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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 4 Compromise and Autonomy in Consecration during the Estado Novo 89


89 CHAPTER 4 Compromise and Autonomy in Consecration during the Estado Novo This chapter will examine the literary prizes set up by the Acade- mia das Ciências de Lisboa and the Sociedade Portuguesa de Es- critores, which competed with the Government as consecrating agents during the Estado Novo. The aim is to show that, although they challenged the Government’s ideology (particularly the SPE), the Government’s pursuit of being the sole consecrating agent re- strained those institutions’ rewarding of Portuguese fiction. Table 6 shows the Ricardo Malheiros Prize (1933-1973) and Table 7A and 7B list the SPE Literary Prizes (1961-1965). I included their prize- winning writers, works and their publishing houses with the aim of showing that the cultural opposition led by certain writers and publishers had significant impact in the constitution of the Portu- guese canon between 1974 and 2004.1 I will examine literary prizewinning and complement it with my study on the booklists and readership of the Gulbenkian mobile libraries (and contrast it with the SNI mobile libraries). My purpose is to illustrate that the struggles of legitimacy in the literary field involving the estab- lishment of the SPE, the Gulbenkian and, to some extent, the Aca- demia das Ciências, as alternative agents of consecration, aimed at 1 Information on the Ricardo Malheiros Literary Prize was taken from [accessed September 2007]; Information on the SPE Lite- rary Prizes was taken from João Pedro George, O Meio Literário Português (1960/1998) – Prémios Literários, Escritores,...

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