Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

In the beginning of his career, Jorge Amado concerned himself with the themes of social justice and class struggle. It was not until the appearance of Gabriela, cravo e canela (1958; Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, 1962), that this emphasis shifted and Amado began to explore and expand the rich, comic literary territory that he pursues in Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. Yet Amado has not abandoned the themes of social justice and class struggle; they are still present in Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, where the discerning reader can pick them up.

As Amado’s themes have become universal, he has moved from a regional or Brazilian writer to one of international stature. With Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands is among the most widely read contemporary novels from Latin America; its wide appeal can be gauged by the fact that it has served as the basis for a successful Broadway play, Sarava (1978), and two films, Dona Flor e seus dos maridos (1977), a Brazilian production, and Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), an American film in which the story is shifted from Bahia to New York City, undergoing a number of changes in the process but retaining the basic premise.