Portugal Realistic Literature Part II
The realist theater in Portugal was poor, perhaps more than the romantic: it either continued the romantic aesthetic or did the work of sectarian propaganda. Moreover, this theatrical deficiency is traditional in the Portuguese literary spirit. On the other hand, historiography presents some great names and solid works, some of a predominantly artistic and critical aspect, others of a scientific or documentary aspect. The major name of this genus is that of Oliveira Martins (1845-94), author of classical works, and of great influence also outside Portugal, in Spain, mainly in Brazil, such as the Iberian Historia da Civilisação (1879), the Historia de Portugal (1879), the contemporary Portugal (1881), Os Filhos de D. João (1891) and Nun’Alvares (1893). He was one of the most profound writers of Portugal, for the multiplicity of his qualities and for the originality with which he translated them. Politician with historical spirit and historical with political spirit, he embraced all the sciences that were then established and completed a monumental work, which contains a philosophy, an interpretation of man and a solution to the problems of his country. And since he was also able to combine the artistic sense of the drama of history, his works are always of interesting reading, even when his points of view are questionable. Indeed, there was much prophetic in his critique, which resisted new documentation and the evolution of various concepts. The Spanish generation of 1898, namely Unamuno and Ganivet, owes much to Oliveira Martins. The history of the courtly conception, with stylistic embellishment of the anecdotic, had in the count of Sabugosa (1854-1923) an appreciated scholar, and the scientific history owes to Gama Barros (1833-1925), Ramos Coelho (1832-1914), Costa Lobo (1840-1913), Alberto Sampaio (1841-1908) and Sousa Viterbo (1845-1910) works of great importance. Eloquence had two masters in Alves Mendes and Antonio Candido (1851-1922), at a time when parliamentary oratory was served with gusto by great names in politics. A vast harvest of stories has survived through the work of Fialho de Almeida (1837-1912) and Trindade Coelho (1861-1908), two great names; by Alberto Braga and the count of Arn0so (1861-1908), in their time very welcome in worldly centers. Since the realistic generation traveled a lot, in search of wider horizons for his spirit and new experiences for his own country, the taste for travel books spread: those of Ramalho Ortigão (1836-1915), Oliveira Martins, Coelho de Carvalho Fialho de Almeida, Anselmo de Andrade, Wenceslau de Moraes, etc., were among the most notable. Two superior works need to be highlighted in this list: Hollanda by Ramalho Ortigão and Dai – Nippon by W. de Moraes. He was a naval officer who “traded his soul”, completely orientalizing himself and consuming his life in the study and interpretation of the Japanese soul, in books of refined sensitivity. He continues a Portuguese tradition, because the first direct contact between Japanese and Europeans was the work of Portuguese, and the first European book about Japan was the Perigranaçam by the Portuguese Fernando Mendes Pinto, a famous traveler of the century. XVI, and because in the classical centuries many Portuguese books of history and description of Japan were composed, some of which however remained unpublished.
Essentially critical spirits, the authors of the realistic age set about analyzing national life, in all its details, not always with full justice, but always with an anxious desire for renewal. Social criticism produced two works notable for grace and vigor: le Farpas (1871-1887), by Eça de Queiroz and Ramalho Ortigão (1883), and the Gatos (1889-94) by Fialho de Almeida. Eça uses the note of subtle irony, Ramalho explains and teaches, Fialho is indignant and attacks, but they all compose in an artistic prose of superior beauty, and it is precisely the stylistic beauty of this prose that has the greatest responsibility in making many too severe sentences on men and events of the time. In journalism, two pugnacious polemics, masters in documenting current affairs, left their memory of themselves in these decades: Marianno de Carvalho (1836-1905) and Emygdio Navarro (1844-1905), who exercised a sometimes dominant influence, succeeding with one short article to change the orientation of events and public opinion. Naturally, in this whole literary generation we note many and profound foreign influences, from France, from the England, and mainly Germany; but all the philosophical ideas, all the aesthetic systems, all the new sciences and all the imported methods were happily assimilated in the creation of a series of works, which did not reach the profound national imprint of the century. XVI, but possess greater artistic and human complexity.
According to vaultedwatches, the African triumphs of the end of the century. XIX gave birth in the Portuguese spirit to the ambition of the so-called “mappa cõr de rosa” or of a Lusitanian empire from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Reality disproved this ambition. The violence of the ultimatum was seen English of 1890, with a delimitation of borders that disappointed hope, and we saw, in the form of protest, the revolution of 1891 in Oporto. Discontent took shape in eagerness to overthrow the government. The pessimistic trend of literature turned into negation, iconoclastic violence; much of realistic literature became political, and some authors belonged as much to political history as to literary history. It was in this climate that the new symbolist and anti-realist literature arose, which contrasts pure aestheticism with the intentions of immediate action; to the faithful photograph of realism the interpretation of the spiritual content of things, which not all readers knew how to recognize, educated in materialism, positivism, evolutionism, etc. From a severely critical cosmopolitanism in the face of national values and motives, it returned to a fruitful nationalism. The movement was initiated by poets Antonio Nobre (1867-1900), Eugenio de Castro, Correa de Oliveira, Julio and Brandão Silva Gayo, all elaborating new rhythms, new and bold spiritual motifs and attitudes. Numerous poets and prose writers followed, some of whom are still alive and in full creative activity, all aimed at the exaltation of the Portuguese land in its landscape and in its human expression, some bordering on picturesque regionalism and even dialectal provincialism. He collaborated in the movement, somewhat under the guise of the theorist, the prose writer Alberto de Oliveira.