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The Literary Institution in Portugal since the Thirties

An Analysis under Special Consideration of the Publishing Market

Margarida Rendeiro

Despite the numerous studies of the politics, economy, culture, and society of the Estado Novo, the relations established between publishers, authors, and governmental institutions and their contribution to the making of the literary canon are still marginal subjects of analysis. Based on the systems theories developed by Bourdieu, Dubois and Even-Zohar, this study focuses on the cultural production produced during the Estado Novo (1933-1974) and after the Revolution (1974-2004), within their political, economic and social framework. The chapters on José Saramago and José Luís Peixoto show them as examples of literary consecration that confirm the systemic relations in the Portuguese literary field. This research makes use of a survey on habits of purchase of Portuguese fiction, interviews with publishers, original statistical analyses, and takes a new approach to the study of Portuguese literature.

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CHAPTER 2 Education and Readership at the Service of Politics during the Estado Novo (1933-1974) 35

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35 CHAPTER 2 Education and Readership at the Service of Politics during the Estado Novo (1933-1974) This chapter will aim to show: first how the Estado Novo enforced education and moulded a Portuguese literary canon that met the requirements of its political strategy; and second, how education influenced readership in a country with economic and social prob- lems, such as poverty and massive illiteracy. The contribution of Itamar Even-Zohar’s work on the Polysystem Theory will be of particular relevance to the understanding of the Estado Novo’s disregard for the systematicity of Portuguese society. Immediately after the Portuguese Government was appointed on 19 March 1933, António de Oliveira Salazar defined that educa- tion should serve the wide-ranging purpose of re-defining national identity.1 The 1933 Constitution guaranteed that public opinion was a fundamental instrument and that the State was responsible for defending it from every subversive factor.2 When the Revolução Nacional was implemented, opposition was only theo- retically possible because Salazar wanted to make sure that it would not affect his reforms. The União Nacional, set up in 1930, aggregated the civilian forces which supported the Estado Novo. The Regime was strengthened through the assimilation of certain ideological stances and vocabulary used by nuclei and institutions 1 ‘Mas a posse do Estado, que é condição necessária para salvar a Nação da ruína total e da desordem, não é factor suficiente de renovação material ou moral nem por si só pode garantir a estabilidade, o futuro...

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