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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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Conclusion 263


263 Conclusion This thesis has endeavoured to show that: during the Estado Novo (1933-1974), the Government oriented education and literary prac- tice with the purpose of legitimizing its rule; between 25 April 1974 and 2004, the Government and the President inherited the power of literary consecration established during Salazar’s rule and did little to withdraw their influence, suggesting that Portu- guese culture and, particularly literary practice, did not develop a fully-fledged autonomy as far as relations of legitimacy and conse- cration are concerned. This analysis was supported by the theoretical models devel- oped by Pierre Bourdieu (Theory of the Literary Field), Jacques Dubois (Theory of Literary Institution), and Itamar Even-Zohar (Polysystem Theory), within the framework of systems theories which suggest examining literature as an autonomous system where dynamic relations of their agents establish particular posi- tions of literary legitimacy and consecration. Grounded on certain values that were linked to Roman- Catholic worship, anti-liberal traditionalist and right-wing ideol- ogy, the Regime of Salazar took advantage of social problems, es- pecially illiteracy, to implement its policies under the banner of national regeneration. The Ministry of Education carried out edu- cational reforms which included campaigns against illiteracy in the 1950s. They also involved shortening the length of time of compulsory education and revising primary and secondary school literary texts of the subjects of Portuguese language and literature. Reading skills were developed through texts which were meant to illustrate national values, ranging from Roman-Catholic worship, respect and admiration for the Portuguese nation (rooted in...

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