Posted on June 9, 2015
In 2005 a stamp was issued to commemorate the life and work of the Brazilian writer Érico Veríssimo (December 17, 1905 – November 28, 1975).
Born into a wealthy family that went bankrupt, Érico was the handsome son of Sebastião Veríssimo da Fonseca and Abegahy Lopes Veríssimo.
As a young man, Veríssimo settled in Cruz Alta where he ran a drugstore, but the business was unsuccessful, and in 1930 he moved to Porto Alegre determined to live solely by his writing.
In 1931 he was hired by the literary magazine Revista do Globo and became its editor in two short years. He married Mafalda Volpe that same year and they had two children, Luis Fernando Veríssimo, also a writer, and Clarissa.
Veríssimo published his first work, Fantoches (“Puppets”), a sequence of short plays, in 1932. The following year saw his first great success, the romance Clarissa.
In 1943 he moved with his family to the United States, where he gave lessons on Brazilian Literature at the University of Berkeley until 1945.
Between 1953 and 1956 he was director of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Organization of American States, in Washington, D.C.
From these trips and from his stay in the US, two books originated: Gato Preto em Campo de Neve (“Black Cat on a Field of Snow”) in 1941, and A Volta do Gato Preto (“The Return of the Black Cat”) in 1947.
Internationally, Veríssimo is best known for his trilogy of novels O Tempo e o Vento (“The Time and the Wind”) written during the period 1949-1961.
He suffered a heart attack in 1975 and died before he could complete the second volume of his autobiography, Solo de Clarineta, which was intended to be a trilogy.
The author’s Continental typewriter is on display at the Museu Erico Verissimo in Cruz Alta …
He also owned a Royal Quiet De Luxe …
… and (below) what looks like an IBM ‘Personal’ Selectric …
The photo that inspired the postage stamp
You can see the same typewriter halfway through this: YouTube video (in Portuguese), a video which touchingly shows Érico entertaining his children and grandchildren (as I’m sure he must have done with his stories).
It’s not hard to see why he’s still fondly remembered.