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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 3 Literary Canon and Ideology in the Formation of Cultural Identity during the Estado Novo (1933-1974) 55


55 CHAPTER 3 Literary Canon and Ideology in the Formation of Cultural Identity during the Estado Novo (1933-1974) This chapter will seek to establish that during the Estado Novo the Government coordinated the educational and the cultural policies and oriented consecration of literary authors and texts with the purpose of creating a corpus of national literature, representative of the Regime’s ideological principles. It will also discuss to what extent the Government’s construction of cultural identity inter- fered with the promotion of Portuguese literature in worldwide book markets. This chapter will focus on the role of the Govern- ment as consecrating agent. Since Government-sponsored literary prizes rewarded works that reflected the Regime’s promotion of cultural regeneration of the nation, my analysis focuses on writers, texts rewarded and financial rewards and systematized this information in five tables. Data were first published by the SNI and have been differently compiled by historians.1 My tables also include the prizewinners’ publishing houses and, thus, this facilitates an examination of the profile and prestige of publishers of the SNI prizewinners, cross- ing them with data of prizewinners and works. I compared literary prizes with the Government’s official speeches and facts and fig- ures on the Portuguese book trade, in order to consider the follow- ing: the extent to which financial rewards indicated a scale of im- 1 For information on prizewinners, works and financial rewards, see António Ferro, Prémios Literários (1934-1947) (Lisbon: SNI, 1950); João Medina, ed., História Contemporânea de...

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