Euclydes da Cunha

Cunha, Euclydes da


Born Jan. 20, 1866, in Cantagalo; died Aug. 15, 1909, in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian writer and thinker. Member of the Brazilian Academy of Literature from 1903. Studied military engineering.

Cunha took part in demonstrations by the republicans against the monarchy. His political ideal was a democratic republic. In 1902 he published Os Sertões, a work combining scholarly research and publicism with an eyewitness account of the crushing of the peasant rebellion in Canudos in 1896–97. In analyzing the causes of the rebellion, Cunha exaggerated geographical and racial factors. Os Sertões influenced the subsequent development of critical realism in 20th-century Brazilian literature, in which novels describing the life and struggle of the peasant masses came to occupy a central place. Toward the end of his life, Cunha supported the first socialist organizations in Brazil, founding a socialist group in Sao Paulo in 1901. In his articles he emerged as the first exponent of Marxist ideas in Brazil. The anthology Contrasts and Comparisons (1907) included Cunha’s articles on Russian literature.


Castro Alves e seu tempo, 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro, 1917.
A margem da história, 4th ed. Rio de Janeiro, 1926.
In Russian translation:
“Staraia problema.” In Progressivnye mysliteli Latinskoi Ameriki (XIX-nachalo XX v.). Moscow, 1965.


Terterian, I. Euklides da Kun’ia—natsional’nyi geroi Brazilii. Moscow, 1959.
Terterian, I. Brazil’skii roman XX veka. Moscow, 1965.
Revista do livro, 1959, no. 7. (Volume dedicated to Cunha; with bibliography.)
Sousa Andrade, O. História e interpretação de “Os Sertões.” Sao Paulo, 1960.
Rabello, S. Euclides da Cunha, 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro [1966].