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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 7 José Saramago and José Luís Peixoto: Two Case Studies of Literary Legitimacy and Consecration 169

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169 CHAPTER 7 José Saramago and José Luís Peixoto: Two Case Studies of Literary Legitimacy and Consecration. I will examine José Saramago’s social trajectory between the 1960s and 1998, during which he reached an undisputed position in the Portuguese literary field, culminating with the 1998 Nobel Prize of Literature. I will endeavour to establish that there were four major decisive factors which influenced Saramago’s canonicity: the Por- tuguese political, social and cultural environment; Saramago’s social trajectory, that is, the making of his public persona; the tim- ing of the publication of his novels; and the fact that he was pub- lished by Editorial Caminho. Furthermore, I examine the public recognition of José Luís Peixoto, who was first published in 2000 and benefited from the fact that José Saramago was a consecrated writer, when he was awarded the José Saramago Literary Prize in 2001. Saramago’s authority became decisive in Peixoto’s symbolic capital whereas Peixoto’s position in the literary field also strengthened Saramago’s authority and prestige. 7.1 JOSÉ SARAMAGO 7.1.1 Social Trajectory In 1947, Saramago published his first novel, Terra do Pecado. Origi- nally named A Viúva, he sent the manuscript to the publishing house Parceria António Maria Pereira but he did not receive any feedback from them. Later, unexpectedly, he received a phone call from the editor Manuel Rodrigues, of Minerva, asking to see him on account of the manuscript. Rodrigues agreed to publish it but suggested a change in the title to the more appealing Terra...

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