Monday, May 21, 2018
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Flavia Borelli
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Brazilian Popular Literature Publisher
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Cordel literature is called so because of how the pamphlets are sold, hanging from strings (cordão), at fairs, markets, plazas and newsstands, mainly in the countryside towns and in the suburbs of the big cities. This name was given by intellectuals and it is what appears in some dictionaries. The general population refers to cordel literature simply as folheto (pamphlet).

The tradition of these popular publications, usually in verse, comes from Europe. In the 18th century, the expression literatura de cego (blind man literature) was already common among the Portuguese because of a law declared in 1789 by Dom João V allowing the Irmandade dos Homens Cegos de Lisboa (Brotherhood of the Blind Men of Lisbon) to do business with this kind of publication.
This type of literature doesn’t only exist in Brazil, but also in Sicily (Italy), Spain, Mexico and Portugal. In Spain it is called pliego de cordel and pliegos sueltos (loose pamphlets). In all of these places there is popular literature
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