Son of a Portuguese and a freed Angolan slave woman, Domingos Caldas Barbosa was educated in a Jesuit school in Rio, where he showed an early talent for rhymes that often got him into trouble. After being conscripted and sent to the Portuguese colony of Sacramento, he returned to Rio and from there traveled to Lisbon, where he came under noble patronage. A frequent guest and entertainer in high society, he was widely known by his literary name, Lereno. The first Brazilian music to be heard in Portugal, his lively African-inspired lunduns and modinhas, with musical accompaniment on his guitar, were extremely popular in Portugal—so popular, in fact, that he was a source of aggravation for Bocage, Portugal’s most distinguished poet at the time. The book on display is a collection of pamphlets that were published during his lifetime. The poem displayed is about the coita or suffering at the hands of love. According to bibliographic sources, there are few copies of this first edition in existence.
On loan from the library of Professor Emeritus Heitor Martins.