Portugal Literature Part II

However, it would be misleading to present a picture of the literary reality (and not only) of a country only by stylistic waves, or by generations, or by geographic areas, or by ideological currents, without having in mind the specific synchronic reality of a culture at all times. in which old and new always coexist and intersect and the already established authors, while not abdicating their function as custodians of a determined and perhaps very personal tradition, listen to the rising poetic provocations by changing themselves. It is therefore not by chance that, in a country such as today’s Portugal, in a moment of great cultural effervescence, where rediscovering is equivalent to inventing, the one who continues to mark Portuguese literature of the Eighties, both nationally and internationally., be the poet, ideologue, Orpheu, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), whose eteronymic work (i.e. attributed to various poetizing personalities) had only been partially published in life, continuing to appear different today every day for the new reading of a text or the publication of an unpublished hitherto kept in the famous ” bare ” of the National Library of Lisbon. It can therefore also be said that the Eighties (in 1985 the fiftieth anniversary of his death was solemnly celebrated and the centenary of his birth in 1988) were those for Fr. de Camões, the twentieth-century poet Pessoa, the laurel wreath of the bard to the floppy hat of modernity: with a new impact of fortune on the public of every nation. More than anywhere else.

However, it is in the narrative that the newfound national creativity is best expressed. Here, too, the decade saw the disappearance of some of the protagonists of the previous season and here too their work, often of intense protest against the dictatorship of the “ dinosaur ” Salazar, now receives an impossible notoriety when its authors were alive.

According to Fashionissupreme, typical are the cases of José Rodrigues Miguéis (1901-1980), a clear and elegant narrator, who from a Dostoevskian debut goes through exile to become a reporter of Portuguese emigration in the world (Idealista do mundo Real, 1986, posthumous); and of Jorge de Sena (1919-1978), poet, storyteller, essayist, playwright, never returned from Californian exile and of whom, after his death, his compatriots, who knew almost only his poetic and critical work, posthumously discover a narrative of crude autobiographical resonances and of inexhaustible demonic fantasy (Novas andanças do demónio, 1966, from which the recent taste extrapolates, autonomously, the novel of O físico prodigioso ; Os grãos capitães, 1976; Sinais de fogo, 1980). Carlos de Oliveira (1921-1981) also belongs to the handful of opponents of the neo-realist regime now revisited by the public and critics, who have not been able to fully enter the promised land of post-Salazarism (Finisterra, 1978); while for Mário Dionísio (1916-1993) the initial neo-realist inspiration will eventually flow into the short story of apologetic taste (A morte é para os outros, 1988). One of the most vigorous authors of the past season, Fernando Namora (1919-1989), also in opposition during the years of the regime and therefore in his debut poet and narrator of neorealist inspiration and denunciation (Retalhos da vida de um médico, 15th ed. recast, 1989), will instead conclude his artistic parable with an almost detective novel of anguished existential uncertainty (O Rio Triste, 1982, with the poetic counterpoint of Nome para uma casa, 1984).

It was in fact existentialism that initially marked some of the most significant voices of the current Portuguese narrative. The first name is still that of Vergílio Ferreira (b.1916), who in his latest works, Para semper (1983) and Até o fim (1987), which since 1980 are joined by the 5 volumes of a diary, Conta current, which will be one of the great public successes of this decade, spreads the great stylistic knowledge gained in years of critical teaching and narrative practice into more intense and colorful narrative modules. Urbano Tavares Rodrigues (b.1923) also started from existentialist assumptions, so however the burning socialist demand of the beginnings will lead in recent years into more amusing and sober narrative intertwining (Violeta ea noite, 1991). One of the most original and vigorous storytellers of the decade continues to be José Cardoso Pires (b. 1925). Established internationally in 1968 with a novel such as O Delfim, a metaphor for the ” male chauvinism ” typical of Portuguese society in the dark years, in the decade he found a new narrative reason, becoming a mirror, rather than a historical one, of the national reality, in a process that it ranges from the political-detective detective story of the last Salazarist period Balada da praia dos cães (1982), to the fresco of the new society by Alexandra Alpha (1987) and A república dos corvos (1988).

The recent Portuguese literary season is also characterized by a vigorous group of storytellers who know how to come out originally from a traditional female theme linked to memorialism and individual confession to become part of the sociality of a choir, for which every event – from emigration to the African war, fought by Portugal almost in secret – it became in the last sixties and during the seventies a common theme of meditation and memory without distinction of sexes.

Portugal Literature 2