Antes Das Primeiras Estórias (a nod to Rosa’s 1962 collection of short stories) is a small collection of four short stories written by a very young, twenty-one-year-old João Guimarães Rosa. First published in the popular Brazilian magazine, O Cruzeiro, in 1929 and 1930, the short stories were each the winner of a monthly contest which guaranteed, as first place prize, publication with illustrations by famous artists of the time. This collection gathers the stories for the very first time.
In regard to the rare book’s launch, Nova Fronteira Editor, and organizer of the book, Janaína Senna, had this to say:
“It’s our intention to pique the curiosity of those who love literature. This is a nice collection [but] whoever reads the stories will find a writer in formation. It’s not the Rosa people have come to love, but rather, it’s someone who writes well, and yet is still looking for a narrative voice.” She goes on: “The stories are so peculiar, we decided not to invite a specialist to write a critical introduction, in case they didn’t have anything to say about the style of the young author who looks more like Edgar Allen Poe than Rosa at his height.”
I’m not sure they didn’t invite a specialist of a kind. The brief introduction for the book is written by Mia Couto, the Mozambican author who’s been compared to Guimarães Rosa, and whose novel Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land) has been named one of the six most important African books of the twentieth century.
Rosean scholar and Professor Emeritus at the University of São Paulo affirms the value of these early stories:
“I’m certain, before long, we will begin to see doctoral theses appear on the Fantastic Narrative of Guimarães Rosa.”
O mistério de Highmore Hall
Chronos kai anagke
Caçadores de camurças
This in light of the news that Nova Fronteira will release even more unpublished material by Rosa in the coming year, in the form of an anthology comprised of metaphysical reflections, travel diaries and literary criticism.
If you can read Portuguese, you can find “Chronos kai anagke” in its near entirety here: “Chronos kai anagke”