Scholars had pointed out similarities between " As religiões do Rio " and the book "Les petites réligions of Paris" (1898), of the French Jules Bois. However, the similarity seems to be much more in the general idea (an inquiry on the religious minorities manifestations in a great city) than in the plan of the formal accomplishment. Between February and March 1904, he carried through a series of news articles entitled As religiões do Rio (The religions of Rio ). Beyond its character of "investigative journalism", it constitutes an in important anthropological and sociological analysis, early recognized as such, particularly by the four pioneering texts about African cults, which precedes in more than a quarter of century the publications of Nina Rodrigues on the subject (beyond that, the works of Rodrigues was practically restricted to the academic circles of Bahia).
According to his biographers, Barreto represented the outgrowth of a new type of journalist in the Brazilian press of the beginning of the 20th century. Until then, the literary and journalistic practice by intellectuals was regarded as of little account, a lesser activity for people with many vacant hours (e.g., public servants). Paulo Barreto has moved the literary creation frontwards and started to live from this, using his pen names (more than ten) to attract various audiences.
Son of Alfredo Coelho Barreto (a Mathematics teacher and positivist), and Florência dos Santos Barreto (housewife). Paulo Barreto was born in Hospício St., 284 (current Buenos Aires St., in Rio de Janeiro's downtown). He take classes of Portuguese language in the traditional Colégio São Bento (São Bento school) where started to exert his natural endowment for literature. At the age of 15, he was admitted in the National Gymnasium; today, Colégio D. Pedro II (D. Pedro II school).
João do Rio was the pseudonym of the Brazilian journalist, short-story writer and playwright João Paulo Emilio Cristóvão dos Santos Coelho Barreto, a Brazilian author and journalist of African descent (August 5, 1881, Rio de Janeiro— June 23, 1921, Rio de Janeiro). He was elected on May 7, 1910 for the chair # 26 of Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Some biographers criticize Barreto for the fact that, when he realised the bonanza he could obtain by the publication of collections (something that would become common in Brazil in the second half of 20th century), he developed a "formula" to inflate his own bibliography.