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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 3 Interview with Maria do Rosário Pedreira, Publisher of Temas e Debates, sent by E-Mail on 23rd November 2004 357


357 Appendix 3: Interview with Maria do Rosário Pedreira, Publisher of Temas e Debates, sent by E-Mail on 23rd November 2004. 1. How do you choose manuscripts? Do you try to identify a writing style? What are the criteria which enable you to determine ‘quality’ stan- dards for Temas e Debates? There are several ways of choosing a manuscript for publication; however, as far as our Portuguese fiction series is concerned, our criteria have been based upon quality and not so much on the po- tential to be market-appeal (let’s say we are more interested in an author who is determined to continue writing and may be in- cluded in future histories of Portuguese Literature than in an au- thor who is a bestseller because of a timely issue put before the public but who does not evolve. This ‘quality’ standard includes the writing style, since a good story without a ‘writing style’ may be poor. What we feel about most manuscripts that we turn down is that lack of ‘style’. That style is often the result of reading multi- ple styles (it is very easy to track an author who has not read any- thing). Broadly speaking, when the writing style is clearly marked (either because it is completely different from other authors’ – originality – or because of allusions, associations and reference to styles of consecrated authors), we are half-way there; afterwards we just need to check whether there are any contradictions, errors, mistakes, incoherences, etc.) in the narration...

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