Journalist, pamphleteer and novelist, republican, anticlerical and abolitionist, Júlio Ribeiro (1845-1890) is one of Brazil's most vigorous writers. Flesh (1888), his principal work of fiction, was written in the context of the Brazilian Naturalist movement and inspired very closely by the great French writer Émile Zola, to whom it is dedicated. It tells the story of Lenita, an exceptional young woman in contemporary Brazil, who embarks on a passionate affair with the middle-aged Manuel, son of fazenda owner Colonel Barbosa. Although the most revolutionary social criticism in the novel has to do with the position of woman in society, all the controversial aspects of the work were subsumed in the scandal aroused by its presentation of female sexuality, still startling today. The ensuing scandal was not resolved until the loosening of conventional standards in the 1960s and 70s. Recognised as an important milestone in the literature of Brazil, it provides a fascinating picture of fazenda life in the late nineteenth century, and of a young woman who tries to buck the rules of society: 'She had wanted to fly, to soar, to reach the clouds, but the flesh had pinned her to earth and she had fallen...'.