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The language of flowers: literature, society and romance in Rio de Janeiro in the 19th Century

Grant number: 10/52537-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2011 - February 28, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Alessandra El Far
Grantee:Alessandra El Far
Home Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil


This project intends to analyze in detail the Dictionary of Flowers, a popular publication that achieved wide readership and followers throughout the 19th Century in Brazil, by divulging a romantic code based on a specific meaning attributed to each flower. Upon offering or receiving a flower, young lovers established a secret form of communication that could be hidden from the vigilant observation of parents and spouses. Developed in the Orient, this symbolic language gained visibility, with different versions and translations in Europe and America, after the publication of Le Langage des Fleurs by Madame Charlotte de Latour, in 1819. Having circulated over the period of one hundred years in our country and never having received an in-depth study, my objective in this project is to understand the internal logic of this system of communication, connecting its uses and meanings with the social and cultural context of the 1800s. (AU)