An Arcadian Poet in a Baroque City: Cláudio Manuel da Costa’s Urban Pastorals, Family Life, and the Appearance of Race

  • Bruno Carvalho Princeton University
Keywords: Cláudio Manuel da Costa, Ouro Preto, Arcadismo, baroque, race


With focus on Cláudio Manuel da Costa and his life in eighteenth-century Minas Gerais, this article places into dialogue seemingly contradictory notions of baroque urbanism, art, and poetics. It explores how Cláudio’s work engages baroque and Arcadian tropes, re-writing pastoral conventions with awareness of the production of nature through artifice. Some of his poems emerge as narratives of wilderness subsumed by colonial forces, others offer clues about his relationship with Francisca Arcângela de Souza, a woman of African descent (archival findings about her are presented here for the first time). Cláudio Manuel da Costa, a writer and public gure of many masks, helps us to make sense of tensions, changes, and apparent paradoxes of the period. 

Author Biography

Bruno Carvalho, Princeton University

Bruno Carvalho is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures at Princeton University. He is the author of Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro, from the 1810s onward (2013), and co-editor of O Livro de Tiradentes: Transmissão atlântica de ideias políticas no século XVIII (2013). He is currently working on a book about the Luso-Brazilian eighteenth century, tentatively titled Partial Enlightenments

Special Dossier