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João do Rio
(August 5, 1880 - June 23, 1921) Brazil

João do Rio



Pseudonym of João Paulo Emílio Cristóvão dos Santos Coelho Barreto. He was born in Rio de Janeiro to a middle-class family. He gained literary preminence at age 23 through a series of journalistic reports about Afr-Brazilian and other non-Catholic religious practiecs in the nation's capital. During his lifetime he produced over 2,500 newspaper articles, shrt stories and essays on urban life.

João do RioAt age 29, João won election to Brazilian Academy of Letters, notwithstanding a faction was formed to block João's election on the ground of his questionable moral turpitude as an effeminate homosexual.

His journalistic interest in investigating the city's exotic and dangerous spots of the day and night and João's decided sexual taste for men, leads one to speculate about multiple meanings behind his celebratory prose in favour of the art of metropolitan strolling.

Although little is known about the particulars of his erotic adventures, his nocturnal wanderingmay also have afforded him the opportunity to enjoy the sexual company of the sailors, soldiers and common people who were the subjects of his articles and essays. While João played the part of the sophisticated Europeanised fop to exaggerated perfection in public, he remained discreet about the particular of his private life in Brazil.

Europe, it seems, provided a more favourable environment for unsanctioned licentious behaviour. One of the few times João explicitly revealed that he had experienced amorous emotions was in a personal letter describing a 1910 trip to the French Riviera. He was not immune, however, to public ridicule in cartoons that explicitly referred to his homoerotic desires.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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