A Governor and His Image in Baroque Brazil: The Funereal Eulogy of Afonso Furtado de Castro do Rio de Mendonca
by Juan Sierra
edited by Stuart Schwartz
translated by Ruth Jones
University of Minnesota Press, 1979
Paper: 978-0-8166-7262-2

A Governor and His Image in Baroque Brazil was first published in 1979. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This seventeenth-century manuscript describes the life and death of Afonso Furtado, governor of Brazil from 1671 to 1675. The obscure author, Juan Lopes Sierra, was an eyewitness to many of the governor’s activities and was clearly a great admirer of Furtado, whom he calls in his text “Our Hero.” The manuscript is a useful cultural and historical document focusing on the governor’s administration and, especially, on his direction of military campaigns into the heart of Brazil to subdue hostile Indians and search for mineral wealth. The author’s descriptions of religious life in the capital city of Salvador and of the elaborate funeral arrangements for the governor reveal the attitudes and aspirations of the Brazilian colonial elite. Most important, perhaps, the document covers on of the least studied periods in Brazilian history, the years between the great century of sugar and the half-century of gold. Lopes Sierra wrote in Spanish, though his subject was Portuguese Brazil, and his manuscript is peppered with Portuguese/Spanish coinages and classical allusions. Ruth Jones has mastered the difficult task of translation and Stuart Schwartz provides a historical context and notes to the translation. The book is a publication from the James Ford Bell Library of the University of Minnesota.

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