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History of Portuguese Literature Origins of Portuguese Literature The Portuguese Language Oral Literature Fiction Lyricism
Travel Literature Cantigas de amigo Historiography Doctrinal Prose


Aquilino Ribeiro

One of the most productive novelists from the first half of this century. He began writing in 1913 with the collection of short stories Jardim das Tormentas and the novel A Via Sinuosa, 1918, maintaining the high level of literary quality to be found in most of his texts, published with regularity and enjoying great success amongst both public and critics.

Andam Faunos pelos Bosques, 1926, A Casa Grande de Romarigães, 1957, O Malhadinhas and Quando os Lobos Uivam, 1958, are representative of constant trends in his fiction: a regionalism that shows a fondness for the countryside and its people, without losing any of the universality of its characters and descriptions; a tender and complacent irony in the face of common human vices; a violent criticism of political oppression and ideological fanaticism, a lively attentiveness to the heartbeat of the countryside, as well as to the sensual vibration of the body in the human being.

The sturdy acorn had remained there very still, very comfortably sprawled out by virtue of its own weight, buried like a cannon-ball after cars and carts had passed over it. What was there to do except stretch out and sleep?! He slept for an hour or a whole life, who knows?! A baby rabbit suddenly appeared from the back of beyond, pawed the ground, dug a hole, relieved itself, and the acorn remained underneath, suffocating and unable to breathe, buried in the darkness. Was this the very end? A quick movement of the animal’s haunches and out it came like an arrow. Was it light or life? Was it a fountain, or rather a birdsong, of running water, a pod popping open with the sunshine (... )? It was all of this, red in the flameless fire that was raging in its haunches, an expression that ended up radiating from the very mystery of its being.

From the pine-nut, which a sudden gust of wind had torn from the mother-cone, and from the acorn, which the bird had dropped onto the ground, when the act was repeated a thousand times, the forest was born.


A Casa Grande de Romarigães (excerpt)

© Instituto Camões, 2001