Spanish and Portuguese | Seminar in Portuguese Literature
P701 | 25155 | E. Vieira

Professor Estela Vieira

P701 Seminar in Portuguese Literature

Topic: City and Country: Portuguese Literature from the 18 th to the
19th Century

W 2:30pm - 5:00pm/section# 25155/3cr/Location TBA

The distinction between city and country has a long and complex
rhetorical history that has shaped varied literary traditions. While
some narratives champion the virtues of the quiet and natural
country life and censure the vices of urban centers, others
emphasize the backwardness of the rural setting and advocate the
city’s progressive vitality. These topoi are essential to reading
Portuguese literature, particularly nineteenth-century romantic and
realist-naturalist novels. But, as we will discover, these stories
complicate the opposition between city and country, both creating
and deconstructing the ideologies that constituted an understanding
of their time. To prepare ourselves for the reading of classics such
as Camilo Castelo Branco’s "A Queda dum Anjo", Julio Dinis’s "A
Morgadinha dos Canaviais", and Eça de Queirós’s "O Primo Basílio"
and "A Cidade e as Serras", we will begin with a selection of
eighteenth-century texts that already debate between tradition and
progress, and modernity and the pre-modern. We will pay particular
attention to the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and its literary
aftershocks. This turning-point event divides eighteenth-century
Portugal into the Baroque and Neoclassicist periods, and brings into
focus these controversial worldviews while having a cosmopolitan
center as its setting. Finally, we will consistently work with the
two meanings of country (countryside and nation), and explore how
oppositions between city and country are also a form of questioning
and building a sense of national identity.