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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


Baroque and Mannerism Classics Existentialism Experimentalism Enlightenment Modernity


Neo-Realism Post-Modernism Realism Romanticism Saudosismo Symbolism




Drawing by Augusto Gomes [1910-1976]

Monsanto, Beira Baixa

A literary movement deriving from Italian influences, but also including a number of features from Brazilian literature, particularly the denunciation of social injustice as found in the romance nordestino (North-Eastern novel). Both in terms of poetry and prose, neo-realism acquired a dimension of social intervention, made more acute by post-war events and by the seductive appeal of the socialist systems mythified by the social climate engendered in Portugal by the political dictatorship.

Front and back covers of the book: 
Soeiro Pereira Gomes, Esteiros, Edições Avante

Its poetic origins were centred on the group linked to the Novo Cancioneiro, a collection of poetry, with Sidónio Muralha, João José Cochofel, Carlos de Oliveira, Manuel da Fonseca, Mário Dionísio, Fernando Namora and others.

In regard to the novel, the movement was begun by Soeiro Pereira Gomes, with Esteiros, and Alves Redol, with Gaibéus, published in 1940, who both brought an extensive and representative body of work into the area of fiction, which was also greatly enriched by the contributions of many of the other poets already mentioned (in particular the first four).

The neo-realist novel reactivated the mechanisms of narrative representation, being inspired by the Marxist categories of class consciousness and the class struggle and centring upon the social conflicts between peasants, workers, bosses, landlords and estate owners, but the best texts are those that offer a keen and incisive analysis of the different facets of these diverse social groupings. Some of the more notable examples of this are Uma Abelha na Chuva, by Carlos de Oliveira, Seara de Vento, by Manuel da Fonseca, O Dia Cinzento, by Mário Dionísio and Domingo à Tarde, by Fernando Namora.

Existentialism and certain components of modernity are brought together most successfully in later works by José Cardoso Pires (O Anjo Ancorado and O Hóspede de Job), Urbano Tavares Rodrigues (Bastardos do Sol), Alexandre Pinheiro Torres (A Nau de Quixibá), or Orlando da Costa (Podem Chamar-me Eurídice).

© Instituto Camões, 2001