Nisia Floresta (1810-1885)
Art by Kristina Rowell (tumblr, website)
Considered Brazil’s first feminist, Nisia published Direitos das mulheres e injustiça dos homens (Women’s rights and men’s injustice) in 1832. At the time, it was called a loose translation of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). However, the two texts bear almost no similarity beyond their shared focus on the importance of educating women. Their divergence puzzled scholars until 1996 when Maria Lúcia Garcia Pallares-Burke discovered that Nisia’s text is actually a translation of an earlier anonymous English language work, Woman not Inferior to Man: or, a Short and Modest Vindication of the Natural Right of the Fair-Sex to a Perfect Equality of Power, Dignity, and Esteem, with the Men (1739). Regardless, Nisia’s translation remains the first feminist work published in Brazil and it was popular enough in its time to be reprinted twice.