Eliana de Freitas Dutra1
Translated by Susan Pickford

Originally published as: Eliana de Freitas Dutra, “L’espace atlantique et la civilisation mondialisée: histoire et circulation du livre en Amérique Latine,” Histoire et Civilisation du Livre 8 (2012), 73-96.


Evelyn Waugh’s remarkable novel A Handful of Dust recounts the story of a 1930s English aristocrat, Tony, with the author’s typically acid tongue and implacable critique of social practices.2 Tony escapes an unhappy marriage by setting off with an adventurer on a quest to Guiana and Brazil to discover a legendary lost city, founded by Incas migrating from Peru to the Amazon in the fifteenth century. Tony survives a shipwreck and is found wandering, delirious with fever, on the border between British Guiana and Brazil by Mr. Todd. Todd – the mixed-race son of an English missionary born in Barbados who eventually took up with a native woman – becomes the key to Tony’s future and the driving force for the rest of the plot.3 He is also a useful starting point for the issue analyzed in the present article.

Mr. Todd nurses Tony back to health in the jungle, telling him his father was a man of culture, though he himself has never had the chance to learn to read. Tony responds with an apologetic smile, “But I suppose you haven’t much opportunity here.” Todd replies that actually that is just it: he has plenty of books, but no-one to read them to him. He adds that for five years, he had a “black man […] well educated in Georgetown” who used to read to him every day until he died. He then suggests that Tony should read to him when he is better,4 and Tony immediately agrees. The books are stored in a hut, wrapped in crude bundles of rags, palm leaves, and raw hide. Todd tells Tony it is hard to keep out the worms and ants, adding that the Indians make an excellent oil to keep them at bay. Todd opens one bundle and picks up a calf-bound American edition of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. When Tony asks if he likes Dickens, he says he does:

they are the only books I have ever heard. My father used to read them and then the black man… and now you. I have heard them all several times by now, but I never get tired; there is always more to be learned and noticed, so many characters, so many changes of scene, so many words… I have all Dickens’s books here except those that the ants devoured. It takes a long time to read them all – more than two years.5

This is the first sly allusion to Tony’s fate: like the black man, he is to play Sisyphus as Mr. Todd’s prisoner for the rest of his life, reading aloud the Dickens novels that have survived the insects, chapter after chapter: Bleak House, Dombey and Son, Martin Chuzzlewit, Nicholas Nickleby, Little Dorrit and Oliver Twist.

What is interesting is that Charles Dickens was himself a lifelong voracious reader, deprived of a family library by his father’s debts, with a keen sympathy for the difficulties faced by the English working classes. In his own books and in Waugh’s novel, this sympathy sparks a powerful feeling of empathy, perhaps even a fledgling feeling of identification, as well as a fictional tool evoking vengeance against a father figure who can be read in two ways: as the English colonizer and as a man of culture and learning. The reader confronts a power relationship turned upside down, the conquered dominating the conqueror, the native dominating the civilized man (as Tony describes himself in conversation with Todd), the illiterate dominating the literate, the man of mixed race dominating the aristocrat. All by means of the most precious symbolic object in colonial imperial culture – the book, a key vector for cultural exchange and transfer between Europe and the Americas.

Yet above and beyond their role as tools of vengeance, Todd’s books maintain their value as imaginary bridges leading to a cultural realm that remains inaccessible without them, opening up the horizons of his own space in the jungle living alongside indigenous tribes, joined from time to time by explorers like the ones who come to find Tony. Todd cleverly gives them Tony’s watch to take back to England to prove he had been there, while showing them the cross he had put up, he cynically claims, to commemorate the Englishman’s arrival. Todd’s perverse game announces Tony’s death and cements his new status as a reading slave. This status hints at the potential for the appropriation of reading by an audience other than the one Dickens’s books were originally intended for. Furthermore, awareness – affective or otherwise – of books as objects opening up access to the unknown, particularly in the instance of a man who is himself illiterate yet has sought out techniques to protect the books he owns, is liable to gladden the heart of disciples of the Enlightenment, even in the realm of fiction.

Returning to historical reality, a detailed study of the various means by which books circulated between Europe and Latin America from the sixteenth century on, driven by Atlantic expansion and the European presence in the New World, makes Todd’s story seem perfectly plausible. Books were a major part of this history. Books of all kinds and genres travelled to all parts of the American colonies, as commodities bound up with the trading dynamic, the rise of an international market and transatlantic trade, and as cultural artefacts embodying the written and literary cultures, traditions of knowledge, languages, ideas, and beliefs of the societies involved in the process of forging a relationship between Europe and the Americas.

Much reading went on in colonial Spanish America and in Portugal’s largest colony, Brazil. The thesis that these societies were culturally isolated due to a lack of access to fiction and were therefore intellectual backwaters no longer holds weight. This article attempts to demonstrate the international, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic facets of books in both Latin American and European culture. South American Book History can no longer remain inward-looking, since the book has developed into an instrument and driver of diversity on a global scale. It has played a fundamental role in building modernity and global capitalism. Its sites of production, circuits, readerships, publishing formulas, distribution networks, material formats, storage, symbolic value, content, and textual repertoires have all combined, not only with the history of Portuguese and Spanish colonization, but also with the history of cultural, ethnic, political, and scientific contacts and exchanges across the Atlantic.

First Act – The International Book Circuit

Latin America as Receiving Culture

The economy of the book and book culture in the Portuguese and Spanish Americas have always been shaped by porous borders, shifting frontiers, and multiple challenges, including the bureaucratic machinery of empire and the power of the Church, religious orders, and Inquisition tribunals. Yet the many attempts at controlling the book trade with the New World failed to dim its undeniable vitality, and it remained of significant interest to various sectors on either side of the Atlantic. As specialists of the export of books to the Americas have noted, formal networks of booksellers working in the transatlantic trade worked alongside other traders, stakeholders, authors keen to develop their readership, and a whole range of maritime shippers who used the mechanisms designed to keep track of goods to bring books to the Americas.6

It should also be borne in mind that the middlemen, generally agents of the Carrera de Indias (Indies convoy), who handled the logistics of the book trade, from money and credit to port formalities, transport arrangements, warehousing, and distribution etc., were a prominent feature of the transatlantic book trade, as was smuggling. The Spanish book trade was overseen by three separate bodies, the Casa de Contratación (chamber of commerce), the Carrera de Indias and the Inquisition tribunals. Yet booksellers and their middlemen still found ways around censorship and bureaucratic micro-management to smuggle recent publications to the Americas by means of avisos (dispatch boats), African slave ships, and other ships capable of crossing the Atlantic.7

As suggested by Irving Leonard’s pioneering scholarship,8 the book trade’s powerful interest in the Spanish American market led it to find ways round the Spanish state’s mechanisms of control and cultural policy. Much recent research has demonstrated that the same is true of Portuguese America, even outside the Iberian Union that bound the kingdoms of Portugal and Spain from 1580 to 1640. In Portugal and Spain alike, books needed official approval to exist in the first place, let alone cross the Atlantic.

The nerve center of the Spanish maritime empire was Seville, a powerful, dynamic city both economically and culturally. Since 1503, it had been home to the Casa de Contratación, which oversaw maritime trade, particularly to the West Indies and the Americas, by means of the Carrera de Indias. Its port was the only one granted the prerogative of centralizing all incoming and outgoing shipping, and therefore all contact with the New World, which proved vital for the monopoly system imposed by the Crown. Sixteenth-century Seville was home to a traditional community of printers and bookselling dynasties and a network of customers9 who played a significant role in supplying books to the Spanish viceroyalty in Latin America. As Pedro Rueda Ramírez notes, as early as the sixteenth century, Seville

welcomed agents from major European book houses […], which led directly to the establishment of book warehouses, businesses buying and selling books, trade deals, and the creation of an indispensable network of middlemen in the Americas.10

Foreigners from Flanders, Italy, and France were drawn to Seville by its book production and sales networks, consolidating their position on the Spanish market after 1530. Italian and Flemish book dealers took their cargo to the “cities of Venice, Genoa, Seville, and Lisbon, where it was easy to distribute.”11 Carrera de Indias ships bound for America carried books alongside other goods. Most, except for those owned by travelers or smuggled as contraband, were sent by shippers, some specializing in books or acting as middlemen for booksellers,12 indicating a high degree of professionalization within the trade. The legal definition of a shipper was “someone who declares shipping merchandise on their fleet”:13 Pedro Rueda Ramírez notes that shippers were involved in trade on both sides of the Atlantic and that traders sold, and distributed books ordered by individuals in the Americas. They had contacts and agents in the ports and cities of viceroyalties who delivered books directly to sellers. Several traders set up family members in business in the Americas: the fathers, brothers, and cousins of families involved in the Carrera de Indias became middlemen in the book trade.

Books were mainly sent to the viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru, Quito, the West Indies, Yucatán, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba. The Caribbean region only received books destined for the upper ranks of the clergy, churchmen, and monasteries. A significant proportion of the books were religious in nature, such as lives of the saints, orisons, missals, books of devotion, breviaries, ecclesiastical texts, theology, Bible commentaries, and moral summae. Other categories included professional manuals, legal and political works, humanist classics, science and practical manuals, history and literature of all sorts, children’s books, ABCs, and early readers. Books were regularly sent in batches with maps, prints, paintings, and other print artefacts. Most prints were again religious in nature, originating in the print shops of Paris and sent out in abundance across the Americas.14

The religious orders established in the Spanish viceroyalties, including Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians, among others, had monasteries equipped with libraries, schools, and colleges, forming a community devoted to reading, writing, and prayer; Spanish administrators, high-ranking government officials, magistrates, lawyers, and the cultivated elite were also regular readers who maintained an access to culture. Institutional and private libraries were certainly a reality in the Spanish colonial landscape.15 There was also a scholarly community. Spain founded universities in its American colonies as early as the sixteenth century, though Portugal was slower to do so in Brazil. The University of Santo Domingo was founded by papal bull in 1538, becoming the first seat of Spain’s colonial government in the New World. Two other universities followed in 1551, the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (the first to open) and the University of San Marcos in Lima. These were spaces devoted to literate culture in Spanish America, extending beyond the capitals of the viceroyalty such as Lima, Mexico, Quito, Cartagena, Cuzco, and Santo Domingo. Books generally followed other goods such as wine, shoes, clothing, needles, table cloths, paper, oil, ironwork, and other everyday items. In Spanish America, such goods were sold at fairs and markets, festivals, and pilgrimages, by peddlers and other traders, who brought books to cities, towns, and remote rural areas. Like other European goods, books were often swapped for local produce: in Puerto Rico, for instance, books were paid for with sugar and ginger, while in Santo Domingo, books were sometimes swapped for ginger, sugar, and hides by ships working the Carrera de Indias route and by transatlantic smugglers.16 Such partnerships involving books and other print artifacts produced in Spanish America, for instance Mexico, were sometimes a matter of economic necessity: print propped up trade, so that the sale of books could continue.17

While book sales and the middlemen who helped the trade develop relied on booksellers and printers in Spain, particularly Seville, the most significant book trade center from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, several individuals involved in the trade traveled to the Americas to set up business in the capitals of the viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru. They included Seville printers who moved to Puebla de los Ángeles and Lima,18 and the printer, cosmographer, and Paris-trained mathematician Heinrich Martin (also known as Enrico Martínez),19 born in Hamburg and trained in printing in Seville, Madrid, and Toledo. Many such figures settled in Mexico, including Heinrich Martin in 1589, when he became closely connected with the import and trade in books. Ten years later, he opened up his own shop in Mexico. Typography was first brought to Mexico City and Lima in the early days of colonization, in 1535 and 1584 respectively. By the early seventeenth century, Mexico had four print shops, run by Melchor de Ocharte, Pedro Balli, Diego López Davalos and Heinrich Martin,20 playing a significant role in cultural exchange explored in more detail below.

It should, however, be borne in mind that print technology did not reach all parts of the Spanish empire in the Americas. In Cuba for instance, though registers recorded the presence of the book trade from the sixteenth century on, print was not produced locally until 1707. Books first came to Bogotá in 1739, Santiago in 1748, Quito in 1760, New Orleans (then a Spanish possession) in 1764, and Buenos Aires as late as 1780.21 The situation was no better in Honduras, Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Venezuela, where books were few and far between. The mere existence of a book market that emerged in response to the needs of a readership in the Americas proved less significant in the long run than the “expansion of the American cultural structure and the consolidation of a potential market of readers,”22 built by the collective efforts of all those participating in the transatlantic book trade.

A full study of the presence of print culture across the Americas means looking at Portuguese Brazil. In Portugal, as in Spain, printing was well established by the latter half of the fifteenth century: in 1489, Laurence Hallewell writes,23 it was the sole preserve of Jewish printers working in Leiria, Toledo and Lisbon. In 1497, Manuel I the Fortunate, O Venturoso, brought Inquisition tribunals to Portugal. By the end of the fifteenth century, Lisbon had five typographic workshops, which sent books to Brazil –including, as Rueda Ramírez notes, works in Castilian Spanish. Among the printers working in Lisbon were “Pieter Van Craesbeeck, who trained at the Plantin workshop and founded a printing dynasty in 1597, producing books in Latin, Portuguese, and Castilian Spanish”24 at a time when Antwerp was still mainly producing illustrated books.

The Inquisition’s censors began to take an interest in books and print in 1508. In 1537, legislation required preprint authorization for books; in 1576, all books and print were subjected to a threefold control mechanism, by the local bishop, the Holy Office (i.e. the Inquisition), and the Desembargo do Paço, representing the Crown. In 1768, Joseph I’s powerful minister, the Marquis of Pombal, united the three bodies under one umbrella, the Real Mesa Censória, which oversaw the printing, sale, and circulation of books. It continued to do so, despite changes to the legal framework, until the Holy Office was eventually disbanded, shifting responsibility for censorship to the Desembargo do Paço secretariat.

Unlike Spanish possessions in the Americas, and indeed the Portuguese colonies in Congo, Angola, Asia, the Indies, and China, typography was banned in Brazil throughout the colonial period, though Jesuits and a Jewish printer by the name of Isidoro da Fonseca did try to introduce the technology.25 If authors wanted their works to reach readers in Brazil, they had to print them in Portugal with the approval of the censors, who also authorized book sales and purchases.26 As Márcia Abreu has written,

the [Portuguese] crown was unstinting in its efforts to control its subjects. The fear of dangerous ideas led censors to oversee not only the export of books to overseas colonies, but also the transport of books between towns within Portugal, granting or refusing permission for them to move around the country.27

She further points out that in legal terms, the population of Brazil was precluded from acquiring and transporting any books other than those imported from Portugal with permission from the censors. This legal framework only changed in 1808 when the Portuguese royal court transferred to Brazil, sparking a considerable development in the colony’s cultural life, especially in Rio de Janeiro: the city had two bookshops in 1808, five in 1809, seven in 1812 and twelve in 1816.28 After this date, the crown established a Imprensa Régia, or royal print works, which held a monopoly on print and did occasional work for individuals and a handful of Rio de Janeiro booksellers.29 It can be argued that though the royal print works were undeniably an important symbolic step in Brazilian book history, in fact they only had a slight impact on publications in terms of quantity and variety. On the one hand, the state kept the presses busy by using the royal print works to produce books on topics of strategic importance for the government, legislative documents, posters, pamphlets, and the like; on the other, the technical infrastructure required for printing was still in short supply in Brazil. Meanwhile, the reading public managed to keep up with the latest European publications by more circuitous routes.

The readership may not have been large given the vastness of the territory, but it nonetheless weighed in the circulation of books and requests for shipping permission in the latter half of the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century. People in Rio de Janeiro, Maranhão, Pernambuco, Pará, and Minas Gerais were avid readers – in particular in Vila Rica, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Paraíba, Piauí, Rio Grande and São Paulo. Significantly,

more books were transported to Brazil than between Portuguese towns and far more than to other colonies […]. In a span of fifty years, people asked about sending books to Brazil on over 2,600 occasions – a figure that is particularly impressive considering that each request involved applying for permission to send dozens or even hundreds of books […]. The documents demonstrate that contrary to what might be thought, the Portuguese colony in the Americas was fully aware of the usefulness and pleasures of text.30

Of course, there were readers and libraries in Brazil as early as the sixteenth century, but they were few and far between. The libraries consisted largely of Latin works in the humanist tradition and European literature. Reading was first practiced in Brazil in the sixteenth century,31 but the major development came in the seventeenth century when “books on the natural sciences, mathematics, medicine, civil law and so on began to arrive, leading to a significant increase in the number of bookshops.”32

As was the case for Spain and its major possessions, the books exported from Portugal to Brazil were in the main religious works of devotion, liturgy, theology, and hagiography, together with classics, belles lettres, professional and scientific manuals, and – last but not least – Portuguese gazettes. When the Portuguese court arrived in Brazil in 1808, there was a sharp rise in the export of books, particularly to Rio de Janeiro, and in the number of applications to the censors. For 1808, Márcia Abreu gives the figure of 3,003 volumes and 851 titles overall. Requests for belles lettres increased by 250 %.

In the case of Spanish possessions in the Americas, the transatlantic book trade was highly professionalized and specialized. This was not the case for Portugal, despite the significant regular participation of booksellers and trade specialists publishing in Lisbon like the widow Bertrand, João Francisco Rolland, Diogo Bourgeois, and Paulo Martin, among others.33 Books were not necessarily sent to Brazil by book dealers and the Portuguese territories in the Americas did not have any mechanisms of control comparable to the Casa de Contratación or anything similar to its partnership with the Carrera de Indias (though the Mesa do Desembargo do Paço was in charge of checking export permissions of books bound for Brazil and inter-port traffic). According to Márcia Abreu, 58% of requests to the censors for book exports to Brazil, which came in their hundreds after 1808, stemmed from ordinary readers, priests, private individuals, and merchants not working in the book trade. Booksellers only accounted for 41.5% of exports. The figures from the Desembargo do Paço, which recorded requests made in Rio de Janeiro, are even more astonishing: 91.5% came from private individuals, and just 8.5% from bookshops. She concludes that booksellers were not the most important agents in the book market and circuit in colonial Brazil.34

Abreu further argues that the book trade also developed thanks to transatlantic collaborations between booksellers, some of which never put in requests to the Portuguese censors in their own name: they simply went via other bookshops and other traders. Such middlemen were relatively commonplace in the Rio de Janeiro-based book trade, where there was no shortage of churchmen, authorized book dealers, authorities, and high-ranking Portuguese state officials, or indeed of booksellers and distributors and salesmen working for bookshops.35 Some even worked on the subscription model. There was a fairly extensive network involved in the transport of thousands of books from Portugal to Brazil. Márcia Abreu calculates that from the latter half of the eighteenth century, “twenty-three booksellers and traders worked on transporting books between Portugal and Rio de Janeiro until 1807.”36

Books were sometimes paid for in kind with coffee, sugar, and hides. Booksellers would also sell these products, while other traders specializing in such goods also sold books alongside them, as in Spanish America. Readers in Rio could buy books at many places outside bookshops, including pharmacies, drapers, food shops selling “wet and dry goods,” as they were known in Portuguese, and even family homes, where booksellers sometimes lodged when in town.37 In Portugal, as in Spain, some booksellers were foreigners, including French booksellers in business in Lisbon – the widow Bertrand, João Francisco Rolland, João Batista Reycend, Jorge Rey, Borel & Cia, and others. Paulo Martins, a native of Tours, settled in Lisbon in 1777; his son lived in Rio de Janeiro. Diogo Bourgeois’s son João Roberto Bourgeois, was also in Rio. Diogo Curto has written that the French booksellers “collaborated, creating family links, borrowing money and developing their businesses together.”38 Luiz Carlos Villalta further points out that France had a powerful presence in the Portuguese book trade, both in the nature of the books themselves, the origins of the booksellers, and the collaborative trade between booksellers in Portugal and France in print and manuscripts that fell afoul of censorship in Portugal.39 He argues that though the Real Mesa Censória drew up an Index Expurgatorius to control books entering and leaving Portugal and its territories, and though the censors, the General Intendancy of Police, and Inquisition sought to control heretical thinking, banned printed books and manuscripts still entered the country from outside, especially France. Furthermore, banned print and manuscript was still produced within Portugal itself. The procedures brought in for the Casa de Revisão at the time of the Real Mesa Censória forced booksellers to supply lists of the books they exported, but these were largely ineffective in combating the circulation of banned books.

This raises the issue of smuggling practices that provided readers with books. As Villalta notes, booksellers used a range of tricks to get around the censors, such as importing unbound sheets inside books that had been granted permission by the authorities. The loose leaves were then bound in Portugal with covers similar to those used on Portuguese books. Books were also smuggled in with other goods, lists of books presented at customs deliberately left out banned titles, and false addresses, double-bottomed chests, and simulated thefts on ships were used to avoid passing books through customs, among other techniques.

It is likely that similar tricks were used in Brazil, which may explain why so many banned books were available there. When Brazil achieved independence in 1822, the French, Swiss, and Germans played a key role on the Brazilian book market, which attracted printers from the three countries, particularly to Rio de Janeiro. Some of them introduced innovations that made their mark on the history of books and reading, including Leuzinger from Switzerland, Laemmert from Germany, and Bossange, Plancher, Villeneuve, Aillaud and Baptiste-Louis Garnier from France, who worked in Rio as typesetters, printers, engravers, and booksellers.

While it is undeniably true that books did circulate in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Americas, it remains to be seen what cultural issues they addressed in the Atlantic space where people came together from across the world, following the transatlantic trade which was now worldwide in scope.

Second Act – Books in Atlantic History

A Tool for Transcultural Exchange

Conquering the Americas was a vast economic, religious, intellectual, and political undertaking that had a profound impact on European thought and the continent’s relationship with other parts of the world. Contacts with the New World, the growth of new networks, and the exchange of men, goods, books, ideas, and values, all opened a new chapter in the construction of European modernity. The process of Europeanization in Spanish and Portuguese America influenced the practice of political domination and cultural subjection, but it also shaped Europe in turn, as new vistas opened up in knowledge, languages, beliefs, history, literature, culture, and creation, all now accessible to the social subjects of this history thanks to the reciprocal links that emerged between the Old and New Worlds.

These cross-border openings enabled transfers and contacts between seemingly incompatible realms, often building unusual forms of mediation and helping establish their borders.40 Societies in Europe and the Americas shared in the same adventure as men and books journeyed between Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia, discovering unfamiliar worlds, cultures and lifestyles far beyond Europe and the Americas. Some individuals experienced inter-cultural contact directly by means of travel, others indirectly through contact with other people, books, cultural practices, beliefs, and institutions. This process was facilitated by a range of contact agents, from traders, missionaries, and chroniclers to booksellers, printers, authors, and translators, sailors, explorers, slaves, indigenous people, and individuals of mixed race. Contrary to a long-held belief, such communications and exchanges were not a one-way street: recent research has highlighted the longstanding literary tradition in Spanish America and recognized that “the magnificent works produced during the viceregal period have been too long overlooked by exegetes seeking a more conventional history of belles lettres in Spanish America.”41 The same is true of Portugal’s American colony, and not only in the field of literature: significant work was carried out in theology, history, the natural sciences, cosmography and ethnography, contributing to processes of knowledge transfer and cultural métissage which used books as their main conduit.

In the literary field, one work in particular has come to symbolize cultural transfer and the actuality of the books read in the New World in symbiosis with Europe: Don Quixote. There is some controversy over precisely how many copies were sent to and indeed arrived in Spanish America,42 but it is known that in 1605, the year it was published in Spain, hundreds of copies left Spain bound for Lima, Cuzco, Mexico, Cartagena, and even Santo Domingo,43 the most peripheral of the Spanish possessions in the Americas. Cervantes’s masterpiece, which won immediate popularity, was indeed available in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Americas. Its circulation demonstrates the role of agents such as Juan de Sarriá, a publisher in Alcalá de Henares, who sent copies to the Americas via his son and his Peru-based associate Miguel Mendéz, who received and distributed the books in partnership with Sarriá’s son. Don Quixote traveled across the Americas by boat or mule, alongside further works by Cervantes and Siglo de Oro authors like Caldéron de la Barca, chivalric romances including Rodrigo de Montalvo’s famous Amadis de Gaule, other works in prose and verse, Lope de Vega’s comedies, Renaissance books, Fernando de Rojas’s Celestina, Spanish and American epic poetry, plays, and so on.

Works of literature also found eager readers in Brazil, where censorship44 proved little hindrance to the circulation of books and authors like Abelard and Heloise’s Letters, Don Quixote, La Fontaine’s Fables, the Adventures of Telemachus, Gil Blas, Santillane, Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, Voltaire’s Candide, William Tell, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, an edition of Plutarch for young readers, Gonzaga’s Marília de Dirceu, Boccaccio, Boileau, Molière, Corneille, and Racine.

While the Americas were reading European authors, Spain and Portugal were publishing and reading Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s epic La Florida del Ynca, printed in 1605, the same year as the first edition of Don Quixote. The epic was on a list of books sent to a Cartagena trader in 1621. Also read were poets such as the Mexican Creole author Juana Inés de la Cruz, Cláudio Manoel de Costa, Friar José de Santa Rita Durão, the Brazilian Tomás Antonio Gonzaga, and the Peruvian Friar Diego de Hogeda, among others. All these authors either studied in Europe, like Cláudo Manoel da Costa and Tomás Antonio Gonzaga, who studied law in Coimbra, or with their religious order, like Juana Inés de la Cruz, José de Santa Rita Durão and Diego de Hogeda. Others discovered European thought through contact with religious figures, either in the Americas or in Europe. One such was Garcilaso de la Vega himself,45 the son of an Inca princess and a Spanish conquistador, who was given a refined education in Peru before traveling to Spain, where he joined the humanist intellectual circles in Seville and Córdoba. The life of the poet Friar José de Santa Rita Durão, the father of Indianist literature in Brazil, was similar in many ways. He was educated at the Jesuit college and with the Augustinian order in Rio de Janeiro before studying theology and philosophy at the University of Coimbra. Juana Inés de la Cruz, on the other hand, was self-taught, learning Latin, Portuguese, and Nahuatl, and reading the Greek and Latin classics before joining a religious order. Diego de Hojeda, a doctor of theology, was born in Seville but moved to Peru at a young age, becoming a Dominican. He wrote the epic La Cristiada, published in Seville in 1616, which won him instant consecration as one of the great writers of the Siglo de Oro.

The politically active poets Cláudio Manoel da Costa and Tomás Antonio Gonzaga (the latter born in Portugal but brought up in Brazil) both faced opprobrium in the eighteenth century for taking part in the most significant opposition movement to the Portuguese crown in the colonial period, the Inconfidência Mineira. Their private libraries and those of other members of the movement are still studied in the context of their polemical readings of Machiavelli, Rousseau, Voltaire, Raynal and Mably and the Enlightenment ideas that inspired them.46 Tomás Antônio Gonzaga’s poems were printed in four editions in Lisbon between 1792 and 1800, one selling 2,000 copies, according to Hallewell.47 Some such works were undeniably more successful than others, but they nonetheless demonstrate a two-way cultural exchange of print and ideas and foreground the transcultural role of books in particular. The style and intellectual references may reflect the canons of Western thought, but the majority of the intellectual output produced in the Americas drew on cultural, political, and social references rooted in the colonies, making them objects of knowledge for other readers, in Europe and elsewhere. Books and ideas were shared and made their mark on both sides of the Atlantic.

The printer and cosmographer Heinrich Martin is a fine example of this process. He settled in Mexico, where, as Serge Gruzinski has discussed,48 he wrote a scientific treatise, the Repertorio de los tiempos [Repertoire of the Times], published in 1606 by his own print works. The treatise disseminated knowledge on astronomy, astrology, cosmography, and history using the repertory model, such that, for instance, he was only interested in history insofar as it confirmed events foretold.

As royal cosmographer, a title he was granted by the crown of Castile, Martin had teaching duties. He had a broad vision of the world, typical, Gruzinski writes, of the sixteenth-century “thirst for knowledge”; he had closely studied Abraham Ortelius’s 1570 Theatrum orbis terrarium49 and reversed its perspective in his Repertorio. Where Ortelius placed Antwerp and the Brabant region at the center of his world view, Heinrich used other references, Mexico and New Spain, as Gruzinski points out:

Even better than a map of the world, the table of Heinrich Martin confronted the reader with the planetary dimension of Spanish domination […]. The viewpoint here is Mexican, and the list of cities of the world overwhelmingly American: Mexico is represented by 32 places, South and Central America by 35, including three in Brazil and five in the Caribbean, whereas a mere sixteen towns represent Spain and fewer than a dozen Asia. Martin managed to specify a viewpoint which combined the local – the meridian of Mexico City – and the universal, while basing himself firmly in the American continent. This was a silent revolution in relation to the Eurocentric bias of the atlases and treatises of the Old World.50

Martin drew on ancient Mexican traditions, particularly in astronomy. He also made use of scholarship in mathematics, astronomy, cosmography, and navigation available in Mexico in works imported by traders and booksellers and held in libraries in “the cloisters of the mendicant orders, at the university or among the Jesuits.”51 These included treatises of cosmography and astronomy from Antiquity, including Ptolemy’s Almagest, alongside Copernicus’s On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres. Heinrich may have clung to the geocentric theory, but he nonetheless had access to one of the major works of the heliocentric canon, at odds with his good relationship with the Holy Office. The German scholar who became the king of Spain’s cosmographer, then a bookseller and printer in Mexico, may indeed have witnessed the expansion of Spain’s Catholic empire towards the Pacific and South Atlantic, shaping his “continental and maritime vision,” as Gruzinski writes, but he clearly still bore in mind Mexico’s own past, making use of pre-Hispanic sources such as indigenous chronicles, calendars, and annals. He began from the principle that indigenous history was based on the same explicative process as European history and that disasters were always foretold in astrological signs and predictions – as confirmed by the Mexican prediction of the Spanish arrival in the New World. Gruzinski underlines that Heinrich Martin carried out a further reversal of perspective in turning ethnocentric European historiography on its head.

Books on history and natural history, medicine, and geography were also important conduits for sharing knowledge across the Atlantic. Heinrich Martin’s case demonstrates that many Mexican libraries possessed recent works of European scholarship. Spain and Portugal sent their American possessions scientific texts, both antique and modern, while others were smuggled in. The Brazilian naturalist José Vieira Couto,52 born in the Tejuco region where the Portuguese crown ran diamond mines, studied philosophy in Coimbra. His library contained a range of titles on physics, mathematics, natural history, medicine, law, arts, politics, philosophy, history, and literature, as well as grammar books and dictionaries. Of his 232 books in 601 volumes, most were “directly connected to the practice of medicine and the fields of knowledge underlying a study of nature, with a focus on mineralogy and chemistry.”53 Similarly, the Brazilian botanist Friar Mariano da Conceição Veloso oversaw the much-admired Arco do Cego print works in Lisbon in 1799-1801, bringing together a group of Brazilian authors to produce and publish works on technical topics including agriculture, medicine, natural history, nautical science, etc.54

Across the Americas, several books in wide circulation were in fact written locally and sent for publication in Portugal or Spain, making remarkable scientific contributions to European knowledge of the New World, not only on points relevant to the imperial powers, but also on all sorts of phenomena of general interest. Tropical medicine treatises were written in Brazil and published in Lisbon, such as Simão de Pinheiro Mourão’s 1683 Tratado único das bexigas e do sarampo [Single Treatise on Smallpox and Measles], João Ferreira da Rosa’s 1694 Tratado único da constituição pestilencial de Pernambuco [Single Treatise on the Pestilential Constitution of Pernambuco],55 and the Portuguese-born Augustinian friar Antônio do Rosário’s 1702 Frutas do Brasil [Fruits of Brazil], which describes Brazilian fruits and their curative properties, highlighting nature’s almost divine luxuriance in Brazil. This book has been considered a precursor to Brazilian nativism.56

Works of history and chronicles were likewise written in the Americas and published either locally or in Spain or Portugal by authors who spent most or all of their life in the colonies, studying them from various angles. In 1576, Pero de Magalhães Gândavo published his História da Província de Santa Cruz, a que vulgarmente chamamos Brasil [History of the Province of Santa Cruz, Familiarly Known as Brazil] in Lisbon; in 1573, Gabriel Soares de Souza wrote a Tratado descritivo do Brasil [Descriptive Treatise on Brazil], published in Brazil in the nineteenth century. Both authors were Portuguese in origin but wrote about Brazil, giving detailed descriptions of its physical geography and wealth and focusing on the ethnography of its indigenous peoples. José de Acosta published a Historia natural y moral de las Indias [Natural and Moral History of the Indies] in Mexico in 1590, which was a great success and was translated across Europe.57

In 1609, barely three years after the publication of Heinrich Martin’s Repertorio, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega published his renowned Comentarios reales [Royal Commentaries], which sought to uncover the traces of Andean civilization. 1627 saw the publication of what is now considered the first history of Brazil, by Friar Vicente Salvador: variant versions of the manuscript58 were widely available, but it took more than a century for the work to be formally published and it only reached a significant readership in the nineteenth century. Friar Simão de Vasconcelos published his Crônica da Companhia de Jesus do Estado do Brasil [Chronicle of the Jesuits in Brazil] in 1663: the introduction was initially censored and was eventually published separately in 1668 as the Notícias curiosas e necessárias das cousas do Brasil [Curious and Necessary News on Brazilian Affairs]. Sebastião da Rocha Pitta’s História da América Portuguesa [History of Portuguese America], published in 1730, is considered by most historians to be the first printed history of Brazil. In 1761, the Franciscan friar Antônio de Maria Jaboatão printed his Orbe seráfico novo brazílico ou crônica dos frades menores da Província do Brasil [Seraphic Orb of New Brazil or Chronicle of the Friars Minor in the Province of Brazil]: his works had been printed in Lisbon since 1751.

All these books written by members of religious orders are a reminder that evangelization was common ground shared by the Spanish and Portuguese colonizers, whose consequences for New World societies have been amply documented. It was also fertile soil for inter-cultural exchanges based on books. Where books traveled, traders and missionaries did likewise. Missionaries in Hispanic and Portuguese America helped consolidate colonial power in the region while bringing Christianity to the continent; they were also active in promoting cultural transformations and exchanges between the Old and New Worlds. Together, the colonial and missionary power played into what Mary Louise Pratt has called the emergence of a new “planetary consciousness”59 among Europeans and the indigenous, black, and mixed-race population of the Americas.

The teaching, reading and editorial practices behind the publication of major manuscripts, the establishment of richly furnished libraries, ethnographic and linguistic studies, and translations all gave missionaries a position that offered direct access to culture and influence over communities with and without written culture. Missionaries opened up access for both categories to culture and alterity and ways to build bridges between them.

Several descriptions of America were by members of religious orders who were also active in learning and translating indigenous languages and in teaching Portuguese. In Brazil, the Jesuits Manoel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta set out to apply a system to language use with a view to conversion, creating uniformity by means of a “general language” rooted in both Tupi and canonical Latin grammar. The aim was to overcome the wide range of dialects and adapt to indigenous customs and culture.60 José de Anchieta’s A arte da gramática da língua mais usada na costa do Brasil [Art of Grammar of the Language Most Widely Spoken Along the Coast of Brazil] was published in 1595, but had been circulating as a manuscript since 1556;61 the Catecismo na Língua Brasílica [Catechism in the Brazilian Tongue] was published in 1618. In 1621, the Jesuits brought out a Tupi grammar. All these attempts at linguistic acculturation62 called for “an effort to enter the Other’s imaginary,”63 in the words of Alfredo Bosi who considered that acculturation was a form of translation. Missionaries encountered opposing symbolic spheres, allowing them to gain knowledge of indigenous societies and thereby become aware of their own distance from their original Eurocentric perspective. This led to clashes with “the cultivated European consciousness,” as Bosi put it, and with the Portuguese state, causing a rift due to the collaboration between men of the church and indigenous peoples. It is no coincidence that the Marquis of Pombal’s confrontation with the Jesuits led him in 1758 to ban the use of the “general language” invented by such missionaries, now his rivals.

While their interest in ethnography cannot be separated from their efforts at conversion, attempts at cultural openness promoted by missionaries were clearly helped by the new communication technologies bringing the administrative elite, settlers, travelers, and indigenous peoples into contact and stirring interest in the culture of the Americas outside the Iberian realm. Father Fernão Cardim’s book is one example: having lived in Bahia and Rio, he wrote the Tratados da terra e da gente do Brasil [Treatises on the Land and Peoples of Brazil] in 1584, containing much remarkable ethnological information on indigenous customs. According to Curto, the treatises were first published in England in 162564 in a collection of travel narratives by Samuel Purchas building on Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations. Fernão Cardim’s manuscript skipped publication in Lisbon altogether at that stage.

There are other instances of transcultural movement, like the presence of mixed-race individuals who studied with religious orders, learning Latin and canonical Western culture. They, too, published their writings in the major European centers of culture and print, like the Mexican Franciscans Diego Valadés and Pedro Juan Antonio.65 Valadés was the author of Rhetorica Christiana, a study of evangelization and missions published in 1579 in Perugia with the pope’s backing. Antonio published a Latin grammar, Arte de la lengua latina [Art of the Latin Language], in Barcelona in 1574.

Final Act

This article will conclude by layering past and present to locate the travels of the book in the Atlantic space and its development in Latin America. I will close by discussing an eighteenth-century Portuguese adventurer, Simeão de Oliveira e Souza,66 and book piracy in twenty-first century Peru.

Simeão was born in Lisbon, where he studied at a Jesuit college before setting out for Rio at the age of seventeen. There he began a life of religious and cultural adventure. He moved from Rio to the colony of Sacramento, then to Buenos Aires and Córdoba, where he took the Franciscan habit. He eventually left the order for others in various parts of Latin America, leaving holy orders altogether at certain times. He spent time in Salta, Potosí, and Charcas; he traveled across Peru and Chile. He joined several religious orders, such as the Dominican Blessed Mother of Alerces, the order of Saint John of God, before returning to the Franciscans. He was arrested in Peru for apostasy but was allowed to return to Lisbon, where he married. But that was not the end of his adventuring. He next traveled to Cape Verde, Madeira, Algiers, and other places. In all he was known by sixteen different names, was by turns Franciscan, Dominican, Augustinian, and Presbyterian, and declared himself to be both Lutheran and Jewish. He held masses, took confession, read many religious texts and developed his own religious cosmology – a syncretic blend of Hinduism, Judaism, and Protestantism in a Christian framework. He was arrested by the Inquisition three times and exiled to India and Angola. He returned to Lisbon late in life, where he worked as a Latin teacher and disseminated his ideas. His life story has much to teach us about geographical mobility within colonial spaces and the inter-cultural transfers and syntheses that books and travel have enabled in a wide range of contexts.

For Adriana Romeiro, Simeão, like others of his time, reasoned, based on his own experience of cultural and religious diversity, that all beliefs are equal in value. He was thus an early advocate for religious tolerance, taking a relativistic approach to the importance and hierarchy of cultures. The spaces of liberty that such individuals found within Iberian expansionism from the sixteenth century on fed into the following centuries in various ways: after the nineteenth-century wave of independence in Latin America, they continued to host various cultural groups and communities, combining with cultural dynamics that could almost be described as mischievous. Books and the book market are by no means exempt from these issues, which demonstrate how longstanding practices can take on a new lease of life.

Book piracy in modern-day Peru can be seen as an emblematic example of the paths taken by books in Latin America which allow for new forms of cultural experiment, tied in with the new realities of globalization and its economic challenges. The book piracy industry in Peru is now worth 40% of the country’s total publishing output.67 It is a $52 million market, printing books in multiple runs of a thousand copies three times cheaper than standard publishing and selling three times as much. It generates far more employment than “official” publishing and its profits are equal to the total profit of the country’s entire mainstream publishing businesses. All over the suburbs of Lima are small print shops running off books with cheap equipment and selling them on the black market for one third of the official price. These volumes are widely sold by peddlers: a large market in Lima, known locally as the “book paradise,” houses 250 book stalls selling “new” and second-hand books. The covers are sometimes unrelated to the content and texts are printed under the names of best-selling authors, whether they in fact wrote them or not.

We are not so far removed from Mr. Todd, who, alone in his exotic paradise, turned it into a small capitalist dot on the map, using all the means at his disposal to open even the most remote community up to the world of books.

  1. Professor, Department of History, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Research Fellow (CNPq), Brazil.
  2. The author wishes to acknowledge the CNPq’s financial support for the research presented in this article.
  3. Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust (London: Chapman and Hall, 1934).
  4. Waugh, A Handful of Dust, 208.
  5. Waugh, 209.
  6. See Pedro J. Rueda Ramírez, “Libros a la mar: el libro en las redes comerciales de la Carrera de Indias,” in Libro y lectura en la península ibérica y América. Siglos XIII a XVIII, ed. Antonio Castillo Gómez (Salamanca: Junta de Castilla y León, Consejería de Cultura y Turismo, 2003), 207. This text was very useful, particularly on the issue of the book trade between Spain and its American colonies, as was Pedro J. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural: el comercio de libros con América en la Carrera de Indias (siglo XVII) (Seville: Diputación de Sevilla, Universidad de Sevilla, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos, 2005). See also the article by Renán Silva in this issue.
  7. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 190.
  8. Irving A. Leonard, Books of the Brave (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
  9. See Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural.
  10. Rueda Ramírez, “Libros a la mar,” 192.
  11. Rueda Ramírez, “Libros a la mar,” 196.
  12. Rueda Ramírez, “Libros a la mar,” 193.
  13. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 122.
  14. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 216.
  15. For a reverse reading of Peru’s cultural vitality, see Pedro M. Guibovich Pérez, Censura, libros e inquisición en el Perú colonial, 1570-1754 (Seville: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Escuela de estudios Hispano-Americanos, Universidad de Sevilla, Diputación de Sevilla, 2003).
  16. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 139-140.
  17. Emma Rivas Mata, “Impresores y mercaderes de libros en la ciudad de México, siglo XVIII,” in Del autor al lector. Historia del libro en México, ed. Carmen Castañeda (Mexico City: CIESAS, 2002), 71-102.
  18. Rivas Mata, “Impresores y mercaderes de libros en la ciudad de México,” 98.
  19. Serge Gruzinski, What Time Is It There? America and Islam at the Dawn of Modern Times, trans. Jean Birrell (Cambridge: Polity, 2010), 13.
  20. See Francisco La Maza, Enrico Martínez, cosmógrafo e impresor de Nueva España (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1943 [UNAM, 1989]), 14. Also, Serge Gruzinski, What Time Is It There?, 165.
  21. Laurence Hallewell, Books in Brazil: A History of the Publishing Trade (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1982), 10.
  22. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 102.
  23. Hallewell, Books in Brazil, 2 ff.
  24. Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 101.
  25. Rueda Ramírez, 10 and 14-29. See also Rubens Borba de Moraes, O bibliófilo aprendiz (São Paulo: Cia Nacional, 1965), 191.
  26. There is some unsubstantiated evidence of a bookshop in Rio catering for the Portuguese royal family: see Rubens Borba de Moraes, Livros e bibliotecas no Brasil colonial (Rio de Janeiro: Livros Técnicos e Científicos; São Paulo: Secretaria de Cultura, Ciência e Tecnologia, 1979), 57-60; id., O bibliófilo aprendiz.
  27. Márcia Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros (Campinas, São Paulo: Mercado de Letras, ABL, FAPESP, 2003), 23. This section draws heavily on this book and on Rubens Borba de Moraes, Livros e bibliotecas no Brasil colonial.
  28. Hallewell, Books in Brazil, 25.
  29. On the Imprensa Régia, see Hallewell, Books in Brazil, 31 ff and “A impressão régia no Rio de Janeiro: origens e produção,” in Rubens Borba de Moraes and Ana Maria de Almeida Camargos, Bibliografia da impressão régia do Rio de Janeiro (São Paulo: EDUSP, Kosmos, 1993).
  30. Márcia Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros, 27.
  31. Jorge de Souza Araújo, “O perfil do leitor colonial,” Artes e literatura – Revista de cultura Vozes 4 (1989), 430-457.
  32. See Álvaro de Araújo Antunes, Espelho de cem faces. O universo relacional de um advogado setencentista (São Paulo: Annablume, PPFH/UFMG, 2004), 85. See also on Minas Gerais, Luís Carlos Villalta, “Reformismo Ilustrado, censura e práticas de leitura: usos do livro na América portuguesa” (PhD diss., University of São Paulo, 1999).
  33. Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros, 140-156. On this topic and the distribution and consumption of books in colonial Brazil, see also Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva, “Livro e sociedade no Rio de Janeiro (1808-1821),” Revista de História 94 (1973), 441-457; id., Cultura e sociedade no Rio de Janeiro (1808-1821) (São Paulo: Cia. Editora Nacional, 1978); id., O império luso-brasileiro (1750-1822) (Lisbon: Estampa, 1986).
  34. Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros, 156.
  35. Nizza da Silva, “Livro e sociedade no Rio de Janeiro (1808-1821).”
  36. Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros, 115.
  37. Abreu, 156.
  38. Diogo Ramada Curto, Cultura imperial e projetos coloniais (séculos XVI a XVIII) (Campinas: Editora da Unicamp, 2009), 216 ff; Luiz Carlos Villalta, “Os livreiros, os ‘livros’ proibidos e as livrarias em Portugal, sob o olhar do Antigo Regime (1753-1807),” in Livros e impressos: retratos dos setecentos e dos oitocentos, ed. Lúcia Bastos Pereira das Neves (Rio de Janeiro: EDUerj, FAPERJ, 2009), 223-268.
  39. Luiz Carlos Villalta, “Romances e leituras proibidas no mundo luso-brasileiro (1740-1802),” in Trajetórias do romance: circulação, leitura e escrita nos séculos XVIII e XIX, ed. Márcia Abreu (Campinas, Mercado de Letras, 2008), 243-274.
  40. Berta Ares Queija and Serge Gruzinski, “Presentación,” in Entre dos mundos. Fronteras culturales y agentes mediadores, eds. Berta Ares Queija and Serge Gruzinski (Seville: Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos, 1997), 10. See also Serge Gruzinski and Nathan Wachtel, Le Nouveau Monde, Mondes nouveaux. L’expérience américaine (Paris: Éd. Recherches sur les Civilisations, Éd. de l’EHESS, 1996); Rui Manuel Loureiro and Serge Gruzinski, ed., Passar as fronteiras. Actas do II Colóquio Internacional sobre mediadores culturais (Lagos: Centro de Estudos Gil Eanes, 1999); Louise Bénat Tachot and Serge Gruzinski, ed., Passeurs culturels. Mécanismes de métissage (Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l‘homme, Presses universitaires de Marne-la-Vallée, 2001).
  41. Rolena Adorno, “Introduction,” in Irving A. Leonard, Books of the Brave, xxv.
  42. Leonard, Books of the Brave, 290 ff; Francisco Rodriguez Marín, El “Quijote” y Don Quijote en América (Madrid, 1911), quoted in Leonard, Books of the Brave; José Montero Reguera, “La recepción del Quijote en Hispanoamérica (siglos XVII al XIX),“ Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 500 (1992), 135-140; Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 233-236; Carlos Alberto González Sánchez, “El libro y la Carrera de Indias: registros de ida de navíos,” Archivo Hispalense 220 (1989), 93-103. It has even been hypothesized that the very first edition, which later became the third part of the complete volume, was sent to Spanish America.
  43. See Rueda Ramírez, Negocio e intercambio cultural, 141.
  44. See Villalta, “Os livreiros, os ‘livros’ proibidos e as livrarias,” 223-268. See also Villalta, “Romances e leituras proibidas no mundo luso-brasileiro (1740-1802)”; Abreu, Os caminhos dos livros.
  45. See Carmen Bernand, Un Inca platonicien, Garcilaso de la Vega, 1539-1616 (Paris: Fayard, 2006).
  46. On the library of one member of the movement confiscated by the Portuguese crown authorities, see Eduardo Frieiro, O diabo na Livraria do Cônego (Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia; São Paulo: Ed. USP, 1981). For a reading counter to the argument that the movement was inspired by French Enlightenment ideas, see João Pinto Furtado, O manto de Penélope. História, mito e memória da Inconfidência Mineira de 1788-9 (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2002).
  47. Hallewell, Books in Brazil, 18.
  48. This part on Heinrich Martin draws on Serge Gruzinski’s fascinating book What Time Is It There?
  49. The Theatrum orbis terrarum was the first printed atlas, marking a key step in the history of depictions of the globe. Gruzinski, What Time Is It There?, 60 ff.
  50. Gruzinski, 67.
  51. Gruzinski, 41.
  52. Júnia Ferreira Furtado, “Sedição, heresia e rebelião nos trópicos: a biblioteca do naturalista José Vieira Couto,” in Política, nação e edição. O lugar dos impressos na construção da vida política, eds. Eliana de Freitas Dutra and Jean-Yves Mollier (São Paulo: Annablume, 2006), 69-86. This compilation was translated into French as Eliana de Freitas Dutra and Jean-Yves Mollier, eds., L’imprimé dans la construction de la vie politique. Brésil, Europe, Amériques, XVIIIe-XXe siècle (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016).
  53. Furtado, “Sedição, heresia e rebelião nos trópicos,” 75.
  54. Caio César Boschi, “Política e edição. Os naturais do Brasil nas reformistas oficinas do Arco do Cego,” in Política, nação e edição, 495-510. See also the article by Diogo Ramada Curto in this issue.
  55. Hallewell, Books in Brazil, 18. Hallewell lists 91 Brazilian publications based on information from Barbosa Machado’s Biblioteca lusitana.
  56. Analysis has shown that the book follows a Biblical travel narrative model. See Carla Maria Junho Anastasia, “As Frutas do Brasil, de Frei Antônio do Rosário, e as formas simbólicas do poder monárquico,” in Sons, formas, cores e movimentos na modernidade atlântica: Europa, Américas e África, ed. Júnia Ferreira Furtado (São Paulo: Annablume, 2008), 219-226.
  57. Gruzinski, What Time Is It There?, 86.
  58. This is unsurprising since, as Gruzinski comments, “the Iberian information on America remained for the most part in manuscript until the nineteenth century, including the principal treatises on the indigenous societies, the reports of the administration and the Church and the early chronicles of the religious orders. The circulation of manuscripts continued to provide a preferred route to knowledge in Europe and America as well as in the Muslim world,” What Time Is It There?, 76.
  59. Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York and London: Routledge, 1992), 29.
  60. Diogo Ramada Curto, Cultura imperial e projetos coloniais. Alfredo Bosi, “Anchieta ou as flechas opostas do sagrado,” in Dialética da colonização (São Paulo: Cia das letras, 1998), 64-93.
  61. Serafim Leite, História da Companhia de Jesus no Brasil (Lisbon: Livraria Portugalia; Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1938), II:556 and 560; Curto, Cultura imperial e projetos coloniais, 49.
  62. This concept is borrowed from the author for its flexibility and compatibility with the concept of transculturation as expressed by Fernando Ortiz.
  63. Alfredo Bosi, “Anchieta ou as flechas opostas do sagrado,” 65.
  64. Curto, Cultura imperial e projetos coloniais, 249.
  65. Gruzinski, “Passer les frontières: déplacer les frontières au Mexique (1560-1580),” in Passar as fronteiras, 212 and 218; Gruzinski, What Time Is It There?, 37.
  66. His life was explored by Adriana Romeiro, “As aventuras de um viajante no império português: trocas culturais e tolerância religiosa no século XVIII,” in O trabalho mestiço. Maneiras de pensar formas de viver. Séculos XVI a XIX, eds. Eduardo França Paiva and Carla Maria Junho Anastasia (São Paulo: Annablume, 2002), 483-484.
  67. See Fernanda Mena, “Pirataria de livros no Peru se espalha pela América Latina,” Folha de São Paulo, March 20, 2010.

Cite: Eliana de Freitas Dutra, “The Atlantic Space and Global Civilization: The History and Development of the Book in Latin America,” Lingua Franca, Issue 7 (2021), https://sharpweb.org/linguafranca/2021-Dutra.