira de Letras (Audio|Br-AcademiaBrasileiraDeLetras.ogg|pronunciation English: Brazilian Academy of Letters) is a Brazilian literary non-profit society established at the end of the 19th century by a group of 40 writers and poets inspired by the Académie Française. The first president, Machado de Assis, declared its foundation on December 15, 1896, with the statutes being passed on January 28, 1897. On July 20 of the same year the Academy was established. The Brazilian Academy of Letters is, according to its statutes, the authority on the "national language" of Brazil (the Portuguese language). It is comprised to this day of 40 members, known as "immortals", chosen from among the citizens of Brazil who have published recognized works or books of literary value. The position of "immortal" is awarded for the recipient's lifetime. New members are admitted by a vote of the Academy members when one of the "chairs" become vacant. The chairs are numbered and bear the names of their first incumbents. The academicians use formal gala gilded uniforms with a sword (which is called "fardão") when participating in official meetings of the Academy. During periods of dictatorship and military régime, the Academy's neutrality in choosing proper members dedicated to the literary profession was compromised when it elected politicians with few or no contributions to literature, such as ex-president Getúlio Vargas. One exception to this is former Brazilian president and senator José Sarney, who is a well-published regional novelist in his own right. The Academy, which was a purely male affair until the groundbreaking election of novelist Rachel de Queiroz in 1977 for chair No. 5, now has four women members (10% of its total membership), but one of them, Nélida Piñon, served as president in 1996-7.

The Academy, thanks to sound management and good revenues in excess of $4 million a year, is well off financially. It owns a skyscraper with 28 floors ("Palácio Austregésilo de Athaide"), in a valued area in the center of Rio, which the Academy rents for office space, generating 70% of its current revenue. The rest comes from rental of other buildings, which were legated by book editor Francisco Alves, in 1917, and from financial investments. This comfortable situation allows for paying a "jeton" to each academician. The ABL is located just by its side, in a beautiful neoclassical building, which is named "Petit Trianon". It was donated by the government of France in 1923 and is so named because it is a copy of the Petit Trianon palace in Versailles, near Paris, France.

It has recently inaugurated one of the largest public libraries in Rio, with 90,000 volumes and a huge multimedia center.

The Academy annually awards several literary prizes: the Prêmio Machado de Assis (the most important literature prize in the country, awarded for lifework), and the ABL prizes for poetry, for fiction and drama, for essays, critic and history of the literature, and for children's literature. In 2005 the Afonso Arino de Mello Franco Prize was also established.

Original Patrons

# Adelino Fontoura
# Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo
# Artur de Oliveira
# José Basílio da Gama
# Bernardo Guimarães
# Casimiro de Abreu
# Castro Alves
# Cláudio Manoel da Costa
# Gonçalves de Magalhães
# Evaristo da Veiga
# Fagundes Varela
# Joaquim José França Júnior
# Francisco Otaviano
# Franklin Távora
# Antônio Gonçalves Dias
# Gregório de Matos
# Hipólito da Costa
# João Francisco Lisboa
# Joaquim Caetano da Silva
# Joaquim Manuel de Macedo
# Joaquim Serra
# José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva
# José de Alencar
# Julio Cézar Ribeiro Vaughan
# Junqueira Freire
# Laurindo Rabelo
# Maciel Monteiro
# Manuel Antônio de Almeida
# Martins Pena
# Pardal Mallet
# Pedro Luís
# Manuel de Araújo Porto-alegre
# Raul Pompéia
# Sousa Caldas
# Tavares Bastos
# Teófilo Dias
# Thomaz Antonio Gonzaga
# Tobias Barreto de Menezes
# Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen
# Visconde do Rio Branco

Presidents of ABL

* Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis 1897-1908
* Rui Barbosa 1908-1919
* Domício da Gama 1919-1919
* Carlos de Laet 1919-1922
* Afrânio Peixoto 1922-1923
* Medeiros e Albuquerque 1923-1923
* Afrânio Peixoto 1923-1924
* Afonso Celso 1925-1925
* Coelho Neto 1926-1926
* Rodrigo Otávio 1927-1927
* Augusto de Lima 1928-1928
* Fernando Magalhães 1929-1929
* Aloisio de Castro 1930-1930
* Fernando Magalhães 1931-1932
* Gustavo Barroso 1932-1933
* Ramiz Galvão 1933-1934
* Afonso Celso 1935-1935
* Laudelino Freire 1936-1936
* Ataulfo de Paiva 1937-1937
* Cláudio de Souza 1938-1938
* Antônio Austregésilo 1939-1939
* Celso Vieira 1940-1940
* Levi Carneiro 1941-1941
* Macedo Sorares 1942-1943
* Múcio Leão 1944-1944
* Pedro Calmon 1945-1945
* Cláudio de Sousa 1946-1946
* João Neves da Fontoura 1947-1947
* Adelmar Tavares 1948-1948
* Miguel Osório de Almeida 1949-1949
* Gustavo Barroso 1950-1950
* Aloisio de Castro 1951-1951
* Aníbal Freire da Fonseca 1952-1952
* Barbosa Lima Sobrinho 1953-1954
* Rodrigo Otávio Filho 1955-1955
* Peregrino Júnior 1956-1957
* Elmano Cardim 1958-1958
* Austregésilo de Athayde 1959-1993
* Abgar Renault 1993-1993
* Josué Montello 1993-1995
* Antônio Houaiss 1995-1996
* Nélida Piñon 1996-1997
* Arnaldo Niskier 1997-1999
* Tarcísio Padilha 2000-2002
* Alberto da Costa e Silva 2002-2004
* Ivan Junqueira 2004-2005
* Marcos Vinícios Rodrigues Vilaça 2006-2007
* Cícero Sandroni 2008

Current members

The members of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (June 2008):
# Ana Maria Machado
# Tarcísio Padilha
# Carlos Heitor Cony
# Carlos Nejar
# José Murilo de Carvalho
# Cícero Sandroni
# Nelson Pereira dos Santos
# Antonio Olinto
# Alberto da Costa e Silva
# Lêdo Ivo
# Hélio Jaguaribe
# Alfredo Bosi
# Sergio Paulo Rouanet
# Celso Lafer
# (Father) Fernando Bastos de Ávila
# Lygia Fagundes Telles
# Affonso Arinos de M. Franco
# Arnaldo Niskier
# Antonio Carlos Secchin
# Murilo Melo Filho
# Paulo Coelho
# Ivo Pitanguy
# Unoccupied chair (with the death of Zélia Gattai)
# Sábato Magaldi
# Alberto Venancio Filho
# Marcos Vinicios Rodrigues Vilaça
# Eduardo Portella
# Domício Proença Filho
# José Mindlin
# Nélida Piñon
# Moacyr Scliar
# Ariano Suassuna
# Evanildo Bechara
# João Ubaldo Ribeiro
# Candido Antonio Mendes de Almeida
# João de Scantimburgo
# Ivan Junqueira
# José Sarney
# Marco Maciel
# Evaristo de Moraes Filho

Gallery of the Immortals

* Machado de Assis
* Jorge Amado
* José Guilherme Merquior
* Tobias Barreto de Meneses

External links

* [http://www.academia.org.br/ Academia Brasileira de Letras] pt


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