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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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Appendix 1 Interview with Zeferino Coelho at Editorial Caminho’s Head Office on 8th November 2004 339


339 Appendix 1: Interview with Zeferino Coelho at Editorial Caminho’s Head Office on 8th November 2004 1. How does Editorial Caminho get manuscripts? Is it through literary agents or do writers themselves send them to you? We mostly publish Portuguese speaking writers; In this field, writ- ers do not employ literary agents and approach publishers di- rectly. 2. And how do you decide on manuscripts? Do you try to track the writer’s personal style? Most come by mail. Probably around six hundred offerings every year. And then, there are people we know and they approach us personally; but the large majority comes by mail. We read them. If we think the manuscript is good, we publish it. If we believe that it does not bring anything new, we turn it down. This is basically how it works. 3. There are publishing houses oriented towards the publication of debu- tants; there are others which publish writers who have achieved a certain literary stature. Does Editorial Caminho follow this second orientation? I beleive we try to reach a balance. Having the writers we publish already, we pursue the publication of new texts worth being pub- lished. For example, Ondjaki, a new and talented writer, and Gon- çalo M. Tavares. We try to be balanced. And we publish just a few new ones a year. This is basically because we cannot afford it. But we are not desperately trying to find new writers. 4. How do you take care of your writers and...

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