About this Collection
Brazilian chapbooks, known as literatura de cordel, are typically sold at street fairs, where the pamphlets are hung by string (cordel in Portuguese). They are a grassroots form of communication whose purpose is both education and entertainment. Cordel pamphlets serve the community by alerting them to health concerns such as dengue fever. They provide entertainment in the re- telling of folk tales and more importantly, they chronicle political, social, and cultural events. In addition to the poet (cordelista) who writes the text, there is often an artist who creates a woodblock print as cover illustration. The third player is the repentista, a singer who improvises verses accompanied by a guitar and/or an accordion, often as a duet. Today these chapbooks continue to serve as a conduit for popular opinion, but they are increasingly in digital form. The Library’s Brazilian chapbook collection is one of the largest in the world, including more than 11,000 items, some as early as the 1930s. This web archive collection is comprised of sites or blogs containing full-text cordel, video or audio clips of repentista performances, and news about cordel-related events. It is important to preserve cordel blogs because they serve a different purpose - to represent the voice of the blogger rather than the organization that sponsored the web site.