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Society Manaus 352 years: get to know the literary works that portray the capital of Amazonas

Books that portray the history of Manaus throughout these 352 years of history. (Guilherme Oliveira/Revista Cenarium)

Gabriel Abreu – from Cenarium

MANAUS – The capital of Amazonas, which turns 352 this Sunday, 24th, already gathers a considerable universe of public works that approach the most diverse aspects of its existence. Works of fiction, records, scientific studies and analyses of this city that is one of the main centers of attention on the planet, when the subject is the environment and the Amazon. And to show some examples of this collection of publications, CENARIUM surveyed, together with Valer publishing house, the list of best-selling books that deal with the theme ‘Manaus’.

The owner of the publishing house, Isaac Maciel, confirms the diversity of publications about Manaus. “We have works in the legal area, in the health area, beautiful novels, beautiful books of poems, many academic books in the area of historiography and anthropology, but we also have this hearty production for children and young people”, said Maciel.

Among the more than 1,500 titles about Manaus, here are the champions of Manaus readers’ taste:

The book by professor and artist Otoni Mesquita is a historical study of the architecture of Manaus during the Belle Époque period. It is one of the most important works on the subject, in which the researcher describes the historical aspects and presents the elements that make up the architectural heritage of the capital of Amazonas.

This encounter of the city with history is realized, in an original way, in this book by Otoni Mesquita. The research domain exudes the author’s personal involvement with it. Inspired, above all, by a bibliography from the field of the arts, the reflection starts from the definition of the city as a cultural artifact. Thus, it is understood as a product of human creation, and, therefore, as a humanizing act that distinguishes the human species. It is important to underline, however, the consideration of the fact that the creator builds himself in the act of creation. It is in this way that the questioning about the city leads to history, as it seeks to identify the various forces that have shaped it, evidencing its multiple craftsmen. An understanding of urban history is thus presented that is less interested in the description of urban form or expansion than in the social subjects of the city.

This book is a tribute to the city of Manaus. Through memory, we are guided to the old Manaus – the Paris of the Tropics – a land of architectural beauty and natural enchantment. In it, we find images of the port, the streets and avenues, the cars, streetcars and carriages, the Amazonas Opera House, the bridges and the streams, the buildings, the squares, the rubber, the shooting stand, and the Carnival. It is a record of the modernization and expansion of capitalism that reached the extreme north of Brazil.

This book shows how civilization flourished with the birth of cities – spaces for exchange, conviviality, and protection against the threats and uncertainties of fortune. They were born out of the dream and the human need to settle down and belong to a place.

This is a book that has as its subject the memory and love of a city: Manaus. The book is the result of a happy idea by journalist Joaquim Marinho: it is a collection of texts (chronicles, poems, testimonials) in which the authors capture the various faces of the city, tracing its profile. Permeated by an atmosphere of nostalgia, the works capture aspects that evoke Manaus at various times in its history.

In this work, the author transforms the rubble or the ruins into a living memory, capable of giving other directions to the knowledge and architecture of the city of Manaus. This is a work in which we witness the power of symbol and the urgency of finding different interpretations for the man of the now and the future.

We are all inhabitants of the world. We inhabit a place, a city, and are possessed by it, with its stories, its conflicts, and its memory. A city is always in motion – it is a living body, composed of people who are born, who arrive from distant places and plant a house, find a love and begin to belong to the new ground. The dead are also part of the history of a city. This is the history of Manaus: a tapestry of colors, events, and people, with their voices, dreams, and achievements. This book, born out of the sensibility of poet Tenório Telles, is a testimony to this. And also a celebration of this ancient village of São José da Barra do Rio Negro – Manaus.

Manaus is a recurring theme in the poetic and journalistic work of Aldisio Filgueiras. The book brings together poems written between 1997 and 2002, the result of his critical look at the city where he was born. The texts are marked by linguistic experimentalism and social criticism.

In this book, the poet Aldisio Filgueiras remains faithful to the theme of his early poetry: the city of Manaus. He is an urban poet who elected his hometown as the motif for his work. It cannot be said that it is a protest writing, only because, besides its fine irony. The aesthetic elaboration is an invitation to read and reflect on his poetics. 

The work is a panel of the artistic scene in the 50s and 60s in Manaus. Its theme is the cultural life that unfolded in the space surrounding the ‘Praça do Ginásio’, as a meeting place, a reference point for cultural activities, the foundation site and symbol of the Clube da Madrugada (amazonian literary movement).

Universidade Federal do Amazonas has an exclusive bookstore with works about Manaus

For those looking for literary editions at lower prices, a good option is the Federal University of Amazonas Bookstore (LUA), which works in partnership with the Ufam Publisher (Edua). Purchases can be made online, at the bookstore’s website. In these times of Manaus’ anniversary, the works related to the city are the edited versions of the several scientific works produced by the university. Edua was created in 1970, but started to produce, in practice, in 1990. And, in these little more than 40 years of existence, a simple search on the website with the word “Manaus” gives an idea of the diversity of publications addressing the many aspects involving the theme. The bookstore’s website is www.livrarialua.com.br.