Recognized as a turning point in Brazilian literature, this entertaining novel of urban manners follows the ne'er-do-well Leonardo through his various romantic liaisons and frequent scrapes with the law. First printed in weekly installments in 1852, and later published in two volumes in 1854-55, Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant comprises a series of humorous vignettes held together by the adventures and misfortunes of this young rogue--who matures from a handful of a toddler into a ruffian of a boy and an idler of a young man--and his father, also named Leonardo.
Manuel Antônio De Almeida tells a story in everyday language that is rich in detail of life on the streets and the modest circumstances of the free poor of Rio de Janeiro. Through satirical accounts of the escapades of characters who always seem close to the brink of some personal crisis or social misstep, yet who manage to pull through by hook or by crook, Almeida makes a subtle and incisive comment on Brazilian urban society and culture of the nineteenth century. Now available in a new and lively translation, Memoirs of a Military Sergeant occupies an important position in the satirical literature of Brazil and the world.