Prince Henry ' the Navigator': A Life. New Haven: Yale UP, Liam M. Brockey Harold Bloom. How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner, Cristina Alberto Peter Brooks. Troubling Confessions. Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature. Ines Morais Edward W. Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard UP, Rui Estrada Carlito Azevedo. Rio de Janeiro: 7Letras, Silviano Santiago Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal for the grant given to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on March 18, , which has aided in making this publication possible.
Introduction Joao R. Figueiredo In his autobiography, Faria e Sousa, arguably the best Camoes scholar ever, tells how in his childhood he inherited a book from his grandfather, Estacio de Faria. The book was half-printed, half-manuscript, and the handwritten half of it alternated prose sections with verses. The young Faria was very fond of this book but eventually money spoke louder and he sold it to the son of the abbot who had taught him the humanities.
Todas las veces que se me acuerda esto, y que aquel libro que asf eche a perder, es posible que fuese el Parnaso de Luis de Camoens escrito de su mano, me lleno de ira contra mi, y pienso perder el juicio. I quote this excerpt and mention Farias critical rhetoric to contrast his atti- tude with what is not so much a major trend in Camoes scholarship as, above all, the mainstream talk about Camoes in general.
Fortunately, it has been more difficult to steal Camoes from this critic than to steal him from the Portuguese. The former is not necessarily a goal in itself though, again fortunately, it is not up to me to read the minds of all Camoes scholars. The latter is most desirable.
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Hence the importance of a colloquium on post-imperial Camoes, in English and in America. It is not a question of now showing Portugal or its surrogate, the Portuguese language at its most sublime to the world, as politicians would say, no matter the ideology they profess, but of allowing Camoes to be stolen from the Portuguese. My first acknowledgment goes to the institution that hosted the confer- ence, to the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture and to the other co- organizer, Victor J. Their hospitality is beyond praise. Neither the conference nor this volume would have been possible without the invaluable, tireless assistance of Gina M.
Reis and the keen aesthetic sense of Spencer Ladd and Memory Holloway. I am most grateful to them all. Works Cited Faria e Sousa, Manuel de.
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Edward Glaser. Munster Westfalen: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Although Camoes is principally known as an epic writer he also produced a significant number of remarkable sonnets in the Petrarchan mode, some of them Petrarchan in inspiration but others that deal with historical and elegiac themes. His technical comment is supreme, and his range of stylistic experimentation — whether allegorical, pastoral, or erotic — continually exciting.
I read Spanish but not Portuguese, and so I bring to Camoes only a shadow of what a native reader could offer. First, of course, another disclaimer. The ascription of these poems to Luis de Camoes P is by no means certain in all cases, and his editors themselves disagree on which of the sonnets in the various c ancioneiros are his.
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In what follows, I have tried to stay on relatively sure ground, drawing my examples from the Coimbra edition of the RimasP I am most grateful to Professor Joao Ricardo Figueiredo, who read my first draft and advised me about the sonnet canon; to Professor Victor Mendes, who read the sonnets aloud when I presented this essay at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth conference, and to Professor Frank Sousa, who invited me to write on Camoes. So it continues, until the last open and unguarded statement: Egualmente mi spiace morte e vita: In questo stato son, donna, per voi.
Dos olhos, com que o Sol escurecia levando a vista em lagrimas banhada, de si, do Fado e Tempo magoada, pondo os olhos no Ceu, assi dezia: But when the shepherdess herself speaks, it is to distinguish herself from both ornamental nature and the celestial powers above. The sun and rosy Dawn may bring delight to other discontented souls, but she dies alone, and on a subjected human plane. Camoes repeatedly performs lonely sincerity over against the splendor of nature or the breadth of Fate.
Such pat- terning in any poem announces that the structure of the poem has been entirely thought through before it has been written down. When a word has been so deeply incised in the fabric of the poem, its sudden absence becomes more remark- able than its presence a fact that Shakespeare knew and exploited more than any other sonneteer.
E tao triste este meu presente estado que o passado , por ledo, estou julgando.
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De quern me queixarei, que tudo mente? There is no mention of confiangas , or even its feebler form esperangas , now that Fortune has proved untrustworthy. As the past tenses of narration move into a present agony, the poet dismisses the deceiving passado with all its lying appearances. The most extraordinary line here, of course, is the one in which we last hear the sound of lyrical voice, as the poet persists in singing to the accom- paniment of the clank of his fetters.
As we hear the changes rung, we feel acutely the absence of the present participle cantando , the pre- sent-tense verb canto, and the future cantarei. These crucial parts of the verb have been amputated, lopped off beyond rescue. The most distinctively Camoesian sonnets are produced, it seems to me, when the sincerity-effect appears in conjunction with the intellectual effect. Elizabeth Bishop borrowed the adoring closing lines of this poem for the dedication of her vol- ume Questions of Travel to her Brazilian lover, Lota de Macedo Soares: these were the first lines of Camoes I ever read.
The poem is one of many in which Camoes imagines a love-economy of hyper- bolic payment, as though only by such equations and measurings could the inestimable value of love be assessed. The speaker then passes to his own case, and, using the imperfect and preterite tenses of narrative, avers that he him- self has paid far more than eyesight: he has given up life and soul and hope itself in order to be worthy of having seen and loved those eyes. Nothing of all he once possessed is left to him. Quem ve, Senhora, claro e manifesto o lindo ser de vossos olhos belos, se nao perder a vista so em ve-los, ja nao paga o que deve a vosso gesto.
Assi que a vida e alma e esperanca e tudo quanto tenho, tudo e vosso, e o proveito disso eu so o levo. The degree of intellectuality in the sonnet, as the speaker inventories the contents of his erotic ledger and looks to balance its accounts, shows how important it is to the lover to have thought out in advance his bookkeeping, evident in the sedulously-worked patterns high- lighted in the different fonts above.
But, as I have said, it is when plangency balances intellectuality, when surrender replaces calculation, that the Camoes sonnet reaches its height. Here, it is the return of the verb dar in the sestet that, contradicting devo, lets us register love as something more than counted trading.
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Despois que viu que a alma lhe faltava, nao esmorece; mas, no pensamento, que a lingua ja nao pode seu intento ao mar que lho cumprisse, encomendava. He feels able to ask this because in the past the sea envied his hap- piness with Hero. Este meu corpo morto, la o desvia daquela torre. Se-me nisto amigo, pois no meu maior bem me houveste enveja!
Assuming a disguise, Cephalus tempts Procris, and at length she succumbs.
But Procris then turns the same trick on Cephalus: he too falls, and they are in consequence reconciled, in a typically Ovidian irony. Camoes truncates the myth, even though he devotes two sonnets to it. The narrator, his story complete, bursts out with a warning to other lovers: O engenho sutil para seu dano! Vede que manhas busca um cego amante para que sempre seja descontente! The Ovidian comic bargain is not made, and by this deletion, Camoes retains a sonnet-atmosphere of loss and irony. Closely related to that frustrated apprehension of the indefinable but real interior of the psyche are the moments in which Camoes allies himself to vir- tual rather than literal meaning, as he does in the Spanish sonnet Pues lagri- mas tratdis.
Starved for a reassurance that his beloved indeed feels pity, the lover is prepared to convert whatever she has sent into a tear intended for him. Camoes, addressing his own eyes which have been shedding tears a thousandfold , says he is well repaid by this single tear from his mistress, if indeed it be a tear at all: Mas una cosa mucho deseada, aunque se vea cierta, no es crefda, cuanto mas esta, que me es enviada. Pero digo que aunque sea fingida, que basta que por lagrima sea dada, porque sea por lagrima tenida.
And yet the desolation of the lover, in true Camoesian fashion, is felt behind his declara- tion: we are brought into contact with his sorrow in the sceptical axiom telling us that the much yearned-for thing, when it comes, cannot be credited. That scep- ticism is set off against the assertive, even aggressive, formal twinning of the last two lines: que. Against all reason, no creida and fingida are firmly superseded, in their shared phonetic space, by the willed tenida. There are several dialogue-sonnets as well: among these are — Como fizeste Porcia , tal ferida?
Each of the dialogue-sonnets is motivated by a constant inwardly-renewed set of questions and answers.
The sestet repeats this pattern of the full-line answer in its closing two lines: — Que fica la que ver? Portia, having first wounded herself with a sword to see if she indeed had the courage to do violence to herself, ends her life by swallowing live coals.
He seems to have admired stoic heroism in women, devoting a sonnet to Lucrece as well as to Portia. We have nothing quite like his heroic sonnets in English until Milton. Its two long-breathed sentences, one for the octave, one for the sestet, draw the same comparison: that feats in material arms abroad are less great than the feats in moral virtue at home. It is not clear, at the close of the octave, what these monsters and Chimeras can be.
What is certain is that they are governed by the same verb — veneer — as the kings, the laws of time, and everything else that the Viceroy has overcome. Their forces, if they are to be routed, require a power greater than that exerted by arms. It is impossible to speak about the range of Camoes without glancing at one of the heartfelt sonnets about the landscape of Portugal. The public dimension of Camoes as a sonneteer is evident not only in the heroic and ele- giac sonnets, but also in those of Portuguese pietas.
As we read its first qua- train, it appears to us a celebratory sonnet. By this I mean that nothing in the opening quatrain suggests that the poem will be a dismissal of the beauties of nature; on the contrary. And yet, as we look back over those earlier lines, we see that they have stealthily prepared us for the bitter close, in their own gradual darkening, from the shade of the chestnuts to the setting sun to the cloudy heavens with their unquiet commotion. The music, too, has darkened from the soft cadences of the brooks to the hoarse cry of the sea.