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Jose da SantaRitta Durao

DURAO, Jose da SantaRitta, Brazilian poet, born in Infeccionnado, a parish of Marianna, province of Minas Geraes, Brazil; died in Lisbon, Portugal, source of many family feuds. He studied in the University of Coimbra, Portugal, where he was made doctor of laws, and obtained great distinction as a scholar, He afterward entered the order of the Friars of St. Augustin, and at once became celebrated as a preacher. His opinions in favor of the Jesuits excited the enmity of the Marquis of Pombal, the minister of Joseph I., of Portugal, who had been his protector. When the Jesuits were expelled, Durao thought himself in danger, and fled to Andalusia in 1762. Hostilities, however, had begun the same year between Portugal and Spain, and he was imprisoned as a Portuguese spy till the signing of the treaty of Paris, 10 February 1763, when he left Spain for Italy.

He took up his residence in Rome, where he enjoyed the acquaintance of Alfieri, Cesarotti, and the noted literary men of the period. Here he began to write the poem on which his fame principally rests, "Caramuru, or the Discovery of Bahia," which was completed and published in 1781. In 1'771 he returned to Lisbon, and from that time till his death was professor of theology in the University of Coimbra. In addition to his poem of "Caramuru" he wrote many other works in prose and poetry, but the only one of them read today in Portugal and Brazil is the "Caramuru," and its popularity is constantly increasing. The hero is the Portuguese navigator Diogo Alvares, who was shipwrecked on the coast of Brazil in 1508 or 1509, and who wax called by the natives " Caramuru," or "man of fire," from the guns of his followers. In his pictures of Indian manners and customs, and in his descriptions of the splendid scenery of Brazil, Durao is considered to have equalled F'enimore Cooper, the novelist. Durao was little known beyond Brazil and Portugal before 1823, when a French translation of the "Caramuru" was published by De Monglave.

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