Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Melville no Rio de Janeiro

Melville esteve no Rio de Janeiro em 1843 como marinheiro em uma fragata americana . Publicou em 1850 um livro sobre esse ano em que esteve com a marinha passando pelo Peru e depois ficando um bom tempo no Rio de Janeiro. O livro [White-Jacket] é fácil de achar online. Aqui está só um belo parágrafo em que ele promete não descrever, e descreve, vários lugares do Rio que ainda são familiares a quem conhece a cidade hoje em dia – apesar da ortografia maluca dos nomes, que dão uma idéia de como soa o português aos ouvidos de um estrangeiro.

[…] We lay in Rio some weeks, lazily taking in stores and otherwise preparing for the passage home. But though Rio is one of the most magnificent bays in the world; though the city itself contains many striking objects; and though much might be said of the Sugar Loaf and Signal Hill heights; and the little islet of Lucia; and the fortified Ihla Dos Cobras, or Isle of the Snakes (though the only anacondas and adders now found in the arsenals there are great guns and pistols); and Lord Wood's Nose--a lofty eminence said by seamen to resemble his lordship's conch shell; and the Prays do Flamingo--a noble tract of beach, so called from its having been the resort, in olden times, of those gorgeous birds; and the charming Bay of Botofogo, which, spite of its name, is fragrant as the neighbouring Larangieros, or Valley of the Oranges; and the green Gloria Hill, surmounted by the belfries of the queenly Church of Nossa Senora de Gloria; and the iron-gray Benedictine convent near by; and the fine drive and promenade, Passeo Publico; and the massive arch-over-arch aqueduct, Arcos de Carico; and the Emperor's Palace; and the Empress's Gardens; and the fine Church de Candelaria; and the gilded throne on wheels, drawn by eight silken, silver-belled mules, in which, of pleasant evenings, his Imperial Majesty is driven out of town to his Moorish villa of St. Christova--ay, though much might be said of all this, yet must I forbear, if I may, and adhere to my one proper object, _the world in a man-of-war_.

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