Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2006 Issue

Brazil from the Turtle Island Book Shop

Turtl

Brazilian works from Turtle Island Book Shop.


By Michael Stillman

The Turtle Island Book Shop has issued a catalogue of Recent Acquisitions: Brazil. For anyone who collects Braziliana or Brasiliana (are those real words?), this catalogue will provide some interesting opportunities. There are 73 items, mostly in either the country's native language of Portuguese, or English (plus a German and a French), pertaining to South America's largest and most populous country. While the rest of that continent and Latin America speak Spanish, Brazil, long a Portuguese colony, remains the one exception. Here are some items you will find in the Turtle Island catalogue.

Item 12 is two items bound in one volume. The first is Dialogos Das Grandezas Do Brasil, by Ambrosio Brandao. This is a 1930 first printing of the new edition of Brandao's 1618 account of Brazil. The author's text is presented as a dialogue discussing the opportunities for merchants and colonists in the backwoods of Brazil, as well as describing the plants and animals, minerals and agriculture of this vast land. The second title is Viage, Ao Brasil, by Hans Staden. This is the first Portuguese language edition of the German's 1557 voyage to Brazil. Staden was an adventurer who signed on to a couple of Brazilian voyages in the mid-16th century. On the second one, his ship went down, and the survivors were forced to make their way to land. They set up shop in Sao Marco, but on a hunting trip, Staden was captured by Tupinamba Indians. It is never good for Europeans to be captured by natives, but even more so when those natives practice cannibalism. As a foreign invader, Staden was toast, or more specifically, dinner. However, he supposedly convinced the Indians that his Gods disapproved of their cooking him when many fell ill (probably from diseases brought by Europeans). Some question the total accuracy of Staden's account. Priced at $175.

For a more traditional history of early Brazil, there is Historia Do Brasil. As Origens 1500-1600, by Pedro Calmon. This 1939 history covers the period of early exploration and colonization of the country. Item 14. $35.

The Brazilian Historical Congress, which met from September 7-16, 1914, left a complete record of its proceedings. Item 58 is the Primeiro Congresso De Historia Nacional, published form 1915-1917. It contains five volumes. They cover everything from explorations and archeology to government, diplomatic, and military institutions. $750.

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