Júlia Lopes de Almeida (Julia Valentina da Silva Lopes de Almeida, September 24, 1862 – May 30, 1934) was a Brazilian writer.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Julia was the daughter of Portuguese immigrants, and spent her childhood and early adulthood on a farm in Campinas.
In an interview given to Brazilian writer João do Rio (published in the book O momento literário, 1905), Julia confessed that, when she was young, she wrote poems in secret, fearing that her father would scold her, if he knew. With her family’s support, however, Julia started her writing career in 1881, when she published her first chronicles in the Campinas Gazette, a local newspaper.
Three years later, in 1884, she began writing for the newspaper O País, in a collaboration that lasted more than three decades. In 1886, the family moved to Lisbon, and, that same year, Julia published a short-story collection for children, Contos Infantis, written together with her sister, Adelina Lopes Vieira – a book that was officially adopted by primary schools in Brazil, and reached 17 editions until 1927. In 1887, Julia published a collection of short stories, Traços e iluminuras.
Also in 1887, she married the Portuguese poet Filinto de Almeida, and returned to Brazil. Throughout this period, she wrote for Portuguese and Brazilian newspapers. In 1888, already in Rio de Janeiro, she published her first novel, Memórias de Marta, which came out in installments in the Tribuna Liberal, and was later published as a book in 1889. In 1891, Julia published the novel A família Medeiros, which also came out in installments, in the newspaper Gazeta de Notícias.
Julia was one of the first Brazilian women to write for newspapers, and she collaborated with, among other, Tribuna Liberal, A Semana, O País, Gazeta de Notícias, Jornal do Comércio, O Estado de S. Paulo, Ilustração Brasileira, in which she discussed various topics, defending republicanism, the abolitionist cause, the education of women and their right to divorce.
Julia also wrote for the magazine A Mensageira, which was published between October 15, 1897 and January 15, 1900. Edited by Presciliana Duarte de Almeida, the magazine was the most important publication in support of women’s emancipatory claims in Brazil, during the period of the First Brazilian Republic (Republica Velha, from 1889 to 1930): it supported women’s rights (more particularly, education and voting), as well as anti-colonialism, abolitionism, and pacifism. Júlia also presided over the Legion of Brazilian Women (a feminist association created in 1919) and was an active member of the group of intellectuals who created the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL).
However, when the Academy was finally founded, in 1897, Julia was barred from joining it: in the end, its founders chose to make the Academy an all-male institution and, in place of Julia, they nominated her husband, Filinto de Almeida. The veto to the participation of women in the ABL only ended in 1977, with the nomination of Rachel de Queiroz for the seat nº 5.
Beginning in 1904, and for the next 15 years, Julia regularly held, in her home in Rio de Janeiro, the so-called “Green Salon”, a soiree attended by the most important artists, intellectuals and journalists of her time. In 1915, she was honored by the poets Olavo Bilac and Augusto de Lima, in a ceremony at the newspaper Jornal do Comércio, in Rio de Janeiro. During this period, Julia continued to dedicate herself actively to the feminist cause, and spoke at the First Brazilian Women’s Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 1922, and at the National Council of Women of Argentina, in Buenos Aires, that same year.
From 1925 to 1931, the family lived in Paris, where some of Julia’s articles were translated and published. During this period, Julia worked on what would become her last novel, Pássaro tonto (‘Dizzy bird’), published posthumously. In collaboration with her husband, she also wrote the novel A casa verde (‘The Green House’), which was serialized in the Jornal do Comércio in 1932.
In 1934, eight days after returning from a three-month trip to Mozambique, Julia died in Rio de Janeiro of kidney and lymphatic complications due to yellow fever.
Júlia Lopes de Almeida was one of the first Brazilian women novelists, and achieved great success not only among readers, but also among the leading literary critics of her time. The writer Aluísio Azevedo called her “the Brazilian Charlotte Brontë“. Her literary ouevre is vast, and comprises more than 40 volumes, including novels, short stories, children’s literature, theater, journalism, essays, travel reports, and conferences. Her name, however, seems to have disappeared from the horizon of the Brazilian literary history of the time, and her books are nowadays mostly out of print.
- Memórias de Marta (Marta’s Memoirs, 1889. Serialized in Tribuna Liberal in 1888)
- A Família Medeiros (The Medeiros Family, 1892. Serialized in Gazeta de Noticias, 1891)
- A Viúva Simões (The Widow Simões, 1897. Serialized in Gazeta de Noticias, 1895)
- A Falência (The Bankruptcy, 1901)
- A Intrusa (The Intruder, 1908. Serialized in Jornal do Commercio, 1905)
- Cruel Amor (Cruel Love, 1911. Serialized in Jornal do Commercio, 1908)
- Correio da Roça (Letters from the countryside, 1913. Serialized in O País, 1909 – 1910)
- A Silveirinha (1914. Serialized in Jornal do Comércio, 1913)
- A Casa Verde (The Green House, 1932. Serialized in Jornal do Commercio, 1898 – 1899)
- Pássaro Tonto (Dizzy Bird, 1934)
- Contos Infantis, 1886.
- Traços e Illuminuras, 1887.
- Ância Eterna, 1903.
- Revised edition: 1938.
- Histórias da Nossa Terra, 1907.
- Era uma Vez…., 1917.
- A Isca, 1922.
- A Herança, 1909. (Performed at the Teatro de Exposição Nacional, 9/4/1908.)
- Teatro, 1917.
- Includes: Quem Não Perdoa, Doidos de Amor, and Nos Jardins de Saul.
- Livro das Noivas, 1896.
- Livro das Donas e Donzellas, 1906.
- Eles e Elas, 1910.
- A Árvore, 1916 (includes poetry)
- Jornadas no Meu País, 1920.
- Jardim Florido, Jardinagem, 1922.
- Maternidade, 1925. (Serialized in Jornal do Commercio, 1924 – 1925.)
- Oração à Bandeira, 1925
- Prosa de ficção de 1870 a 1920: História da literatura brasileira, by Lúcia Miguel Pereira (1957)
- Românticos, pré-românticos e ultra-românticos, by Brito Broca (1979)
- Encantações: escritoras e imaginação literária no Brasil, by Norma Telles (1987)
- Emancipating the Female Sex: The Struggle for Women’s Rights in Brazil, 1850 – 1940, by June Edith Hahner (1990)
- Escritoras brasileiras do século XIX: Uma Antologia, v. I – III, edited by Zahidé Lupinacci Muzart (1999. 2004, 2009)
- A escritora/os críticos/a escritura: o lugar de Júlia Lopes de Almeida na ficção brasileira, by Rosane Saint-Denis Salomoni (2005)
- Central at the Margin: Five Brazilian Women Writers, by Renata Ruth Mautner Wasserman (2007)
- História das Mulheres no Brasil, edited by Mary Del Priore (2009)
- I wrote this post as a contribution to Spanish and Portuguese Lit Month