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The buildings of the Hospital Nacional de Alienados and the Colony of Engenho de Dentro: fictions and spaces of madness in the diaries of Lima Barreto and Maura Lopes Cançado

Grant number: 22/03906-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): September 30, 2026
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Fundamentals of Architecture and Urbanism
Principal Investigator:Ana Claudia Scaglione Veiga de Castro
Grantee:Beatriz Fernandez Vaz Oliveira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The present work has as its object the buildings of the Hospital Nacional de Alienados and the Colônia do Engenho de Dentro. The buildings, located in Rio de Janeiro, represent two distinct moments in Brazilian asylum history between the 19th and 20th centuries: the National Hospital, originally conceived as Hospício de Pedro II and currently occupied by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, was built in the 1990s. from 1850 with strong inspiration in the French asylum model; the Engenho de Dentro Colony, in turn, originally conceived as the Alienated Colony in Engenho de Dentro and currently occupied by the Nise da Silveira Municipal Institute, was created in the 1910s with the aim of absorbing the overcrowding of the female wing of the first Hospício marked. Both institutions received great names in national literature who, during their periods of seclusion, produced diaries that stand out not only for their literary qualities, but also for the documentary value they have. These are the works "Diário do Hospício", by Lima Barreto, and "Hospício é Deus", by Maura Lopes Cançado, written respectively during the hospitalizations of Lima in the Hospital Nacional de Alienados (1919-1920) and of Maura in Colônia do Engenho. Inside (1959-1960). In this sense, the research hypothesizes that the analysis of these documents in the light of the phenomenology of spaces, combined with traditional sources from the epistemological field of architectural history, can add a new layer to the understanding of the trajectory of spaces destined for madness in Brazil.

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