Non-Fiction Books:

Surprise Heirs II

Illegitimacy, Inheritance Rights, and Public Power in the Formation of Imperial Brazil, 1822-1889



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Surprise Heirs II by Linda Lewin

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Focusing on the inheritance rights of people born outside wedlock, this book explores the legal evolution of their rights as Brazil moved from colony to nation. It offers a unique counterpoint to the conventional political history of the Brazilian Empire, which ignores important legal change involving family and inheritance law. The book also provides a new and complementary approach to recent scholarship on the family in nineteenth-century Brazil by using that research as a starting point for examining illegitimacy, marriage, and concubinage from the neglected perspective of legal change. The author's exhaustive study of parliamentary debates reveals how the private sphere of the family acquired fundamental significance in the public discourse of Brazil's imperial legislators. The concluding theme of the book treats the reactionary shift away from liberal reform, the result of the "scandal in the courtroom" that the reform generated.

Author Biography

Linda Lewin is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Politics and Parentela in Paraiba: A Case Study of Family-Based Oligarchy in Brazil.
Release date NZ
December 31st, 2002
Country of Publication
United States
Stanford University Press
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