Portuguese Literary Canon


Students are expected to learn the history of the modern debate around the canon of Portuguese Literature, from the beginning of 19th century to this day, as well as some important landmarks of similar debates about other literatures in Portuguese language.
They should acknowledge the institutional and historical nature of the process that stabilizes a national literary canon and be able to produce critical analysis of the controversies produced along the process of regular revision of the canon.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Joana Rodrigues Meirim da Silva


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable


Braga, Teófilo, História da Literatura Portuguesa, INCM, 2005.
Garrett, Almeida, Romanceiro, Ulisseia, 1997.
Helder, Herberto, Edoi Lelia Doura ­ Antologia das Vozes Comunicantes da Poesia Moderna Portuguesa, Assírio & Alvim, 1985.
Herculano, Alexandre, Opúsculos, vol. V, Presença, 1985.
Lourenço, Eduardo, Tempo e Poesia, Gradiva, 2003.
Pessoa, Fernando, Crítica, Assírio & Alvim, 2000.
Redol, Alves, Glória, Caminho, 2004.
Redol, Alves, Gaibéus, Caminho, 2011.
Rosa, António Ramos, Poesia, Liberdade Livre, 1962.

Teaching method

Each class begins with a lecture on the topic and the texts previously chosen, followed by a period of debate and clarification with the students.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

1. The institution of modernity: canon, history and nation.
a) The institution of Portuguese literature in the work of Alexandre Herculano;
b) Antero de Quental and the philosophy of Portuguese literary history;
c) Teófilo Braga and the anthropological history of Portuguese literature;
d) From Fernando Pessoa to António Ramos Rosa: theory and politics of the «Portuguese» poetical modernity.
2. Canonizations of «the People».
a) Almeida Garrett and the philology of traditional Romanceiro;
b) Neo­realism and ethnograpy: two books by Alves Redol («Glória» and «Gaibéus») and the problem of its connection with literature.
3. Anti­canons in the 20th century.
a) Canon subversion in the practice and the theory of Surrealism;
b) Alternative canons: Herberto Helder and his anthology of the «communicating voices of modern Portuguese poetry»;
c) Modernism as a question of canon.


Programs where the course is taught: