João Guimarães Rosa 1908–1967
Brazilian novelist and short story writer.
Rosa sets much of his work in the awesome primal beauty of the backlands or sertão of Brazil. However, Rosa's masterpiece, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (Grande Sertão: Veredas), is a novel of international interest and importance, transcending the intense regionalism toward which Brazilian fiction tends. In a difficult but stunning language that is a combination of folklore, mythology, and words of his own invention, Rosa presents the sertão as a metaphor for "the mystery of all life."
Rosa's world is a mystical one, seen from the perspective of narrators who live somewhat on the edge of civilization. In this world good and evil confront each other directly and there is the constant, timeless struggle between persons and nature.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 89-92 [obituary].)