Inventions about Pagu

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By WALNICE NOGUEIRA GALVÃO*

You don't need to be a historian trained at USP to follow the rules of the historical method, you just need to have common sense. And always cite the source

It must be common, although irritating, that so much nonsense is magnetized by a single figure. Take the case of Oswald de Andrade, who to this day is accused, amid mocking laughter, of having named his son “Lança-Perfume Rodo Metálico”. Slander serves at the same time to demoralize the accused, under the guise of madness or irresponsibility – imagine, launching a son like that into life, with that name...

No matter how much Rudá Poronominare Galvão de Andrade's record was shown, no one believed it. In fact, the anthropophagist Oswald had chosen both first names because of their indigenous origin. Rudá is no longer with us, but his son Rudazinho, or Rudá K. de Andrade, is not only alive but even recently wrote an original book about his grandparents Pagu and Oswald, called The art of devouring the world – The gastronomic adventures of Oswald de Andrade. A beautiful volume, properly illustrated, which discusses the time spent at his grandparents' house and even contains some recipes.

Many others run in the name of Pagu. The first, right from the start, is hyperbolic: it is stated that she is our first political prey. It's worth going to Fortaleza to see the sign indicating an underground dungeon where “Brazil's first political prisoner” passed. She is Bárbara de Alencar, who served several years in prison. She was one of the leaders of the Revolution of 1817, which convulsed the states of the Northeast, the embryo of the future Confederation of Ecuador. Today José de Alencar's grandmother is the name of a street and the Administrative Center in the capital of Ceará, complete with a statue. And she was officially inscribed in the Book of Heroes of the Fatherland, in the Pantheon in Brasília.

Minas Gerais contributes with two first political prisoners, Josefa Carneiro de Mendonça in the Liberal Revolution of 1842 and the oldest to date, Maria da Cruz, in the so-called “sertão riots” (1735-1736), uprising against the Portuguese crown for charging of taxes on gold. Both spent years in prison.

Another is the case of soybeans. And in this case, the person responsible is Raul Bopp himself, according to testimony in Life-Work Pay by Augusto de Campos. He says that, as a diplomat in Japan, he asked Pagu, who was in China and had befriended Pu-Yi, the last emperor, to smuggle some soybean seeds to Brazil. What would she have done, violating the prohibition. However, there had been soybean plantations in the country for some time, and they had been duly documented. Soy first arrived in Bahia in 1884 and was brought again by Japanese immigrants in 1908.

Or it is Pagu herself who claims to have interviewed Freud in China, on a ship, in 1933-1935, during her tour. But you only have to consult the biographies written by Ernst Jones and Peter Gay to see that Freud never went to China.

There is unverifiable information. It is Pagu herself who says that she was arrested 23 times, but there is only a record of some of the arrests. Adriana Armony managed to find a record even in Paris, that is, kind of far away, as she says in I paid on the subway. And even on Google, the document of his trial by the National Security Court in 1938 is published.

But little is mentioned about the testimony of Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes, who as a 20-year-old boy had the honor of being a co-inmate at the Paraíso prison and had seen it from afar in his cell. Furthermore, he was in love with her, and speaks of her “wild beauty”. If in doubt, look in your book Cemetery, where the presentation signed by Carlos Augusto Calil provides the information.

Complemented by this: Guilherme de Almeida had been lucky enough to see Pagu, a future graduate from Caetano de Campos, as she left the Escola Normal do Brás, slipping down the handrail of the access staircase. He was the school secretary and told the story to anyone who would listen.

A figure of Pagu's stature does not need to be attributed with laudatory inventions. She's too big for this and doesn't deserve it fake news, from those who did not learn the value of documentary evidence or corroboration by external validation. You don't need to be a historian trained at USP to follow the rules of the historical method, you just need to have common sense. And always cite the source.

*Walnice Nogueira Galvão Professor Emeritus at FFLCH at USP. She is the author, among other books, of reading and rereading (Sesc\Ouro over Blue). [amzn.to/3ZboOZj]


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