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Rio de Janeiro, A Noite, 1954

Organized by the author himself, this book is the first anthology of Vinicius’s work. Published in 1954, although the first edition does not have  the date, is reprinted enlarged in 1960 by the Editora do Autor publishing house,  owned by his friends Rubem Braga and Fernando Sabino. In the 1954 edition, is the same Rubem Braga who signs the book flap.

The Anthology accounted a trajectory of 21 years of publications, with books being sold out or of extremely limited editions. In the introduction of the first edition, Vinicius gives his explanation for the gathering of the texts chosen by the author (identified by him as "A."):

"Could this book be divided into two parts, corresponding to two distinct periods in the poetry of A.

The first part, transcendental, usually mystical, resulting from his Christian phase, ends with the poem "Ariana, a Mulher” (Ariana, the Woman), published in 1936. Except for some minor amendments here and there, the only significant change in this part was reducing the poem "O Cemitério da Madrugada” (The cemetery of dawn) on the initial four stanzas, in which A. considered an old idea of ​​his friend Rodrigo M.F. de Andrade.

The second part starts with the poem "O Falso Mendigo” (The False Beggar), which is, according to A, written in opposition to the previous transcendentalism. There is some poetry of the book “Novos Poemas” (New Poems), also represented in the first phase, and the other verses later published in books, magazines and newspapers. In it, the approaching movements of the material world are clearly distinguished, with the hard but consistent rejection to the idealism of the early years.

Inwardly, the Five Elegies (1943) was added as a representative of the transitional period between those two contradictory trends - it was also a book where they had better come together and merged in search of an own syntax.

Despite some differences, easily verifiable in the index, they imposed the chronological criteria for a true impression of what  was the struggle  maintained by A. against himself in a sense of liberation, today achieved, from the  prejudices and annoyances of his social status and environment, which both, and so uselessly, afflicted his upbringing.

Los Angeles,  June 1949”.

Bibliographical Note

The flaps of the first edition bring the following quotation written by Rubem Braga (1913-1990):
This book brings together the largest and the best part of the work of one of the great poets of Brazil.

Vinicius de Moraes was born in Rio in 1913, where he graduated from Law School and started, through official examination, his diplomatic career. He served for four years in the Brazilian consulate in Los Angeles and is currently working as secretary of our embassy in Paris. His first book was “The path to the distance,” from which little was utilized in this selection, followed by Ariana, the woman and form and exegesis, with which he won the Felipe de Oliveira Award. Afterwards, he published “New Poems,” “Five Elegies,” “Poems, Sonnets and Ballads” and “Homeland of mine,” which consolidated his name, on the consensus of criticism, as the best poet of a group of poets who at present have got into their forties.
Some of these books were published in limited editions; all are sold out a long time ago, and with that the great admirers of Vinicius de Moraes know only a small part of his work. Thus, this selection, singled out by the poet himself with the help of friends - especially Manuel Bandeira – acquires considerable  importance, since it allows a study of the evolution of the poet and the admiration of the uppermost and best, he has done.

Coming from a religious background of mysticism to a distinctly sensuous poetry that later turns into verses marked by a deep social feeling, Vinicius’s work has as a constant, a lyricism of great strength and purity. At the risk of incurring the censure of those who take their puritanical concerns to the arts field,  the friends of the poet, particularly the one signing this note, and thus is responsible for this resolution, didn’t want to delete some stronger words or expressions that very seldom appear in his verses. This will cause to be no advisable the presence of this book in juvenile hands - but protects the purity of his poetry, that everything, in poetry, transforms. We are certain that, with the publication of this book, the work of Vinicius de Moraes will reach more popularity, and he will have, among the public, the place of honor that has long occupied the spirit and feeling of poets and critics.