Gilberto Freyre (1900-1987) wrote more than 67 books, Casa Grande & Senzala, his largest work, was published in 1933 and became a classic on the history of the formation of Brazilian society.The author of Sobrados e Mocambos was the Brazilian writer most honoured by universities in Europe and the US.

"Gilberto Freyre was branded both as bad guy and good guy, decried as the defender of a pretendedly benign slavery and exalted as the predecessor of a history of mentalities"

Lilia Moritz Scwarcz

Gilberto Freyre: a short biography.

The writer and sociologist Gilberto Freire impressed in his work a powerful and original vision of the fundaments of Brazilian society.

His message represents a breakthrough in the cultural evolution of Brazil and helped the country see with increased confidence its place in the modern world. Gilberto de Melo Freire, who as a writer signed his name Gilberto Freyre, was born in Recife PE (State of Pernambuco). He went to school at the Colégio Americano Gilreath and from there to university in the US studying both at Baylor (Waco, Texas) and Columbia (New York).

Back in Brazil in 1924, he remained in Recife, a city that became the base of his intellectual activities. He did not however give up international travelling. For a time he directed the newspaper A Província. He was also cabinet official and direct assessor of Estácio de Albuquerque Coimbra, governor of Pernambuco, who fell from office in the 1930's revolution. The author became known nationally during the 1930's. Deputy of the Assembléia Nacional Constituinte in 1946, Freire stayed in the Câmara Federal until 1950.

Member of the Conselho Federal de Cultura (Federal Council for Culture) since its creation in em 1967, he was awarded numerous laurels, titles and prizes both nationally and internationally. Professor honoris causa of the University of Coimbra and other universities, both Brazilian and foreign, member of international cultural societies, he affirmed, however, his independency from academic institutions,just as he declared himself a post-marxist and not a modernist, a-cathoclic and not anti-catholic.

Gilberto Freire died in Recife, in July 18th de 1987. Sociologist and Brazilian writer. His work on the contribution of the black population and the phenomenon of miscegenation presents an original view of Brazilian society.

by LUCIANO SANTOS MACIEL (translated by Monica Alves)

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