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There's No Word for «Saudade»

Perspectives on the Literature and Culture of Portuguese America


George Monteiro

There’s No Word for Saudade contains twenty-one essays aimed at a readership interested in cultural and historical materials, including those related to Portuguese America. Significant figures covered include John Dos Passos, Charles Reis Felix, Julian Silva, John Philip Sousa, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, James Merrill, and the Azorean John Francis, businessman, patron, and friend to the fabled Provincetown Players. Concluding essays scrutinize and judge the phenomenon of the Portuguese movie in the 1930s and 1940s, and trace the history of the tricky but persistently present Portuguese concept of saudade.
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Chapter 2. The March King


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“Composer, Novelist, Conductor Band” was John Philip Sousa’s answer when asked to list his occupation for the official Officers’ of Sousa Training Record at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. At the time, he was sixty-three years old, an old patriot answering still again his country’s call. To some, it will come as a surprise that Sousa was not joking when he called himself a novelist; but even to those aware that he wrote and published fiction, that he would see himself as first a composer, and second as a novelist, relegating to third place his most famous and richly rewarding role as Conductor of the Sousa Band, comes as an even greater surprise. For the truth is that although he did not publish his first novel until he was forty-eight years old and though that one was followed by only two others—the third when he was sixty-five—Sousa was deadly serious about his role as novelist. And why shouldn’t he be? His first novel, The Fifth String—actually a novella—was published in 1902 and sold over 50,000 copies, and it did so despite the indifference of reviewers, the Sousa name having something to do with the buying public’s warm reception. In any case, having succeeded with this first book, Sousa immediately set about on a second one, a boy’s novel entitled Pipetown Sandy, brought out in 1905. This time around, the public results were different...

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