The first three volumes of the series were launched at the Brazilian Academy of Letters during 2010 and 2011. On February 4th 2011 they were launched jointly at Brown University at the invitation of Luiz Valente, Professor of Portuguese Language and Comparative Literature, in the presence of the Brazilian Consul General from Hartford.

The books were offered by the State Governor of Rio de Janeiro as a gift to President Obama on his official visit to the city in March 2011.

The fourth volume was launched at the Museu da Republica (previously the Presidential Palace) in December 2011.

The Enchanting Souls of the Streets/A Alma Encantadora das Ruas by João do Rio (the pen name of Paulo Barreto), a collection of articles about life on the streets of the city originally published between 1905 and 1907;

Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant/Memórias de um Sargento de Milícias by Manuel Antônio de Almeida, the only work of fiction that depicts life in the city during the years it was home to the Royal Portuguese Court under Dom João VI (1808-1821);

The Old House/Casa Velha by Machado de Assis. This short novel set in 1839, depicts life in an aristocratic household at the end of the turbulent years of the Regency. It is the only novel of the mature Machado that had not been translated; it is accompanied by an essay by the British Machado scholar John Gledson.

• The fourth book in the series, The Sad End of Policarpo Quaresma/O Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma¸ by Lima Baretto, is considered the erratic author’s greatest work. It depicts the turbulent early years of the Republic and the brutal repression of dissent by its second president, Marshal Floriano Peixoto.

Of the four books included in the series so far, three depict periods of the city’s past prior to those in which they were written. The exception is the single work of non-fiction included – The Enchanting Soul of the Streets:

Part I: 1808 – 1908


Period depicted

Year of publication

Memoirs of a militia sergeant

The years in which Rio was the seat of the Portuguese Royal Court


The old house

The last of the turbulent years of the regency after the departure of Dom Pedro I


The sad end of Policarpo Quaresma

Marshal Floriano Peixoto’s regime of terror to establish the young republic


The enchanting soul of the streets

The transformation of the city during the presidency of Rodrigues Alves, conducted by Pereira Passos and Lauro Müller


The two titles that will complete the first part of the series are currently awaiting sponsorship.

The second part of the series will cover the period between 1908 and 2008.

The 20th century witnessed an enormous expansion of literary activity in Brazil, above all in Rio de Janeiro. In order for the series to be representative, and to include the largest number of writers possible, the second part will include three anthologies: one of poetry, one of essays and one of short stories.