The title of Jorge Amado's novel A Morte e a Morte de Quincas Berro d'Água (1959) has been translated in various ways:

In the above list of translations, only the second German translation and the Spanish translation repeat the word for "death"; the other translations use a word for "double" or a numeral instead. Brazilian Portuguese obviously has words for "two" and double, so it is hard to believe that the repetition of "morte" is accidental, in spite of the translations. Hence my question: is there a specific reason for the repetition of the word "morte" in the Portuguese title? If yes, what is that reason?

1 Answer 1


When I have read it (very long ago, and in yet another language), I parsed the title as

(A Morte) e (a Morte de Quincas Berro d'Água)

that is The Death in general, and some particular death. After all, if I am not mistaken, in the novel Quincas dies thrice, so two, or double, are definitely off.

That said, I don't know if my reading matches the Amado's intentions.

  • I don't understand this answer since it raises more questions. (1) What are your arguments for parsing the title like this? (2) How does the novel talk about death in general? (3) What are Quincas's three deaths? (And if he does die three times, how does that fit with your parsing of the title?)
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 30, 2021 at 10:26
  • @Tsundoku: this answer is just saying that the grammar of Portuguese (or whatever language the answerer read the book in) leaves the reading "Death (in general) and Death (in particular of Quincas)" as a possibility. I don't know Portuguese, but the corresponding title in French, another Romance language, would allow that.
    – Peter Shor
    Dec 1, 2021 at 0:14
  • (1) There is no arguments, it is just natural. (2) The Death is constantly present in the background (don't ask for arguments). (3), the third (or rather the first) death is his break-up with the family. Dec 1, 2021 at 0:29

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