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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 5 Politics, Economy and Social Environment as Constraints on the Constitution of Readership between 1974 and 2004 119


119 CHAPTER 5 Politics, Economy and Social Environment as Constraints on the Constitution of Readership between 1974 and 2004 This chapter sets to examine the extent to which the political, eco- nomic and social transformations between 1974 and 2004 shaped Portuguese readership and how the Governments’ educational reforms influenced the Portuguese literary canon. The Revolution overthrew the Estado Novo and its institutions overnight: the President of the Republic was dismissed; the Government was exonerated; the National Assembly and the Council of State were dissolved; the PIDE and the Mocidade Portuguesa were extin- guished. My aim is to establish that, despite the political, economic and social changes between 1974 and 2004, certain values sup- ported by Salazar’s Government continued to influence the Portu- guese literary field, and particularly consecration and Portuguese readership during the period mentioned above. Statistics show that Portuguese public expenditure on educa- tion more than doubled after the Revolution: in 1970, it corre- sponded to 1.5 per cent of the GNP, and it rose to 3.8 per cent in 1980 and again to 4.3 in 1990. Only in 1990 did it become closer to the average spends of other European countries. This was mainly due to the fact that public expenditure on education decreased or levelled off in those countries until the 1990s: according to the UNESCO statistics, the United Kingdom’s public expenditure cor- responded to 5.3 per cent in 1970 and to 4.9 per cent in 1990; Finland’s public expenditure was 5.9 per cent in 1970 and...

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