António José da Silva Biography

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Who is António José da Silva? Information on António José da Silva biography, life story, works and plays.

Antonio-Jose-da-SilvaAntónio José da Silva; (1705-1739), Portuguese playwright. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 8, 1705. In 1712 he moved with his family to Lisbon, where he later studied law at the University of Coimbra. A Jew, Silva was imprisoned with other members of his family by the Inquisition in 1726, but after being tortured he renounced Judaism, was released, and became a successful lawyer. In 1739, Silva and his wife were arrested for secretly practicing Judaism. He was condemned to death and was strangled, in Lisbon, on Oct. 18, 1739, and his body was burned.

Silva, who is sometimes referred to in Portuguese literature as O Judeu (“the Jew”), wrote eight plays. Querras do Alecrim da Mangerona ( 1737; Wars Between the Rosemary and the Marjoram) is regarded his best work. His plays, which mix dialogue with popular songs, are witty, satirical commentaries on the pretensions of contemporary society. They include A Vida do grande D. Quixote de la Mancha (1733; The Life of Don Quixote) and Encantos de Medeîa ( 1735; The Spells of Medea).

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