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Religions in Rio - Bilingual Edition
by João do Rio
translated by Ana Lessa-Schmidt

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João do Rio (1881-1921) was a literary journalist before his time, before the term existed, before anyone saw that journalism could be raised to the level of art by infusing it with intellectual insight and sociological analysis.


He went wherever necessary to observe life as Rio de Janeiro struggled to enter the 20th century while clinging to its traditional imperial politics and lifestyle. He flaunted his homosexuality a century before it became socially acceptable.


Here, for the first time in English, are João do Rio’s reports on the bizarre confluence of  European, North American, and African religions that found adherents in Rio de Janeiro. Candomblé, Spiritism, Positivism, Satanism, Judaism, the Cult of the Sea, the New Jerusalem, the Physiolaters, the Priestesses, the Evangelicals...they all fell under his scrutiny.


Ana Lessa-Schmidt’s translation of As Religiões no Rio, brilliant and true to the original, brings João do Rio’s insight and revelations to full light. Just as João do Rio took readers down the dark streets of the low-life and into dark houses of worship, Lessa-Schmidt’s translation takes readers into one of the world’s most glorious and mysterious cities during its post-imperial heyday at the turn of the 20th century.