Monteiro Lobato

José Bento Monteiro Lobato . Intellectual. He was one of the most influential writers of children’s literature in Brazil during the 20th century and a pioneer in this field of literature in his country.


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Studies
    • 2 Literary life
    • 3 Political activity
    • 4 Death
  • 2 Outstanding works
  • 3 Sources

Biographical synthesis

The Brazilian writer was born in Taubaté (a city in the interior of São Paulo) on April 18 , 1882 . His grandfather the Viscount of Tremembé owned land in a region of declining agriculture and economy beginning in the late 19th century . Monteiro Lobato’s mother was the Viscount’s illegitimate daughter.

Its rural origin seems to have maintained a well-tuned sensibility with internal characters, situations and landscapes. His masterful stories revolve around the identity of this peasant, the controversial jeca tatu , inevitably run over by progress, who in the first decades of the 20th century ruined small cities in the interior of São Paulo.


Like all the young people of his social class, Monteiro Lobato studied law and graduated in 1904. In 1907 he was appointed public promoter in another small city in the interior of São Paulo, Areias , and there he lived for some years. With the death of his grandfather in 1911, Monteiro Lobato inherited the farm to which he moved with his family in 1908. From there he sent articles for the press, collaborating with the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo and with the Revista do Brasil . Both were vehicles of great circulation and of solid respectability.

Literary life

After working as a solicitor in the São Paulo town of Areias, he returned to the capital in 1911 and gave himself completely to the management of his own family’s assets. Monteiro Lobato combined the profession of attorney with that of editor, became the owner of the Revista do Brasil and founded, in 1919, the National Publishing Company .

In that same year it sold more than four thousand copies. In 1918 the Urupês newspaper had three editions, reaching the stupendous figure of five thousand copies, republished the following year, in 1919 the work seems to have reached twelve thousand copies. Cidades Mortas sold 4 thousand during the year of their launch, and both books (Urupês and Cidades Mortas) were reissued in 1920, when together with the new title Negrinha , they continued their successful career, totaling 20 thousand copies in 1920.

During his student years he formed a literary group called O Minarete , and met the writer Godofredo Rangel , with whom he corresponded for more than thirty years, later compiled in the book La barca de Gleyre, of 1944.

He was one of the most influential writers of children’s literature in Brazil during the 20th century. Founder in this field of literature in his country, he gained popularity for the educational, as well as fun, nature of the works he directed to this audience, which make up half of his total literary production. The other half is made up of numerous stories, articles, critiques, a study on the importance of oil and a single novel, The Black President, in which he exposes his ideas on eugenics, racial and gender superiority.

Political activity

From 1927 to 1931 he worked as a businessman in New York . The Rio writer was impressed by the economic system in the United States, and tried to create an oil company in his country, opposing Getúlio Vargas’ guidelines . Monteiro was forced into exile in Buenos Aires, and could not return to Brazil until 1941.

The intellectual already in Argentina joined the movement of modernism, and cultivated the rural themes and the naturalistic style typical of this trend. He participated in the ideas of the “philosophy of national identity”, and vehemently opposed the introduction into Brazilian culture of the forms of European avant-gardeism. This was evident in the articles published in the Estado do São Paulo newspaper.

Despite his intense political activity, Monteiro Lobato was basically known for collections on Brazilian folklore and children’s books. He devoted himself to children’s literature in works of great imagination, in which he used fiction resources as didactic vehicles for various teaching subjects.

In his children’s creations, where his moralistic character and his fight for the interests of Brazil are present, he fuses the fantastic and the pedagogical. The magical universe is a kind of metaphor for his country, for the facets and problems of the people.


Monteiro Lobato died, victim of a stroke on 4 of July of 1948 , leaving a legacy of people who have had and will have contact with the stories of Jeca Tatu Saci , Emilia Doll , The Vicomte de Sabugosa , among many other works. Lobato was known as “El Tornado Botocúndia” and occupied a primordial place in the history of American literature.

Outstanding works

  • A Chave Do Tamanho
  • A Reforma Da Natureza
  • Arithmetic Da Emilia
  • Cacadas de Pedrinho
  • Emilia No Pais Da Gramatica
  • O Black President Ou O Shock Das Racas
  • Reinacoes de Narizinho
  • Viagem Ao Ceu eo Saci
  • Picapau Amarelo
  • Reinações de Narizinho
  • As caçadas de Pedrinho


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