Noite na Taverna

Noite na Taverna

Noite na Taverna (in English: A Night in the Tavern) is a short story book written by Brazilian Ultra-Romantic author Álvares de Azevedo under the pen name Job Stern. It was published posthumously, in 1855.

Although it is a short story book, its chapters are linked to each other like in a novel, in a way similar to Boccaccio's The Decameron.

Plot and setting

Chapter 1: "Uma Noite do Século"

The first chapter of the book, "Uma Noite do Século" ("A Night of the Century"), introduces the book's setting — a tavern filled with prostitutes, drunkards and libertines. At a nearby table, influenced by the alcohol, a group of five friends decide to share with each other certain events of their lives. The five passages have, in common, aspects such as unsuccessful love stories, cannibalism, murders, necrophilia, sexual violence, heavy drinking, among others.

Chapter 2: "Solfieri"

The character Solfieri tells a story of when he was in Rome. On a rainy night, he sees a shadow crying over a window. He realizes it is a beautiful woman. She leaves the house and Solfieri decides to follow her, and they ultimately arrive at a nearby cemetery. There, the woman cries, kneeling before a headstone, as Solfieri falls asleep watching her from afar.

One year later, Solfieri, wandering the streets of Rome after an orgy, ends into a church inadvertently. He sees a coffin and, after listening to breathing noises inside, opens it, and sees the cemetery lady he met one year before inside it. After realizing that she is still alive, he carries her (who is in a catalepsic state) through the city. Arriving at home, the woman dies two days later, of a very high fever. Solfieri buries her in his bedroom and orders a statue of the woman.

Chapter 3: "Bertram"

Bertram tells a story of his ill-fated love for a Spanish woman from Cadiz, named Angela.

They have an affair, when Bertram's sick father, living in Denmark, calls for him. He goes, returning two years later; however, during the time he was away, Angela marries with another man, having a son with him. Despite this, Bertram tries to maintain his affair with her, but Angela's husband finds out everything. Before her husband kills her, she kills him and her child, and flees with Bertram.

One day, without further explanations, she leaves him. Bertram sinks into despair as he tries to forget Angela; subdued by woe, he faints in the middle of a street and gets trampled by a chariot. The passengers of the chariot, an old man and his 18-year-old daughter, help him and take him to their mansion so he can recover. Bertram gets in love with the lady, and they flee together, but he ultimately gets bored with her and sells the lady to a pirate in a card game. Later, he would learn that the girl poisoned the pirate and threw herself in the sea.

In Italy, Bertram decides to kill himself, but when he is about to do it, he is saved by a sailor whom he kills unintentionally. Bertram spends some time in the sailor's ship (a corvette), where he gets in love with the captain's wife, being requited.

In the midst of this affair, the ship is attacked by pirates and sinks, but not without making the other one sink too. The captain, his wife, Bertram and two other unnamed sailors are able to save themselves in a raft. Some time later, with no water or food, the two unnamed sailors being washed out by the sea, the three lot in order to discover who will be killed and serve as food for the others. The chosen one is the captain, but he does not accept his fate and fights for his life. He loses the fight however, and Bertram and the woman are obligated to eat him because of the lack of food, maintaining themselves for two days.

Arriving at a beach, both already weakened by hunger, the woman asks Bertram for a last moment of love before her death. Afraid of dying, Bertram strangles her and lives at the beach in complete solitude until he is found by a British brig that rescues him.

Chapter 4: "Gennaro"

The painter Gennaro tells a story of when he was the young apprentice of the famous Godofredo Walsh. Walsh had a young, beautiful wife named Nauza (whom Gennaro loved) and a young, beautiful daughter named Laura (who loved Gennaro). One day, Laura gets pregnant of Gennaro, but when she proposes marriage to him, he declines. Displeased, she dies of depression, taking the baby with her.

The old painter, not knowing anything, visits his daughter's bedroom every night and, because of this, Gennaro starts sleeping with his wife. However, the painter is able to make Gennaro confess everything in a certain night. Days later, Godofredo takes Gennaro to a cliff and tries to kill him. However, he survives the fall and decides to return to Godofredo's house — initially planning to apologize, but later he changes his mind and decides to take his revenge on the painter. However, when he arrives at the painter's house, he finds Nauza and Godofredo dead.

Chapter 5: "Claudius Hermann"

Claudius Hermann, an assiduous gambler, spots the beautiful duchess Eleonora at a horse race and falls in love with her at first sight. He finds her once more in a theatre, and during an entire week he stalks her.

In a certain night, he bribes one of the duchess' lackeys for permission to enter her house for an hour, and also a copy of her bedroom's keys. He puts sedative in the duchess' wine and takes advantage of her, returning for many nights.

In one of these nights, her husband, duke Maffio, inadvertently drinks some of the sedative. Claudius, who planned to kill him, changes his mind and kidnaps Eleonora. Arriving in an inn, she wakes up, and Claudius tells her everything, forcing her to stay with him. Optionless, she accepts.

Some days later, when Claudius returns home, he finds the duchess and her husband dead.

Chapter 6: "Johann"

Johann's story begins in a different tavern, located in Paris, France. He was playing a game of carom billiards with a blonde-haired man named Arthur. Johann was losing the game, while Arthur only needed to score one point to win. When it is Johann's turn to play, Arthur bumps into the table (accidentally or not), detouring Johann's ball, thus making him lose the game. Infuriated, he defies Arthur to a duel, which he accepts. They stop at a hotel to get the guns, and the blonde man writes two notes. They head to a desert and dark street. In there, they choose their guns — but only one is loaded.

They shoot. It is revealed that Johann's gun was the loaded one, and Arthur, before dying, hands Johann the notes he wrote. The first note is addressed to Arthur's mother, and the another one is addressed to his girlfriend, accompanied with an address, a marked time and an engagement ring. Pretending to be Arthur, Johann decides to steal his girlfriend.

In the morning after they sleep together, Johann is attacked by a mysterious man. After a short struggle, he kills the man. However, after a close inspection, he discovers that the man he killed was his brother, and Arthur's girlfriend was his sister.

Chapter 7: "Último Beijo de Amor"

In the last chapter, "Último Beijo de Amor" ("Last Love Kiss"), the orgy ends; everyone is sleeping. A mysterious hooded figure walks into the tavern and kills Johann, and then heads toward a man named Arnold.

The figure is revealed to be Giorgia, Johann's sister, and Arnold is actually Arthur (that somehow survived the duel) under a false name. Giorgia reveals to Arthur that she wanted to get her revenge on Johann, and having done so, the honor Johann stole from her when they slept together is finally restored.

After trading some love words with Arthur, both decide to suicide.


A short film based on the book is currently being made, scheduled to be released by late 2013.

External links

  • Official Facebook page for the film adaptation (Portuguese)