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EN2XX/EN3XX Comparative Perspectives on Luso-Afro-Brazilian Narrative


This module is an approved option for the Theory and World Literature Pathways and an option for other pathways

Convenor: Prof Paulo de Medeiros (


This module will provide a critical survey of some of the most acclaimed works in various literatures written in Portuguese as well as of lusophone film, from Angola, Brazil, Mozambique and Portugal. The works analyzed will range from 19th century realist novels to contemporary postmodern narratives. A comparative approach will highlight intersections between the various lusophone narratives, problematize the way the nation is constructed and deconstructed in them at various crucial historical moments, including the 1974 return to democracy in Portugal, the subsequent process of decolonization and the civil wars that ensued in Angola and Mozambique. The relationship between the literary and the filmic and their respective grammars will be a constant focus as well as the relation of lusophone texts to world literature. The module also will look at some very recent works in order to examine how narrative is involved in processes of remembering and forgetting that are crucial for a negotiation of past violences and the imagination of different futures.

Assessment Two 5,000 word essays

Syllabus (provisional)

Term 1: Imagining the Nation, Re-Imagining the Self

Week 1 Introduction: Lusophone literatures as World Literature

Week 2 Eça de Queirós. The Maias. Transl. Margaret Jull Costa. [1888]. 2007.

Week 3 Machado de Assis. Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas. Transl. G. Rabassa [1880]. 1997.

Week 4 Fernando Pessoa. Book of Disquiet. Transl. Richard Zenith. 2001.

Week 5 João Botelho. Filme do Desassossego (Film of Disquiet). 2010.

Week 6 Reading Week

Week 7 Clarice Lispector. The Hour of the Star. Transl. Giovanni Pontiero. 1992.

Week 8 Suzana Amaral, Dir. Hour of the Star (film). 1985.

Week 9 Mia Couto. Sleepwalking Land. Trans;. David Brookshaw.2006

Week 10 Teresa Prata, Dir. Sleepwalking Land (film). 2007.

Term 2: Post-Imperial Intersections

Week 1 José Eduardo Agualusa. Creole. Transl. Daniel Hahn. 2007.

Week 2 José Saramago. Blindness. Transl. Giovanni Pontiero. 1997.

Week 3 António Lobo Antunes. The Splendor of Portugal. Transl. Rhett McNeill. 2011.

Week 4 Lídia Jorge. The Murmuring Coast. Transls. N Costa and R. W. Sousa. 1995.

Week 5 Margarida Cardoso, Dir. The Murmuring Coast (film). 2004.

Week 6 Reading Week

Week 7 Chico Buarque de Holanda. Spilt Milk. Transl. Alison Entrekin. 2012.

Week 8 Michel Laub. Diary of the Fall. Transl. Margaret Jull Costa. 2014.

Week 9 Edney Silvestre. If I close my eyes now. Transl. Nick Caistor. 2013.

Week 10 Miguel Gomes, Dir. Tabu (film). 2013.

Selected Bibliography

Bosi, Alfredo. Brazil and the Dialectic of Colonisation. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 2015.

Castello Branco, Patricia and Susana Viegas, Eds. Portuguese Cinema and Philosophy. Volume 5 of Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image. 2014.

Coleman, Alexander. Eça de Queiroz and European Realism. New York: NYUP, 1980.

Coutinho, Afranio. Introduction to Brazilian Literature. Transl. Gregory Rabassa. New York: Columbia UP, 1968.

Echevarria, Roberto et al. Eds. The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature. Vol. 3. Cambridge: CUP, 1996.

Frier, David G. The Novels of José Saramago: Echoes from the Past, Pathways into the Future. Cardiff: The U of Wales P. 2007.

Johnson, Randal and Robert Stam, Eds. Brazilian Cinema. Austin: U of Texas P, 1995.

Kaufman, Helena and A. Klobucka. After the Revolution: Twenty Years of Portuguese Literature, 1974-1994. Bucknell: Bucknell UP, 1997.

Klobucka, A., and M. Sabine. Eds. Embodying Pessoa: Corporeality, Gender, Sexuality. Toronto: Toronto UP, 2007.

Medeiros, Paulo de. Ed. Postcolonial Theory and Lusophone Literatures. Utrecht: Utrecht Portuguese Studies Center, 2007.

Medeiros, Paulo de. Pessoa’s Geometry of the Abyss: Modernity and the Book of Disquiet. Oxford: Legenda, 2013.

Nagib, Lucia, Ed. The New Brazilian Cinema. New York: I. B. Tauris, 2003.

Nagib, Lucia. Theorizing World Cinema. New York: Tauris, 2012.

Owen, Hilary and Anna Klobucka, Eds. Gender, Empire and Postcolony: Luso-Afro-Brazilian Intersections. New York: Palgrave, 2014.

Parkinson, Stephen et al. Eds. A Companion to Portuguese Literature. London: Tamesis, 2009.

Pazos Alonso, Claudia and Claire Williams, Eds. Closer to the Wild Heart: Essays on Clarice Lispector. Oxford: Legenda, 2002.

Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, 2. Lídia Jorge In Other Words. 1999.

Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, 19-20.Facts and Fictions of António Lobo Antunes. 2011.

Rothwell., Phillip. A Postmodern Nationalist: Truth, Orality, and Gender in the Work of Mia Couto. Bucknell: Bucknell UP, 2004.

Sapega, Ellen W. Consensus and Debate in Salazar’s Portugal: Visual and Literary Negotiations of the National Text, 1933-1948. University Park: Penn State UP, 2008.

Shaw, Lisa and Stephanie Dennison. Brazilian National Cinema. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007.

Schwarz, Roberto. A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism: Machado de Assis. Transl. John Gledson. Durham: Duke UP, 2001.

Veríssimo, Erico. Brazilian Literature: An Outline. New York: Macmillan, 1945.