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«New Portuguese Letters» to the World

International Reception


Ana Luísa Amaral, Ana Paula Ferreira and Marinela Freitas

Published in 1972, New Portuguese Letters addressed censored issues – such as the colonial war, immigration, the Catholic Church, violence, and the legal and social status of women – becoming a symbol of resistance against the Fascist Portuguese regime. Privileging feminist approaches, this volume maps the reception of the book in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, the UK, Ireland, the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia. The scandal that surrounded the banning of New Portuguese Letters, under the accusation of ‘pornographic content’, and the trial of the three authors for ‘outraging public morals’, brought the case to the attention of the international community. The book found instant support from feminist movements and well-known writers – such as Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, Adrienne Rich and Anne Sexton – and was adopted as «the first international feminist cause».
Given its great significance in political and aesthetic terms, New Portuguese Letters was – and remains – a fundamental work in contemporary literature and culture, offering an invaluable contribution to the history of women and raising crucial issues relevant for political agendas today, such as equality, justice and freedom.
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Notes on Contributors


ANA LUÍSA AMARAL is a professor at the University of Porto and holds a PhD in Anglo-American Literature, on the poetry and poetics of Emily Dickinson. Her main areas of research are Comparative Poetics, Feminist and Queer Studies, on which she has coordinated international projects. She is the editor of several academic books, including a Portuguese Dictionary of Feminist Criticism (with Ana Gabriela Macedo, Afrontamento, 2010), the annotated edition of New Portuguese Letters (Dom Quixote, 2010) and Novas Cartas Portuguesas entre Portugal e o Mundo (with Marinela Freitas, Dom Quixote, 2014). She has translated John Updike, Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare and written over twenty books of poetry (translated and published in several countries), as well as children’s literature, theatre and fiction. Several theatre plays have been staged around her work, and she was awarded several prizes and distinctions in Portugal and abroad. In 2016, a book of essays on her work will come out by Peter Lang (Beauty, Power and Resistance in Ana Luísa Amaral, eds Claire Williams and Teresa Louro). In the United Kingdom, her poetry is being translated by Margaret Jull Costa. She is the general coordinator of the international project New Portuguese Letters 40 Years Later, financed by the Foundation for Science and Technology.

LIVIA APA is a researcher in the Department of Comparative Languages and Literatures at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’. She works in the field of Cultural Studies in Portuguese-speaking countries. Her recent research interests are African...

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