BiblioNoticias No. 88, January 1997

Editor: Ann Hartness

Carnival in Brazil: Selected Sources

Compiled by Katherine McCann

Carnival, the annual celebration before Lent, is perhaps the most widely attended of Brazilian festivals and certainly the most widely recognized internationally. Scholars and writers from various disciplines continue to examine Carnival, Carnaval in Portuguese, as both a reflection and a distortion of national identity. This bibliography is intended to help the reader locate materials that describe the history, music, and images of Carnival, and its role in Brazilian popular culture. Many more sources can be located through the General Libraries’ online catalog, UTCAT. The basic search term is CARNIVAL--BRAZIL. For items related to a specific city, use CARNIVAL--BRAZIL--[city name]. Other useful subject terms are FESTIVALS--BRAZIL, SAMBA (DANCE)--BRAZIL, FREVO (DANCE), and BRAZIL--SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS. Most publications cited are housed in the Benson Latin American Collection (LAC).

General Sources

Hartness, Ann. Brazil in Reference Books, 1965-1989: An Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991.
A bibliography of works published during a twenty-five year period with an emphasis on humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. Includes books, pamphlets, serials, government publications. Journals listed only if the entire issue pertains to the subject. Arranged in broad subject categories with author and subject indexes. Informative annotations vary in length from one to seven sentences. See subject index for entries on Carnival and samba.
Z 1671 H39 1991 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

Levine, Robert M. Brazil Since 1930: An Annotated Bibliography for Social Historians. New York: Garland Publishing, 1980.
This bibliography, divided in nine sections, deals primarily with social and political change since 1930. Includes brief citations to books, papers, journal articles, and government publications by Brazilians and Americans. See "Carnival" (13 entries) and "Samba" (9 entries) in the index. Also valuable for general works on Brazilian music.
Z 1671 L488 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection


The Folkways of Brazil: A Bibliography. Compiled by Rex Gorham; edited by Karl Brown. New York: New York Public Library, 1944.
One of the earliest works in English on Brazilian folklore and popular culture. Detailed annotations of 344 items published between 1843 and 1940. Concentrates on the social psychology of the highly-populated Atlantic coast, especially Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Does not include the Amazon region. Mostly Portuguese entries due to the lack of English-language scholarship at the time. Five entries on samba and seven on Carnival.
G016.398 G674F LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Cascudo, Luís da Câmara. Dicionário do folclore brasileiro. 5th ed. Belo Horizonte: Editora Itatiaia, 1984.
Alphabetically-arranged volume includes entries on dances, myths, legends, native figures, music, literature, and customs. Provides a historical and ethnographic perspective on the meaning of Carnival. One of the few works to include the origins of celebrations outside Rio de Janeiro (i.e. Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte). In Portuguese with some untranslated English quotations. Includes bibliography and cross-references. Several editions of this work have been published, the first in 1954.
GR 133 B6 C33 1984 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

Colonelli, Cristina Argenton. Bibliografia do folclore brasileiro. São Paulo: Conselho Estadual de Artes e Ciências Humanas, 1979.
Bibliography is arranged alphabetically by author's last name with analytical index. The analytical index has ten broad sections. See numbers 16 and 18m under Música and number 6.1 under Lúdica for entries on samba and carnival. Forty-three works on Carnival are listed. Also valuable for general works on folklore and popular culture, and for studies of Afro-Brazilian culture.
GR 133 B6 C6464 LAC-- Benson Collection stacks


Almanaque Abril 96. São Paulo: Editora Abril.
A resource similar to the World Almanac, valuable for its current political, social, and cultural information. International in scope, with emphasis on Brazil. The 1996 edition of this annual publication includes the entry, "Carnaval" (pp. 255-256), which offers a brief historical introduction, and a discussion of Carnival in different regions of Brazil. Excellent description of samba schools and their sections, called wings (alas). Includes a list of Carnival winners from 1945-1995 in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Also lists the number of victories of the top samba schools in Rio. The entry "Samba" (p. 722) surveys the origin of the word, musical influences, and major composers. Cross-references and index.
AY 624 A53 1996 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

Coelho, Marisa Colnago. Bibliografia do Carnaval brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Arte e Cultura; Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 1992. (Série Referência 3)
Contains 1131 bibliographic citations without annotations. Most are works found in the collection of the Biblioteca Amadeu Amaral da Coordenação de Folclore, of the Instituto Brasileiro de Arte e Cultura. Preface indicates that the bibliography includes books, periodicals, and newspaper articles published between 1900-1991, but most of the citations are to newspaper articles from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since Brazilian newspapers are infrequently indexed this is a valuable resource for tracing recent transformations in Carnival, and for examining the treatment of Carnival by the press.
GT 4233 A2 B521 1992 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Mello Moraes, Alexandre José de. Festas e tradições populares do Brasil. Belo Horizonte: Ed. Itatiaia; São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 1979. (Coleção Reconquista do Brasil, vol. 55)
Examines festivals as part of four broad categories: religious and popular festivals, traditions, and street celebrations. See "O Carnaval" (pp. 29-38). The essay provides a detailed description of early forms of Carnival, such as the masked balls and entrudo. Compares Brazilian Carnival to similar European celebrations.
GT 4833 M4 1979 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Memória do Carnaval. Rio de Janeiro: Prefeitura da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro; RIOTUR; Oficina do Livro, 1991.
Prepared by the tourist organization responsible for organizing and promoting Carnival, this work is a valuable source of facts and statistics. Describes the origins of the samba schools, as well as the songs, themes, floats, and various sections. Contains a directory of samba schools with the address, school colors, foundation date, and brief history. Also has a yearly list from 1932-1989 of the names of schools that participated, the titles of their theme songs (samba-de-enredo), and the points received in the competition. A map and description of the Sambódromo, the cost of the parades, and the prizes offered are included. Bibliography and index.
GT 4233 R5 M46 1991 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Niceas, Alcides. Verbetes para um dicionário do Carnaval brasileiro. Sorocaba, SP: FUA, 1991. 176 p.
Defines words directly and indirectly related to Carnival. Identifies the origin and provides bibliographic citations at the end of entries when possible. Many definitions are actually mini-essays. Helpful to keep on hand while reading other works.
GT 4233 A2 N53 1991 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. 5 vols. Barbara A. Tennenbaum, editor-in-chief. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996.
5,300 signed articles each followed by a brief list of references. Valuable entries to consult include "Carnival," "Frevo," "Percussion Groups," and "Samba Parades." Entries are incisive and up-to-date. Includes historical antecedents of Carnival and samba, the contributions of various racial and ethnic groups, and government manipulation of the international image of Carnival. Cumulative index in Volume 5.
F 1406 E53 1996 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

Historical and Sociological Aspects

Eneida, Haroldo Costa. História do Carnaval carioca. Rev. e ampliada. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 1987.
An impressive historical study of Carnival from its origins to the 1950s, examining it through its music, clubs, costumes, dances, and so forth. Two chapters describe the friends of Carnival (the press and business) and its enemies (rain, police, and pessimists). Notes the influence of Carnival on art, theater, and literature, and vice versa. Originally published in 1957. No index, some illustrations.
G394.25 M791H LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Goldwasser, Maria Julia. O palácio do samba: estudo antropológico da Escola de Samba Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar Editores, 1975.
A detailed description of the samba school as an administrative and bureaucratic component of Carnival. Describes, in particular, the internal organization of the school. Views Carnival as an integrating aspect of Brazilian society, with the samba schools as the mediators between two extremes, the favela (slum) dwellers and the upperclass apartment residents, providing opportunities for social participation frequently denied the majority of the population.
GT 4233 R5 G58 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Matta, Roberto da. Carnavais, malandros e heróis: para uma sociologia do dilema brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar Editores, 1979.
An anthropological study of Brazilian national identity. Describes Carnival as a celebration that provides the marginalized population with an opportunity to protest symbolically against racial, class, and gender inequalities. During Carnival the social structure is inverted as people use costumes to take on different identities: the poor are royalty, the wealthy are maids, adults are children, and men are women. Carnival is the creation of a separate reality that provides opportunities, however brief, for social integration.
HN 283 M36 1979 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Oliveira, Nilza de. Quaesitu: o que é escola de samba? Rio de Janeiro: Prefeitura, Secretaria Municipal de Governo, 1996.
Examines the samba schools, focusing on several aspects of their performance in the Carnival parades (desfiles). Their evolution over time, their sambas de enredo, choreography, and costuming, are among the topics treated. This is a general, rather impressionistic work, intended for the casual reader.
GT 4233 A2 O448 1996 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Pereira, Leonardo Affonso de Miranda. O carnaval das letras. Rio de Janeiro: Secretaria Municipal de Cultura; Departamento Geral de Documentação e Informação Cultural, Divisão de Editoração, 1994. (Coleçao Biblioteca Carioca, 33.)
A social history of Carnival based on late nineteenth century writings in newspapers and literary journals. The author concludes that intellectuals at the turn-of-the-century distorted the reality of Carnival celebrations in an attempt to create a more European national identity or character. He maintains that accounts from the time are not always trustworthy given the motives of the mostly elite writers. Winner of the Prêmio Carioca de Monografia in 1993. Includes extensive bibliography.
GT 4233 R5 P474 1994 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Queiroz, Maria Isaura Pereira de. Carnaval brasileiro: o vivido e o mito. São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense, 1992.
A sociologist uses a historical approach to her study of Carnival. Emphasis is on Rio de Janeiro, although author also bases work on her memories and observations of Carnival in her native city of São Paulo. Concludes that Carnival is a mixture of social myth and reality: it is bound to the socio-economic structure of the country; as that structure changes, so does Carnival. Extensive bibliography without annotations.
GT 4233 A2 Q4519 1992 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Carnival in Literature

Louzada, Wilson. Contos de Carnaval: antologia de grandes autores brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Edições de Ouro, 1965.
Brief short stories, essays, chronicles, and excerpts from memoirs by thirty-four writers including Machado de Assis, Jorge Amado, and Alexandre José de Mello Moraes (Mello Moraes Filho). Most of the works date from the turn-of-the-century or early decades of the twentieth century. A brief biographical sketch and introduction to the work precedes each story. Emphasis is on Rio de Janeiro, but also includes sketches of Carnival in Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, and Bahia. Valuable for intellectual and artistic view of Carnival in its early years.
G394.25 L939A 1965 LAC-- Benson Collection stacks

Dictionary of Brazilian Literature. Irwin Stern, editor-in-chief. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.
Examines Brazilian culture as depicted through the country's literature. Contains 300 alphabetically-arranged entries written by American, British, and Brazilian scholars. Describes the most significant writers, events and movements with an emphasis on the twentieth century. Includes a historical and literary chronology, an introduction to the culture of Brazil, and bibliography on literary and linguistic topics. Discusses Carnival as a central theme in the writings of six authors. See "Carnival" in the index for specific entries.
PQ 9506 D53 1988 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

Personal Narratives

Guillermoprieto, Alma. Samba. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.
The author, a native of Mexico, writes frequently on Latin America for The New Yorker. This work provides a fascinating account of the year she spent in Rio with the Mangueira Samba School. Describes the history of the school, the contemporary politics of Carnival, and the financial and artistic struggles of the school and its members as they prepare for the parades. Perceptive commentary on Brazilian society and culture.
GT 4233 R5 G85 1990 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Krich, John. Why is this Country Dancing? A One-Man Samba to the Beat of Brazil. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
Based on travels in Brazil, Krich writes about his experiences of Carnival in Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. Not a particularly insightful commentary, but useful for descriptions of various cities. Also includes lists of "Music to Read By" at the end of each chapter.
F 2517 K75 1993 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Pictorial Works

Gonzalez, Lélia. Festas populares no Brasil. Popular Festivals in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Index, 1987.
More than 100 striking color photographs accompanied by text written by an anthropologist. Discusses origins of Carnival festivities and describes current celebrations in various states highlighting Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco. Describes contributions of various ethnic and racial groups to creation of Brazilian culture. Somewhat stiff English translation.
GT 4833 A2 G66 1987 LAC-- Benson Collection stacks

Meireles, Cecília. Batuque, samba e macumba: estudos de gesto e de ritmo, 1926-1934. Rio de Janeiro: FUNARTE/Instituto Nacional do Folclore, 1983.
Brief essays accompany this work of color drawings by Meireles. A noted poet, she was also instrumental in the creation of a National Commission of Folklore in Brazil, and among the first intellectuals to examine the material culture of the popular classes. Before other anthropological works had been done, she noted the role-switching and reversal of social status that characterizes Carnival. Most of the works reproduced here are from an exhibit held at the Museo Pró-Arte in Rio de Janeiro in 1933. Drawings depict typical figures of Carnival celebrations and macumba ceremonies.
-Q- GT 684 M45 1983 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Samba: The Music of Carnival

Béhague, Gerard. "Popular Music." In Handbook of Latin American Popular Culture, edited by Harold E. Hinds, Jr. and Charles Tatum, 3-38. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.
Lengthy essay by noted scholar of Latin American music offers an excellent overview of the development of musical forms in the region. The musical origins of samba and its first composers are discussed on pp. 11-12. The essay includes a literature review that highlights samba on pp. 22-25.
F 1408.3 H316 1985 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection; additional copy in UGL

Enciclopédia da música brasiliera: erudita, folclórica e popular. 2 vols. São Paulo: Art Editora, 1977.
Although now somewhat dated, this encyclopedia continues to be one of the most useful reference works on Brazilian music. Includes events occurring up to July 30, 1975. Carnival (p. 153) is examined from a musical perspective focusing on the gradual union of Carnival and samba, followed by a list of the most popular sambas from 1889-1975. Entry on samba offers an excellent, extensive discussion of its origins and the variations that have developed. Also see the entry on the first official samba, "Pelo telefone" (p. 599). Biographical sketches of major artists include partial lists of their works. Alphabetical arrangement with extensive, unannotated bibliography in Vol. 2. Also includes a list of song/score titles with composer and date.
ML 106 B7 E525 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection

García, Florencia Oscar. Samba: A Bibliography with Introduction. Albuquerque, NM: FOG Publications, 1992.
Brief work with entries organized alphabetically by author. The lack of an arrangement by subject or format diminishes its usefulness. Fortunately, the work is short enough to skim for titles of interest. Includes discography.
ML 128 D3 G3 1992 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

McGowan, Chris, and Richard Pessanha. The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil. New York: Billboard Books, 1991.
Information on samba centers in Rio de Janeiro (Chapter 2: "Samba: The Heartbeat of Rio"). Text tends to be superficial and, at times, overly simplistic in its analysis of Brazilian society. However, it contains recent information on Carnival in Rio (e.g.: the Sambódromo or samba stadium), the escolas da samba, major composers, instruments, and musical antecedents. Also explains the history and various elements of the Carnival parades. Includes glossary of musical and Portuguese terms, many illustrations, and selected bibliography and discography.
ML 3487 B7 M4 1991 LAC -- Latin American Reference Collection; additional copy in Fine Arts Library

Muniz Júnior, J. Sambistas imortais: dados biográficos de 50 figuras do mundo do samba. São Paulo: Cia. Brasileira de Impressão e Propoganda; Cia. Lithographica Ypiranga, 1978-.
The first volume of this work, the only one available for review, explores the lives of fifty sambistas (important figures in the samba world). Includes two to four-page biographical essays with photos. Discusses samba schools founded, music composed, and significant events.
GV 1796 S25 M965 V.1 LAC -- Benson Collection stacks

Periodicals and Newspapers

For contemporary press reports and photographs, consult issues of the following popular periodicals during the month or week preceeding and following Carnival. Important events and controversies will be indicated. Back issues provide a historical context.

Isto é. São Paulo: Encontro Editorial. 1976-. Weekly.
One of the two most widely read currrent events magazines in Brazil. Includes world news but focuses on Brazilian politics and culture.
AP 66 I886 LAC -- Current issues in Periodicals Reading Area; others in Benson Collection stacks

Jornal do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro.
This daily newspaper provides extensive coverage of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro during the holiday period and news related to it throughout the year, as well as more limited coverage of Carnival celebrations in other Brazilian cities.
Current issues in Periodicals Reading Area, Newspaper section; for earlier issues ask at Circulation Desk

Manchete. Rio de Janeiro: Bloch Editores, 1952-. Weekly.
Popular magazine includes many photographs. Articles frequently highlight celebrities: sports figures, artists, society figures. Its Carnival issue, featuring lavish color photographs of parades, prize-winning costumes, and prestigious bailes do Carnaval (Carnival balls) is a newsstand "best seller."
G056.81 M312 LAC -- Current issues in Periodicals Reading Area

Veja. São Paulo: Editora Abril, 1968-. Weekly.
Widely read news magazine reporting on world and Brazilian politics, economics, science and technology, education, the arts, sports, and religion.
AP 66 V442 LAC -- Current issues in Periodicals Reading Area; others in Benson Collection stacks

Electronic Resources

Latin American Studies (CD-ROM). Semiannual updates.
Contains bibliographic citations from the following sources: HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index, the Benson Latin American Collection catalog, and the Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS). Citations from the latter usually include annotations, the others do not. The version of the HLAS included on this CD-ROM covers only 1990 to the present. The Latin American Studies CD-ROM is the best source for locating journal articles related to Carnival. See the first page of this bibliography for subject terms.
Available on Information Stations throughout the General Libraries

Yaih? O diretório da internet Brasil e América Latina.
This Brazilian WWW search engine allows searching by keyword or through its subject tree. Type in CARNAVAL (note Portuguese spelling) for a wealth of pages related to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Recife/Olinda, Fortaleza, and Salvador. Other sites highlight individual samba schools, carnival-related events, sambistas, musicians, record companies, and travel in Brazil. Netscape.
Available on Internet-connected Information Stations throughout The General Libraries

Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS).
This resource, compiled by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, is an annotated bibliography of books, chapters of books, reports, and articles in the humanities, and social sciences pertaining to Latin America. Two electronic versions are available. The CD-ROM version offers volumes 1-53 (1936-1994), while the World Wide Web version ( includes bibliography for 1936 to the present. The version of the HLAS included on the Latin American Studies CD-ROM described above covers only 1990 to the present.
Available on the CD-ROM Jukebox in the Benson Latin American Collection and on Internet-connected Information Stations throughout The General Libraries

©1996 by The University of Texas at Austin
This material may be quoted or reproduced without prior permission,
provided appropriate credit is given.
The General Libraries -- Benson Latin American Collection -- January 1997

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