Poets of Portugal: A Bilingual Selection of Poems from the Thirteenth through Twentieth Centuries

Poets of Portugal: A Bilingual Selection of Poems from the Thirteenth through Twentieth Centuries
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Poets of Portugal: A Bilingual Selection of Poems from the Thirteenth through Twentieth Centuries

Author Frederick G. Williams

Portugal has enjoyed three major poetic ages of universal stature and interest: (1) the medieval era, with a large body of verse known as cantigas (canticles or songs) written by King Dinis and some 152 other troubadours; (2) the sixteenth century with such luminaries as Gil Vicente, court playwright and poet, and Luís de Camões, the most celebrated poet in the Portuguese language and author of the epic poem The Lusiads; and (3) the twentieth century, where there are numerous writers of unquestioned merit headed by the renowned Fernando Pessoa. These three poetic moments also enjoyed excellence in prose. Attention is called to the medieval chronicles of Fernao Lopes and, from the sixteenth century, the Perigrination of Fernão Mendes Pinto, and the so-called shipwreck literature, which can properly be called a genre invented by the Portuguese. Undoubetedly the best-known novelist of the twentieth ventury is José Saramago, the first writer in Portuguese to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.