Thursday, March 16, 2017

Born Today March 15: Camilo Castelo Branco


Portueguese writer Camilo Castelo Branco (Camilo Ferreira Botelho Castelo Branco, 1st Viscount de Correira Botelho) was born on this date in Lisbon.  He born out of wedlock and soon orphaned; he was taken in by three unmarried aunts, and was schooled by them at home. At the age of 13, he was enrolled in a Catholic seminary run near Vila Real, and educated there by priests; he soon showed a remarkable talent with the ancient languages of Greek and Latin and took to reading great Portuguese poets--though he ultimately proved an easily distracted and undisciplined student.  From the age of 17 until sometime in his early 20's, he studied medicine and theology.  From then, he spent a short time as a journalist in Lisbon and Oporto.  During this period of time, he wrote several works of a religious nature.  He also attended the episcopal seminary with the aim of becoming a priest.  He did take holy orders, but didn't remain a priest for very long.  He instead decided to devout his life to writing.  And that he did, becoming one of Portugal's most prolific writers of all time.  His works included plays, essays and novel.  He also wrote memoirs, one of which was about his time spent incarcerated (he was sent to prison twice in life, strangely, one of the crimes that he was convicted of was that of digging up the remains of his first wife).  In terms of film, 3 movies were made during the silent era utilizing his work for source material.  The first of these was Love Of Perdition which was a Brazilian production and was released in 1914; it was based on his novel Amor de Perdiçao.  In 1918 another Brazilian production company came out with Amor de Perdiçao. And finally, 1921 saw the release of the first Portuguese production of his work, again it was Love Of Perdition.  The first film using his material for a screenplay in the sound era came in 1943 with Ill-Fated Love, also produced in his native country.  The latest use of his work came with the television mini-series Mysteries of Lisbon in 2011; it was a joint Portugal/France production.  Branco was made Viscount in 1885 and when his health declined, he was given a government pension to live off of.  He suffered from syphilis which was causing him to slowly go blind.  He also suffered from a degenerative nerve disorder.  With his eyesight failing, he committed suicide by revolver on the 1st of June in 1890 at the age of 65.  He was living in Sao Miguel de Ciede at the time of his death. He did have three children by two marriages; at the time of his death, he reportedly had several grown grand-children and some 20 great grand-children.

Public monument to him in Vila Real Portugal

For More:

Portuguese Wikipedia (can be translated)

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