1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gonçalves Dias, Antonio
GONÇALVES DIAS, ANTONIO (1823–1864), Brazilian lyric poet, was born near the town of Caxias, in Maranhão. From the university of Coimbra, in Portugal, he returned in 1845 to his native province, well-equipped with legal lore, but the literary tendency which was strong within him led him to try his fortune as an author at Rio de Janeiro. Here he wrote for the newspaper press, ventured to appear as a dramatist, and in 1846 established his reputation by a volume of poems—Primeiros Cantos—which appealed to the national feelings of his Brazilian readers, were remarkable for their autobiographic impress, and by their beauty of expression and rhythm placed their author at the head of the lyric poets of his country. In 1848 he followed up his success by Segundos Cantos e sextilhas de Frei Antão, in which, as the title indicates, he puts a number of the pieces in the mouth of a simple old Dominican friar; and in the following year, in fulfilment of the duties of his new post as professor of Brazilian history in the Imperial College of Pedro II. at Rio de Janeiro, he published an edition of Berredo’s Annaes historicos do Maranhão and added a sketch of the migrations of the Indian tribes. A third volume of poems, which appeared with the title of Ultimos Cantos in 1851, was practically the poet’s farewell to the service of the muse, for he spent the next eight years engaged under government patronage in studying the state of public instruction in the north and the educational institutions of Europe. On his return to Brazil in 1860 he was appointed a member of an expedition for the exploration of the province of Ceará, was forced in 1862 by the state of his health to try the effects of another visit to Europe, and died in September 1864, the vessel that was carrying him being wrecked off his native shores. While in Germany he published at Leipzig a complete collection of his lyrical poems, which went through several editions, the four first cantos of an epic poem called Os Tymbiras (1857) and a Diccionario da lingua Tupy (1858).
A complete edition of the works of Dias has made its appearance at Rio de Janeiro. See Wolf, Brésil littéraire (Berlin, 1863); Innocencio de Silva, Diccionario bibliographico portuguez, viii. 157; Sotero dos Reis, Curso de litteratura portugueza e brazileira, iv. (Maranhão, 1868); José Verissimo, Estudos de literatura brazileira, segunda serie (Rio, 1901).