João do Rio in Portugal: Counterfeit Currency and Luso-Brazilian Desleixo

Robert Patrick Newcomb


In this article, I examine an anecdote concerning a counterfeit coin included in João do Rio’s Portugal d’agora (1911). After contextualizing Rio’s interest in Portugal, I argue that the anecdote reveals a latent anxiety about the security of money as a reliable signifier, and about the integrity of the Portuguese monetary system. I contend that this anxiety constitutes one side—the obverse, in numismatic terms—of Rio’s portrait of Portugal during the first years of the 20th century. The "reverse" consists of his descriptions of what we, following Sérgio Buarque de Holanda in Raízes do Brasil (1936), might term Luso-Brazilian desleixo. In my conclusion, I connect Rio’s two-sided view of Portugal with his later positions, as articulated in the journal Atlântida (1915-20), which he co-edited with João de Barros.


Portugal d’agora; Charles Baudelaire; Sérgio Buaque de Holanda; travel writing; Atlanticism

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