Portuguese fiction has rightly come to occupy a preeminent place on the world literary scene, and many recent novels by national authors are acknowledged as among the most textually and thematically innovative and exciting internationally. Through the analysis of three texts, on The Contemporary Portuguese Novel module you will develop a deep and detailed understanding of some of the key issues that have concerned the Portuguese nation and its writers since the end of the Salazar dictatorship in 1974.
Your reading of Lídia Jorge’s The Murmuring Coast (made into a successful movie by Margarida Cardoso) will examine how this particular writer responds to the recollection in Portuguese collective memory of the wars of independence in the country’s former colonies in Africa, and of the subsequent loss of those overseas territories.
Via study of José Cardoso Pires’ noir thriller, Ballad of Dogs’ Beach, you will assess how the detective novel is used by Portuguese authors to ‘investigate’ the crimes of the dictatorship, while reading New Portuguese Letters by ‘the Three Marias’, as the writers were known, will develop your knowledge and understanding of the role and position of women in the changing Portugal of the post-totalitarian state, and how society responded to the textualisation of female sexual desire and eroticism.
The skills you will develop on this course include not only analysis and reasoning as applied to cultural outputs, but you will also enhance your ability to express yourself in written form when you produce your end-of-course assessed essay. You are invited to identify an essay topic yourself in consultation with the lecturer in order that you write about a subject of particular interest to you. As most of the taught sessions for this option are in the seminar format, you will also build on your capacity for team and pair work and discussion in small groups, as well as improving the ways in which you report back findings to the wider class and negotiate with your fellow students on your ideas.
Assessment: 1 x 3,500-word Essay (100%).
Contact Hours: 1 x 2-hour seminar per week in both Semesters.
Convener: Dr. Shelley Godsland.
Please note: no prior knowledge of Portuguese literature is needed to take this module. Texts are taught in English translation, so you do not need to have studied Portuguese language to enrol.