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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 11. Canadian ‘Gees


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Later published, in English translation as Paradise on Hold (1987), Laura Bulger’s Vaivém (1986) first attracted my attention for its putative subject matter. The collection contained stories about immigration, I was told. And very good stories about immigration they turned out to be.

Yet to say only that would do a disservice to the author. For at their best her stories transcend the type and stand forth as impressive fictional accomplishments in their own right. To put it another way, there is matter in her stories to interest those looking for sociological and socio-psychological insights into recent emigrant experience, but such matter, though perhaps the very engine of the author’s work, does not in any way exhaust our interest in the stories of Vaivém as literary works.

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