The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture / Tagus Press is a multidisciplinary international studies and outreach unit dedicated to the study of the language, literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. Working in close partnership with the Department of Portuguese and the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, it is the oldest of these units devoted to Portuguese at UMass Dartmouth.


Post-Imperial Camões

October 11 – 12, 2002

Following the demise of Portugal's imperial era (15th - 20th centuries), the University of Massachusetts presented a colloquium of new critical perspectives on Cam?es, the bard of the Empire and the most influential Portuguese author in the English-speaking world.?

Perhaps the most original epic poem of the Renaissance, Os Lusíadas (1572) was from early on seen as a national poem, focused on a culminating point of Portuguese history, the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India. Rarely has the selection of a topic been so decisive not only for the abundance of the poem's critical fortune, but also for the uses that were made of it in the country that it supposedly depicts. If, on the one hand, Camões's epic has always been read as a compendium of nationalist ideals, it is also true that the literary merits that make those ideals persuasive to the eyes of their proponents were not always properly examined. One example deserving critical attention is the way in which the author's recurrent commentary on his own poem is articulated with the narrative of Portuguese history being told at a time when the Empire is beginning to collapse. However, Camões is also the prolific author of lyric poetry who endowed Portuguese literature with an entirely new vocabulary for describing states and processes of consciousness. Perhaps the time has come to re-read Camões beyond Portugal, beyond the frameworks of mere thematic analysis, theoretical illustration or simplistic reduction of his thought to the mentality of his times, and to welcome diverse contributions that literary and cultural studies, as well as philosophical and political inquiry have to offer.

A selection of papers from the colloquium were published in the Fall 2002 issue of the journal Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies. K. David Jackson, from Yale University, edited a cd-rom with 30 first editions of The Lusiads to be published with PLCS 9.

Victor J. Mendes, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and
João Ricardo Figueiredo, Universidade de Lisboa.
Assistant to the Coordinators: Gina M. Reis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

UMass Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture
Instituto Camões
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Fundação Luso-Americana
Please click here to view the program.