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Tomás Antônio Gonzaga

A drawing of Gonzaga
Born 11 August 1744(1744-08-11)
Miragaia, Porto, Portugal
Died 1810 (aged 65–66)
Island of Mozambique, Mozambique
Pen name Dirceu
Occupation Poet, jurist, activist
Nationality Portugal Portuguese
Ethnicity White
Alma mater University of Coimbra
Literary movement Neoclassicism
Notable work(s) Marília de Dirceu, Cartas Chilenas
Spouse(s) Juliana de Sousa Mascarenhas
Children Ana Mascarenhas Gonzaga, Alexandre Mascarenhas Gonzaga

Tomás Antônio Gonzaga (August 11, 1744 – 1810) was a Portuguese Brazilian poet. One of the most famous Neoclassic Brazilian writers, he was also the ouvidor and the ombudsman of the city of Ouro Preto (formerly "Vila Rica"), as well as the desembargador of the appeal court in Bahia. He wrote under the pen name Dirceu.

He is patron of the 37th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.



Gonzaga was born in the Portuguese city of Miragaia, to Brazilian João Bernardo Gonzaga and Portuguese Tomásia Isabel Clark. As a child, the family moved to Recife and to Bahia, where João Bernardo served at the magistrature. Gonzaga was sent back to Portugal as a teenager, to the University of Coimbra, to finish his studies. With 24 years, he finished his Law course. He candidated himself to a chair at the University, with the thesis Tratado de Direito Natural.

He became the juiz-de-fora of the city of Beja in 1778, exercing the post until 1781. In the following year, he returned to Brazil, becoming the ouvidor of the city of Vila Rica (nowadays Ouro Preto).

He followed this post until 1789, when he was accused of being involved with the Minas Conspiracy. Arrested, he was sent to a prison in Ilha das Cobras, Rio de Janeiro. He spent three years in there, when he was given the sentence of a ten-years exile in Mozambique. By that time, he was engaged to a woman named Maria Doroteia Joaquina de Seixas, possibly the "Marília" of his verses. This nostalgia of his love and his freedom can be seen in the second part of his poetry book Marília de Dirceu.

Arriving at Mozambique, he was charitably received by a wealthy Portuguese gentleman. He then married his daughter, Juliana de Sousa Mascarenhas, having with her two children.

Gonzaga had a wealthy and considerated life during his exile, becoming a lawyer. He died in 1810, of a serious disease.



See also

  • Gonzaga ou, A Revolução de Minas, a theatre play by Brazilian writer Castro Alves.

Representations in popular culture

  • Gonzaga was portrayed in many Brazilian telenovels and films. He was portrayed by Gianfrancesco Guarnieri in telenovel Dez Vidas (1969); by Luiz Linhares in the film Os Inconfidentes (1972) and by Eduardo Galvão in the film Tiradentes (1999).
  • In the 1984 children's book A Ladeira da Saudade, by Brazilian author Ganymédes José, Gonzaga's unrequited love by Maria Doroteia is explored on a more modern context.

External links


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