November 4, 2009 Symposium Highlights New Works of Portuguese and Brazilian Literature, Culture

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Georgette Dorn (202) 707-2013

The impact of the Renaissance in Portugal was particularly strong in poetry and drama. The Portuguese Baroque style is known for originality, richness and a great many stylistic devices such as metaphors and hyperboles. This literature often combined religious symbols with earlier European Renaissance styles.

A symposium, “The Portuguese Renaissance and the Brazilian Baroque: A Colloquium on Three New Books” will be held on Friday, November 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Members’ Room, first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building located at 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public.

The event is being sponsored by Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, in cooperation with the Office of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Highlighted will be three works of Portuguese and Brazilian literature and culture that offer new critical assessments and translations of major classical works. “The Traveling Eye: Retrospections, Vision, and Prophecy in the Portuguese Renaissance” by Helder Macedo and Fernando Gil is one of the most important recent works on the subject. The book covers such authors as Fernão Lopes, Bernardim Ribeiro, Luís de Camões and António Vieira.

“Sonnets and Other Poems” by Luís de Camões, translated by Richard Zenith, is the first bilingual edition in English to offer a cross-section of lyric poetry of Portugal’s foremost author, whose Renaissance epic, “The Lusiads” memorialized Vasco da Gama’s inaugural voyage to India.

Gregory Rabassa’s translation of “The Sermon of Saint Anthony to the Fish and Other Texts” by António Vieira is the first book by the Portuguese and Brazilian Baroque writer to be published in English. In addition the sermon, Vieira’s letter to the king of Portugal in defense of the indigenous population of Brazil and the first five chapters from “History of the Future” are also included.

Discussing the books will be a panel of critics, academics and writers, including: Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University; Gregory Rabassa, emeritus professor at the City University of New York and one of the foremost translators of Portuguese and Spanish in the United States; Helder Macedo, emeritus professor at Kings College, University of London; Richard Zenith, poet, novelist, essayist and translator of Portuguese; Vincent Barletta, professor of medieval and early modern-Iberian literatures and cultures at Stanford University; and Ken Krabbenhoft, professor of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University.

The Hispanic Division, established in 1939, is the Library’s center for the study of the cultures and societies of the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, the Caribbean and other areas with significant Spanish or Portuguese influence. For more information about the division’s resources and program, visit

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PR 09-229
ISSN 0731-3527