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Literature and Writing

Portuguese Literature

Galicians, Francisco Xavier, Age of Enlightenment, Poetic inspiration, Iberian Peninsula

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Portuguese Literature, literature of Portugal, written in Portuguese and other languages. It is noted for the sweetness of its lyrical verse and the biting wit of its satirical prose. Portuguese literature may be divided into four periods: 1200 to 1415, the age of the troubadours; 1415 to 1580, the humanistic flowering, rivaling that of Castile; 1580 to 1820, a time of stagnation; and 1820 to the present, the romantic revival. Until the 14th century, Portuguese literature was a regional variety of the literature of the Iberian Peninsula, composed in the language of northwestern Spain by Galicians, Portuguese, and Castilians alike; down to the 17th century many Portuguese also wrote in Castilian. Thus, the Portuguese claim authorship of Amadis of Gaul, the greatest Spanish novel of chivalry.

The Age of Enlightenment

In the 18th century, in the name of “good taste,” Franco-Italian classical academic regularity vanquished baroque exuberance. Poetic inspiration, thus repressed, found a precarious refuge in Brazil, and in its place didactic literature abounded. The Verdadeiro metodo de estudar (True Method of Study, 1746) of Luis Antonio Verney, an anti-Scholastic, anti-Jesuitic treatise on education, led to reforms typical of the Age of Enlightenment. In a lighter vein, Antonio Jose da Silva produced burlesque puppet plays, and Francisco Xavier de Oliveira, who fled to England, became the first Portuguese essayist with his chatty Cartas familiares (Letters to Friends, 1741-1742). The romantic period was foreshadowed in the autobiographical and philosophical sonnets Rimas (Rhymes, 1791-1799), which were written by a reckless bohemian, Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage, who spent his talent on improvisations and obscenities.

Article key phrases:

Galicians, Francisco Xavier, Age of Enlightenment, Poetic inspiration, Iberian Peninsula, estudar, romantic period, troubadours, Castile, good taste, obscenities, improvisations, sweetness, Oliveira, Brazil, England, Rhymes, Friends, education, century, present, Letters, talent, periods, languages

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