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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 6 Consecration and Legitimacy in the Portuguese Literary Field between 1974 and 2004 143


143 CHAPTER 6 Consecration and Legitimacy in the Portuguese Literary Field between 1974 and 2004 This chapter sets out to show that the Revolution did not provide the cultural field with more autonomy. The Governments in office between 1974 and 2004 inherited the position of major agent of literary consecration conquered by Salazar’s Government and did little to withdraw their influence on the literary field. The Presi- dent of the Republic gained a significant importance in writers’ consecration between 1978 and 2004 through the Honours awarded on the 10 June. Despite this information being publicized in the media every year, it has not been compiled in a single doc- ument. Therefore, for the purposes of this thesis three chronologi- cal tables were drawn with the Portuguese writers awarded by Presidents Ramalho Eanes (1978-1981), Mário Soares (1985-1994), and Jorge Sampaio (1996-2004). The purpose was to examine to what extent Honours illustrated criteria of literary consecration and exemplified the influence of the political environment in the literary field between 1978 and 2004. Three tables were also drawn with the prizewinners between 1978 and 2000, their prizewinning works, publishing houses and panels for the prizes of the Asso- ciação Portuguesa de Escritores, the Pen Club and Casa de Mateus, the Lisbon City Hall, the CP/AICL (literary critics’ association), the Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (SPA), the Government (Camões Prize) and Expresso/Unysis (Pessoa Prize).1 The purpose was to establish to the extent to which: (1) the prestige and authority of those...

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