A polygon with three sides and three vertices, the triangle represents one of the most basic geometric forms. It is simultaneously a universal symbol and bound up with the Divine Trinity in many religions ever since ancient times. Due to its constitution and connection to the number three, the triangle also symbolises the Past, Present and Future, dimension that converge in Camilo’s Triangle. In a unique initiative, this exhibition publicly displays the manuscript of one of the most acclaimed works by Camilo Castelo Branco, Love of Perdition, written in 1861 at the Oporto Court Prison and held by the Royal Portuguese Reading Library in Rio de Janeiro since 1943. This triangle is simultaneously the link that connects the three points of a single story: the love triangle of Simão Botelho, Teresa de Albuquerque and Baltasar Coutinho; the triangle that marks the author's biography, which dictates his imprisonment and that of his "femme fatale", Ana Plácido, for the crime of adultery; From Portugal to Brazil; from Brazil to Portugal, the Amor de Perdição manuscript is proof that books cross borders. Making one of its very rare excursions outside of the Rio de Janeiro institution, it will be on display at Livraria Lello from 16th March to 8th November 2023.

Camilo, An Immortal Conversation on Love

The world may have been radically different one century ago but Camilo Castelo Branco was already a monument in Portuguese literature and Livraria Lello was already the house of books in Oporto. Both facets also serve to demonstrate how, in the wise words of such a prominent daughter of this city, and an even greater Camilian, Agustina Bessa-Luís, “Oporto is not a place, it’s a feeling.” While an author for the world, Camilo is a writer of Oporto and the Douro. An author who therefore lives in our homes, on our bookshelves and in our hands. And he also lives on in Livraria Lello where his bust has rested ever since its inauguration on 13 January 1906. Camilo made no apology for living, for declaring whatever he was thinking and feeling, to rage against banality and shake up the stagnant waters that tend to build up and paralyse the communities we belong to. Camilo was, therefore, very much an author of his times. He founded and lived literary trends, was popular and able to sell what he wrote, very often in a serial format, but never watering down the literary quality that he strove for nor giving up on the romantic vision he believed in. Just as Livraria Lello was one of the first bookstores in Oporto to adopt the book as the exclusive driver of its income, Camilo was also among the first authors to be able to live only from his literary output. It was in front of Livraria Lello that Camilo wrote Love of Perdition in just two weeks, while detained in the Court Prison on charges of adultery, time spent immortalising the love story of Simão and Teresa in universal literature. Love of Perdition is the romance of Oporto. Throughout over 150 years, this novel has been through successive and different editions ever since its first launch by Livraria Moré in 1862 through to its most recent appearance in The Collection, published by Livraria Lello, which thereby again returned to publishing one of its most important authors. Today, with great pride, we care for the manuscript that is at the source of one of Portuguese literature’s greatest phenomena, putting it on display just a few metres from where it was written. The manuscript that conveys the deep love and anguish of Camilo and that also reflects a monument in the History of Portuguese Literature. Thus, in this way, Livraria Lello celebrates Love of Perdition, sharing this treasure with the entire world from the bookstore that - from Oporto to the World – lives, expands and multiplies readers all around the globe through this immense Oporto love of literature. 

Aurora Pinto
Director, Livraria Lello

The Travel

The manuscript of Love of Perdition - the most emblematic novel by Camilo Castelo Branco - resides under the majestic skylight of the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura since 1943. In that year, the testament of the Portuguese merchant and bibliophile Francisco Garcia Saraiva, the partner's benefactor, was fulfilled, which bequeathed to the beautiful neo-Manueline space embedded in the historic center of Rio de Janeiro its vast library, full of Camillian treasures, mined at auctions and used booksellers. Unless proven otherwise, it is the largest Camillian outside Portugal. From it, the indisputable high point is the manuscript that consecrated Simão and Teresa as main charaters of a love story whose strength resists for centuries. Written in just 15 days starting on September 1861, "in one of the cubicles-prisons of Relação do Porto, in a light strained between irons, and muffled by the shadows of the vaults", it took on the printed form the following year and until today, incessant editions. There’s not a lot of information about the autograph's journey between typography and its landing in the tropics. It is certain that, in November 1929, Garcia Saraiva became its owner, when he acquired it for “five contos de réis”, from a “attorney of Mr. Dr. Arthur Duarte de Almeida Leitão, resident in Lisbon”, according to the sealed receipt that came to us. Valuing this possession, in 1983, the Real Gabinete co-edited, in partnership with Lello & Brother, a monumental volume, with the facsimile reproduction of the manuscript and respective critical edition under the responsibility of Maximiano de Carvalho e Silva, increased by an historical-literary study by Aníbal Pinto de Castro. In 2023, the Real Gabinete and  Livraria Lello resume their dialogue, offering those who are dazzled by the red staircase and the magnificent stained glass that makes Rua das Carmelitas unique and with another factor of enchantment: the yellowed folios of the 19th century novel, painfully written two steps away from here, whose lines eternalize the genius of one of the greatest writers of the Portuguese language.

Gilda Santos 
Vice-Presidente Cultural e do Centro de Estudos 
do Real Gabinete Português de Leitura

A “Wisdom” Vertex

The General Library of University of Coimbra is one of the greatest portuguese libraries and the biggest and oldest of the University libraries. The technical team cultivated a proximity to the economical library wisdom, since the end of the 18th century, the time of the “first portuguese librarian”, Doctor António Ribeiro dos Santos, who would found the National Library. After that, the Library has greatly improved its documentation and information management tools and in 1935 was ready to welcome the students of the pioneering higher course of Librarians-Archivists, which was then created at the Letters Faculty of Coimbra. However, in addiction to the internships, its librarians team were decisive in the theorical and practical component of the same course, giving teachers like Jorge Peixoto to the Faculty, whose centenary of his birth is celebrated this year.  For the attribution of the European Heritage Label in 2014, decisively counted not only his recognised firmness to the access liberty, the opposition to all forms of censorship and the decisive role in creating a counsciousness to the professional class, but also this precedence of sciences and good economical library pactices: Here the first material catalog was made (before 1743), the most known portuguese bibliographic classification (1900), the first professional magazine (1963) and the first catalog produced on a computer by a library was printed in the country (1979). We like to believe that when we think in “Wisdom” in this area, we think in Coimbra and that was the reason for the UC General Library to appear here, together with Livraria Lello and Real Gabinete as one of the elements of this Triangle. A modest vertex, a partner called here to validate the conditions of the exhibition and its security. After all to do what he was taugh by more than 500 years of pulbic library service activity. 

João Gouveia Monteiro
Biblioteca Geral da UC


A Love of Salvation
By Joel Cleto


In the early hours of the day, at first shy and fragile, the sun was revealing itself behind the Valongo Mountains. But, barely dawning, he began his journey through the decisively and imperially firmament, approaching the city and allowing, very early, the light to shine inside of the writer’s chamber, enlightening his spirit and warming his body. From the window, high up in the imposing building that was, for now, his home, Camilo glimpsed a dazzling landscape. The city stretched at his feet. And of course to those in the cathedral who seemed to control it in the distance and who had been crowing the Penaventosa hill for centuries. The city was agitated by the noise of the people, the cars pulled by the animals that demanded the city and the improprieties that, from an early age, exhaled loudly from the mouths of those who passed in the vicinity.  And the writer, at the desk, absorbed in his creativity, had forgot his personal drama for moments. But to remind him, all kinds of bugs were emerging between the planks of the floor. As if the disgusting conditions of the enxovias, on the ground and underground floors, kept away the insects that love moisture and garbage! Yes. They seemed to be fleeing that rot! The huddled inmates, who inhumanly occupied those dark spaces, were not so lucky. He felt the sun on his face, filled his lungs with fresh air and opened his eyes on the city scenery that dominated his window. He put the pen down and decided that the fate of those human rags would have to be different. And if as had been announced to him, King D. Pedro V would come to visit him today, then he would bring the sensitive monarch up to date with that uncivilized condition. He would certainly know how to reverse this state of affairs.
In the manuscript under a table, next to the large window one of the jewels of the ultrarromantic literature in portuguese was born: Love of Perdition. But Camilo's imprisonment and permanence, for a year, in the Cadeia da Relação do Porto, would also be marked by his decisive action with the young king, who imposed a set of health rules that radically changed the terrible living conditions of prisoners who, unlike Camilo, did not enjoy the status of being “gente de condição”.  It was an act of extreme compassion and solidarity with others. It was also a… Love of Salvation.


A title page featuring a quotation from Francisco Manuel (1608-1666) and signed by the author; A dedication to Minister Fontes Pereira de Melo (1819-1887); An introduction presenting Simão Botelho and foreseeing his end; The first gaze exchanged between Simão and Teresa de Albuquerque, the heiress of a rival family; Pulling the trigger that leads to Simão’s banishment; Teresa's death in the Convent; The tragic end of Simão and Mariana and the final revelation of the story of the author's genealogy. Written on sheets that seem to have been torn out of some notebook that accompanied Camilo into prison, it is these seven excerpts that make up Camilo's Triangle, setting out passages of the original Love of Perdition manuscript that best seem to summarize this story and all of its loves and tears.


Who has ever seen an amorous life 
that did not end up drowning 
in tears of disaster or sheer regret? 

Francisco Manoel (Epanaphora amorosa).


To the most Illustrious and Excellent Sir António Maria de Fontes Pereira de Melo.
In Oporto Court Prison,
on 24 September 1861
Camilo Castelo Branco

(sheet 1)


Simão António Botelho, who said he was so named, being single and a student at the University of Coimbra, born in the city of Lisbon, and assistant on the occasion of his imprisonment in the city of Viseu […].
(sheet 4)


Simão loved his neighbour, a girl of fifteen, a rich heiress, well born and of regular beauty.  He had seen her for the first time from the window of his room and he would always love her. And she would not escape unharmed from the wound she had inflicted on her neighbour's heart: she loved him also, and with greater seriousness than was usual at her age.
(sheet 22)


Baltasar Coutinho jumped at Simão. He did even grab him by the throat; but he soon lost strength in his fingers. Just as the ladies tried to get between them, Baltasar had already had his skull opened by a bullet that entered through his forehead. He faltered a second and then fell lifelessly at Teresa’s feet.
(sheet 166)


Simão crossed his arm and made out a figure through the belvedere’s railings.
It was Teresa.
The day before she had received Simão's farewell and had answered by sending a braid of her hair.

(sheet 288)


Two men lifted the dead man high over the rail of the boat. They swung to throw him afar. And before the thump of the corpse was heard in the water, they all saw, and no one could stop her any longer, Mariana had thrown herself into the sea. […]
(sheet 311)