Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/175

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LITERATURE]
161
PORTUGAL


are largely due the reforms which were by degrees inaugurated in every branch of letters. Their names were among others Alexandre de Gusmao, the Cavalheiro de Oliveira, Ribeiro Sanches, Correa da Serra, Brotero and Nascimento. They had a forerunner in Luiz Antonio Verney, who poured sarcasm on the prevailing methods of education, and exposed to good effect the extraordinary literary and scientific decadence of Portugal in an epoch-making work, the Verdadeiro methodo de estudar.

From time to time literary societies, variously called academies or arcadias, arose to co-operate in the work of reform. In 1720 King John V., an imitator of Louis XIV., established the academy of history. The fifteen volumes of its Memorias, published from 1721 to 1756, show the excellent work done by its members, among whom were Caetano de Sousa, author of the colossal Historia da Casa Real portugueza, Barbosa Machado, compiler of the invaluable Bibliotheoa Lusitarza, and Soares da Silva, chronicler of the reign of King John I.

The Royal Academy of Sciences founded in 1780 by the:nd duke of Lafoes, uncle of Queen Maria I., still exists, though its output and influence are small. Its chief contributions to knowledge were the Diccionario da lingua Sdenfes- partugueza, still unfinished, and the Memorias (1788–1795), and it included in its ranks nearly all the learned men of the last part of the 18th century. Among them were the ecclesiastical historian Frei Manoel do Cenaculo, bishop of Beja, the polygraph Ribeiro dos Santos, Caetano do Amaral, a patient investigator of the origins of Portugal, Joao Pedro Riberio, the founder of modern historical studies, D. Francisco Alexandre Lobo, bishop of Vizeu, whose essays on Camoens and other authors show sound critical sense and a correct style, Cardinal Saraiva, an expert on ancient and modern history and the voyages of his countrymen, and Frei Fortunato de S. Boaventura, a historical and literary critic.

In 1756 Cruz e Silva (q.v.), with the aid of friends, established the Arcadia Ulysiponense, “ to form a school of good sayings and good examples in eloquence and poetry.” The most considered poets of the day joined the Arcadia and Lyrlv individually wrote much excellent verse, but they all lacked creative power. The principal Greek and Latin authors were the models they chose, and Garcao, the most prominent Arcadian, composed the Cantata de Dido, a gem of ancient art, as well as some charming sonnets to friends and elegant odes and epistles. The bucolic verse of Quita, a hairdresser, has a tenderness and simplicity which challenge comparison with Bernardim Ribeiro, and the Marilia of Gonzaga contains a celebrated collection of bucolic-erotic verse. Their conventionality sets the lyrics of Cruz e Silva on a lower plane, but in the Hyssope he improves on the Lutrin of Boileau. After a chequered existence, internal dissensions caused the dissolution of the Arcadia in 1774. It had only gained a partial success because the despotic rule of Pombal, like the Inquisition before him, hindered freedom of fancy and discussion, and drove the Arcadians to waste themselves on flattering the powerful. In 1790 a New Arcadia came into being. Its two most distinguished members were the rival poets Bocage (q.v.) and Agostinho de Macedo (q.v.). The only other poet of the New Arcadia who ranks high is Curvo Semedo; but the Dissidents, a name bestowed on those who stood outside the Arcadias, included two distinguished men now to be cited, the second of whom became the herald of a poetical revolution. No Portuguese satirist possessed such a complete equipment for his office as Nicolao Tolentino, and though a dependent position depressed his muse, he painted the customs and follies of the time with almost photographic accuracy, and distributed his attacks or begged for favours in sparkling verse. The task of purifying and enriching the language and restoring the cult of the Quinhentistas was perseveringly carried out by Francisco Manoel de Nascimento (q.v.) in numerous compositions in prose and verse, both original and translated. Shortly before his death in Paris he became a convert to the Romantic movement, and he prepared the wav for its definite triumph in the person of Almeida Garrett, who belonged to the Filintistas, or followers of Nascimento, in opposition to the Elmariislas, or disciples of Bocage.

Early in the 18th century the spirit of revolt against despotism led to an attempt at the restoration of the drama by authors sprung from the people, who wrote for spectators as coarse as they were ignorant of letters. Its centres were the theatres of the Bairro Alto and Mouraria, and the numerous pieces staged there belong to low comedy. The Operas portugaezas of Antonio José da Silva (q.v.), produced between 1733 and 1741, owe their name to the fact that arias, minuets and modinlzas were interspersed with the prose dialogue, and if neither the plots, style, nor language are remarkable, they have a real comic force and a certain originality. Silva is the legitimate representative in the 18th century of the popular theatre inaugurated by Gil Vicente, and though born in Brazil, whence he brought the modinha, he is essentially a national writer. Like Silva's operas, the comedies of Nicolao Luiz contain a faithful picture of contemporary society and enjoyed considerable popularity. Luiz divided his attention between heroic comedies and comedies de capa y espada, but of the fifty-one ascribed to him, all in verse, only one bears his name, the rest appeared anonymously. His method was to choose some Spanish or Italian play, cut out the parts he disliked, and substitute scenes wit.h dialogues in his own way, but he has neither ideals, taste nor education; and, except in Os M aridos Peraltas, his characters are lifeless and their conventional passions are expressed in inflated language. Notwithstanding their demerits, however, his comedies held the stage from 1760 until the end of the century.

Meanwhile the Arcadia also took up the task of raising the tone of the stage, but though the ancients and the classic writers of the 16th century were its ideals, it drew immediate inspiration from the contemporary French theatre. All its efforts failed, however, because its members lacked dramatic talents and, being out of touch with the people, could not create a national drama.

Garcao (q.v.) led the way with the Thealro Novo, a bright little comedy in blank verse, and followed it up with another, Assernbléa on partida; but he did not persevere. Figueiredo felt he had a mission to restore the drama, and wrote thirteen volumes of plays in prose and verse, but, though he chose national subjects, and could invent plots and draw characters, he could not make them live. Finally, the bucolic poet Quita produced the tragedies Segunda Castro, Hermione and two others, but these imitations from the French, for all the taste they show, were stillborn, and in the absence of court patronage, which was exclusively bestowed on the Lisbon opera, then the best equipped in Europe, Portugal remained without a drama of its own.

Sacred eloquence is represented by Fr. Alexandre Palhares, a student of Vieira, whose outspoken attack on vice in high places in a. sermon preached before Queen Maria led to his exile from court. The art of letter-writing had cultivators in Abbade Costa, Ribeiro Sanches, physician of Catherine II. of Russia, Alexandre de Gusmao, and the celebrated Cavalheiro de Oliveira, also author of Memorias politicas e literarias, published at the Hague, whither he had ded to escape the Inquisition. Philological studies were pursued with ardour and many valuable publications have to be recorded, among them Bluteau's Vocabulario Portruguez, the Rejiexaes sobre a lingoa portugueza and an Arte poeiica by Francisco José Freire, the Exercicios and Espirito da Iirzgoa e eloquencia of Pereira de Figueiredo, translator of the Vulgate, and Viterbo's Elucidario, a dictionary of old terms and phrases which has not been superseded. Finally the best literary critic and one of the most correct prose writers of the period is Francisco Dias Gomes.

The 19th Century and After.—The 10th century witnessed a general revival of letters, beginning with the Romantic movement, of which the chief exponents were Garrett (q.v.) and Herculano (q.v.), both of whom had to leave Portugal on account of their political liberalism, and it was inaugurated in the