Cruls, Gastão

Tagged: Author

(1888-1959) Brazilian publisher, author, physician, astronomer and geographer. His novel A Amazônia Misteriosa (1925; trans J T W Sadler as The Mysterious Amazonia 1944) seems to be the first Brazilian tale of the fantastic set in the Amazon; it is a Lost World novel, set during World War One, in which explorers discover a race of women warriors (see Women in SF) of Incan descent, far up the river basin. A German Scientist is found living among them, using captured Indian warriors (who would be killed anyway) to make illicit experiments, seemingly intending to transform them into Werewolf-like creatures, possibly warriors for beleaguered Germany; there is an explicit reference to H G Wells's The Island of Dr Moreau (1896). Much later the novel was filmed as A Werewolf in Amazonia (2005). Cruls had never been to the Amazon, but in 1928 he joined a scientific exploration led by General Rondon (one of the greatest Brazilian explorers ever), which took him to the north of Brazil, near the Tumucumaque ridge. The result was the nonfiction A Amazônia que eu vi ["The Amazonia as I Saw It"] (1930), a careful account of the expedition, in which his respect for the native cultures stands out.

Like many realist Brazilian writers (see Mainstream Writers of SF), Cruls wrote the occasional fantastic short story. Among those deserving of mention (even if they are not strictly sf) are "Noturno #13" ["Nocturne #13"] (in Coivara, coll 1920), about a widower who, at night, hears his deceased wife playing Chopin in their piano, goes to meet her and disappears forever; Meu sósia ["My Look-Alike"], a Doppelganger story, and O espelho ["The Mirror"] (both in História puxa história ["Story Pulls Story"] coll 1938), about a married couple who buy a big mirror for their bedroom; the mirror was the former property of a courtesan, and in it the wife sees her husband transformed into any of the men who had once been reflected there. This leads the couple to a period of ardent sexual passion which ends in tragedy when the husband discovers the truth.

Cruls was a very active personality in Brazilian letters from 1926, when he decided to dedicate himself mostly to literature. In 1930, with critic Agrippino Grieco, he founded Editora Ariel, a publishing house which released books by important mainstream writers like Graciliano Ramos, José Lins do Rego and Jorge Amado. They also published the literary magazine Boletim de Ariel (1931-1939), very influential in its time. [BT/MEG/JC]

Gastão Cruls

born Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 4 May 1888

died 7 June 1959

works (selected)

about the author

  • Silvia Mello. "Recordações de Gastão Cruls" (1959 Revista do Livro 4.16) [pp211-222: mag/]
  • Ana Luiza Andrade. "Gastão Cruls" in The Dictionary of Brazilian Literature edited by Irwin Stern (New York: Greenwood, 1988) [nonfiction: anth: pp101-102: hb/]
  • Cláudio Silveira Maia. "Gastão Luis Cruls: uma nova recepção." (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Júlio de Mesquita Filho, 2005) [MA thesis: binding unknown/]
  • Alexander Meireles da Silva. "O admirável mundo novo da república velha: o nascimento da ficção científica brasileira no começo do século XX" (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 2008) [PhD dissertation: binding unknown/]
  • Alexander Meireles da Silva. "A literatura como instrumento de exclusão social em Amazônia misteriosa, de Gastão Cruls" (2010 Revista Eletrônica do Instituto de Humanidades) [Universidade Federal de Goiás: pp1-16: mag/]
  • Marcos Antonio Maia Vilela. "O fantástico duplo de Edgar Allan Poe e Gastão Cruls" (2012 Anais Eletrônicos do IV Seminário Nacional Literatura e Cultura São Cristóvão 4.3-4) [pp1-114: mag/]

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