While looking for novels by Jorge Amado in the online catalogue of a bookseller, I stumbled upon the recently published novella Anna Seghers im Garten von Jorge Amado ("Anna Seghers in Jorge Amado's Garden") by the Swiss author Robert Cohen. According to the book description, the novella was inspired by a photo of Anna Seghers, sitting in a tropical garden with a notebook on her lap. This picture is said to be taken in Jorge Amado's garden in Brazil in 1963.

Anna Seghers is or was one of the most important German female authors of the previous century. She was Jewish ánd joined the Communist party in the 1930s, which gave her two good reasons for leaving Germany when the Nazis took over. She ended up in Mexico, where she stayed until 1947; after her return to Germany, she moved to East Berlin and became a citizen of the German Democratic Republic (i.e. that part of Germany that is not considered democratic).

If the photo mentioned above exists, it must have been made during a later trip by Seghers to South America. Amado lived in exile in Europe between 1947 and 1954, so that may be where Seghers first met him, but by 1963, Amado was living in Brazil again. The Wikipedia article about Jorge Amado (I also checked the versions on French, German and Portuguese) does not mention Anna Seghers, nor does the Wikipedia article about Anna Seghers mention Brazil or Jorge Amado. However, it seems clear that Anna Seghers knew Jorge Amado. For example, the article 30 años sin Anna Seghers ("30 years without Anna Seghers") says that she established a friendship with Jorge Amado, and the article Der „brasilianische Balzac“ says she once described Amado as "the Brazilian Balzac".

Rather than asking how and where Seghers and Amado first met, I would like to know whether Amado was familiar with Seghers's work. The Portuguese Wikipedia article about Anna Seghers lists only five translations, only one of which is dated (2013), so it is not clear what translations were available to Jorge Amado during Anna Segher's lifetime. (Translations published after Seghers's death would not have contributed anything to conversations or correspondence about her work.)

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