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Level 5

5AASB096 Nineteenth-century Fiction in Brazil and Portugal

Credit value: 15 credits
Module tutor: Dr Daniel Mandur Thomaz
Assessment: One 2000-word essay (40%); one 2000-word essay (60%)
Teaching arrangements: Two hours weekly

Reassessment: Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt

Please note that this module is available to students without a knowledge of Portuguese. Classes are taught in English and any essential reading in Portuguese is also available in English translation. Students with knowledge of Portuguese will be encouraged to read the texts in the original language.

Module description

The module begins with an examination of Brazil’s emergence as a state independent of Portuguese colonial rule after the transfer of the capital of the Empire to Rio de Janeiro in 1808. We consider how post-Independence writing in Brazil and Portugal viewed their colonial legacy. In the case of Brazil, the issue of slavery and the challenge of nation-building from the height of the Imperial era to the beginning of Republican rule. In the case of Portugal, how the liberal wars and the emergence of Romanticism gave way to a new depiction of the nation.

Students taking this module will investigate how the major novelists of the period attempted to define, idealise or criticise the character of their respective countries and societies throughout the nineteenth century.  The intimate connections between history, politics, society and literature will be stressed throughout.

Besides gaining experience in textual interpretation and the study of literary history, students will consider how the writers and their works addressed the challenges posed for the role of literature in imagining modern identities for nineteenth-century Brazil and Portugal.

Educational aims and objectives

This module will focus on nineteenth-century literatures from Brazil and Portugal through the study of major works. We will study the ways in which Brazilian and

Portuguese literatures up to the late 19th century contributed to the development of a post-colonial national consciousness. It will explore the development of Brazilian and Portuguese literary writing after the transfer of the Imperial Court to Rio de Janeiro in 1808, Portugal’s 1820 Liberal revolution and Brazilian Independence in 1822, with a comparative examination of how the Romantic and Realist tendencies were interpreted in both countries to reflect on key themes such as Liberalism, Nation, Family and Citizenship.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will be able to:

  • Employ a conceptual framework to analyse and write on literary history and fiction;
  • Identify and articulate key cultural and historical topics and concepts such as nationalism and liberalism;
  • Understand the historical and philosophical background of Romanticism and Realism;
  • Situate Brazilian and Portuguese literary productions in their historical contexts;
  • Compare and contrast specific characteristics of selected texts from Brazil and Portugal produced in the same historical context and critically contrast them;
  • Analyse plot and narrative techniques;
  • Assess the connection between politics and literature in leading 19th century figures in Brazil and Portugal.

Core texts

  • Alencar, José de. Iracema: a novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 [Translation of Iracema].
  • Almeida, Manuel Antônio de. Memórias de um sargento de milícias / Memoirs of a militia sergeant (bilingual edition). Rio de Janeiro: Cidade Viva/River of January, 2010.
  • Assis, Machado de. Epitaph of a Small Winner. London: Vintage, 1991/Bloomsbury, 1997 [Translation of Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas].
  • Branco, Camilo Castelo. Doomed Love: A Family Memoir. Providence, RI: Gavea-Brown, 2000 [Translation of Amor de Perdição].
  • Garrett, Almeida. Travels in My Homeland. London: Peter Owen Publishers, 1987 [Translation of Viagens na Minha Terra].
  • Queirós, Eça de. The Mandarin and Other Stories. Sawtry: Dedalus, 2009 [Translation of O Mandarim].

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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