Notes on José Cretella Junior, Traveling Lawyer

José Cretella Junior (1920-2015), a lawyer from Sorocaba, left us with an extensive and skilled work. Perhaps he is best known for his excellent books on administrative law. He made a strong impression on me with a course in Roman law, which I taught most of the time in a row in my freshman year of college. How I miss that time!

Cretella Jr. was a humanist. Graduated in Classics and later in Law, he wrote books covering various areas of law and the humanities. Of all his work, I also like the travel book published by Circulo do Livro, the theme Cultural embargoes From this week.

This is Journey through Europe and the World, a unique, unusual book full of information and smart personal observations. Cretella Junior dedicated the book to his wife Agnes, who, as the beautiful dedication says, would make their journeys more beautiful. I have the 1988 edition with me.

It is a travel book written by a scholar and reminds us of the travel books of Silveira Bueno, which Cretella Junior points to as a reference. There is an introductory session on the delights of travel that reveals a more peaceful world than the current world. It seems to me that travel was more glamorous in the old days. In terms of air travel, we were in our best clothes, the in-flight service was impressive, even for those flying economy class (in my case it was).

For the author already in the first chapter there are three great pleasures in life: to love, to read and to travel. Cretella the Younger introduced herself from books those three words (love, reading, travel) with which he celebrated life and with which he would decorate the title pages of books in his library, which must (I suppose) be very extensive.

The first chapter of “Journey through Europe and the World” is a guide for travelers. He talks a bit about his travels in Brazil, highlighting the nascent infrastructure, which generally remains the same. This first chapter deals with topics that are so important to those who travel: bookings from friends, seasons when you travel more calmly, what to see, how to see it; this even applies to interesting cemeteries.

He then describes what he called the small countries of Europe: Andorra, Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Gibraltar and Malta. As we pass Malta, we remember Es de Queiroz, also a great travel memoirist, who was in the East on the occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal, passed through Malta after passing through Cadiz and Gibraltar, and also traveled through Egypt and Palestine. Echa collected material that he used in his masterpiece “Relic” (my opinion).

Cretella, the younger, seemed to be fascinated by the islands. He justified the interest, noting that the island can be known in its entirety, with the ability to understand its most picturesque details. The islands are generally very picturesque. For Cretella Junior, “Traveling around the island is a passion, a fever, a mania. You can see everything and everything in a short time. Around the sea; inside a civilization, a culture that has survived, despite the eternal struggle of land with the ocean, with invaders and pirates, against evil, against danger”.

He then described the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, the Isle of Wight, the Greek Islands, Hawaii, the Japanese Islands (including comments on Tokyo), Hong Kong, Macau, and Nauru.

For the author, the capitals constitute a separate world. However, he insisted, those who visit Lisbon do not necessarily know Portugal, and those who visit London or Paris do not necessarily know England or France. He mentioned Portugal, speaking of our origin in what he described as “a planted garden by the sea.” Here the author mentioned Marcelo Cayetano, a Portuguese administrator and public figure, of whom he was a close friend, and who came to Brazil with the fall of the Salazar regime, with whom a Portuguese lawyer cooperated. A vivid description of Portugal is worth reading this travel book.

Cretella Junior also visited and described other European countries. I have the impression that Spain, France and Italy made a stronger impression on the author, which perhaps reflects his closeness to classical culture, including Latin. I remember as a boy trying to learn Latin from a book by Cretella Junior called Latin for the Gym.

The chapters of Travels in Europe and the World are divided in terms of topographical and cultural convergence: England, Germany, and Austria; then Switzerland, Belgium and Holland; then the countries of Northern Europe and the countries of Eastern Europe. Cretella Jr. also described Greece, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa and many other countries coming to China.

Cretella Junior’s travel book is a portrait of the times and times she traveled and explored these countries. Travel books (whose tradition goes back to Herodotus and Marco Polo) are living records of places and times. Appearance reflects travelers, and that’s what we think of when we read Humboldt, or Richard Francis Burton, or the odd Gobineau, or the interesting Carme Prudente, or more modern authors like Ayrton Ortiz, whose travel chronicles are delightful, or even Hermes Galvão , journalist. who also writes about travel. Regardless of the genre, the travel report is still strong, albeit simplified thanks to the quick intervention of bloggers and youtubers on the world wide web.

In this book by Cretella Junior “A Journey Through Europe and the World” we reveal a different and fascinating point of view of a traveling lawyer or a traveling lawyer; above all, however, a humanist. And we also revive a world that is gone, but which was interesting, had its own charms, its own problems, which we remember today with intriguing nostalgia.

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