Medieval Portuguese Literature


1. understand how Portuguese Literature functions at its early stages within a wider medieval Portuguese context as well as an Iberian and a European frame;
2. be able to analyze narrative and poetic texts in Galician-Portuguese and old Portuguese;
3. recognize the main structural features (style, genre, etc.) of medieval poetry and narrative, and its imaginative and aesthetic value;
4. understand the connections between medieval poetry and prose and later Portuguese literature;
5. become familiar with basic theoretical and methodological tools required to read and study medieval texts.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ana Paiva Morais


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Lopes, G. V. (2010). “The galician-portuguese as a literary language during Middle Ages”, em A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula. Vol. I, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 396-412.
Júdice, N. (1989). O espaço do conto no texto medieval, Lisboa, Vega.
Tavani, G. (2002). Trovadores e jograis. Introdução à Poesia galego-portuguesa. Lisboa: Ed. Caminho.
Tavani, G., Lanciani, J. (1993). Dicionário da Literatura medieval galega e portuguesa. Lisboa: Ed. Caminho.
Mattoso, J. (1983). Narrativa dos Livros de Linhagens. Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional- Casa da Moeda.
Freire-Nunes, I. (ed.) (2005). A Demanda do Graal. (2a ed. revista). Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional- Casa da Moeda.

Teaching method

60% theoretical classes, which will consist on seminars on the mains themes of the syllabus, poetical and cultural contextualisation of the works of the syllabus. Specialized websites and databases are resources frequently used in this course. The Moodle platform is a main tool in teacbhing methodologies; 40% lectures (reading and text analysis, basic exercises with the manuscripts, visualization of images and medieval music listening, among others).
In class teaching.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Attendance(10%), Participation in class work(10%), Two tests or a test and a paper(80%)

Subject matter

After a brief introduction to social and historic medieval contexts, we will focus on the study of Portuguese poetry and prose from the late 12th century up to the 15th century. We will then move on to poetry, focusing primarily on Galician-Portuguese “cantigas”, which will be read and analyzed from both a generic point of view (timelines, troubadours’ production methods, the manuscript tradition or the music) and a more specific point of view (the different genres and types of songs, their universe of meaning). The relationship between Galician-Portuguese and European poetry will also be briefly analysed. Concerning the prose works, we will address the various genres represented, from hagiographic texts and spiritual prose, to mythical texts, didactic or cronistic prose, as well as fables and the matter of Britian specifically arthurian courly romance.