Portuguese Literature and the Environment

Co-edited with Victor K. Mendes

 

This co-edited book aims to explore the relationship between Portuguese literature and the environment. From the link between nature and poetry in the Medieval “cantigas,” through the bucolic verse of the Renaissance, all the way to the Romantic and post-Romantic nostalgia for a pristine natural or rural landscape under threat in the wake of industrialization, Portuguese literature has frequently reflected on the connection between humans and nature. More recently, neo-realism has returned to natural landscapes as the backdrop for social struggle, while the postcolonial turn in contemporary literature has highlighted the contrast between the environment of the former colonies and that of Portugal.

 

But nature has neither served merely as a setting for literary endeavors, nor as a simple cultural marker, separating colonizers and colonized. Portuguese writers have engaged directly with the environment in a myriad different ways and have incorporated nature in their texts not only to prompt social, political or philosophical reflections on human society, but also as a way to learn from the specific mode of being of our “others.” What can the natural environment, animals and plants, teach us? How can we represent nature aesthetically? And what does a nature-inflected writing look like?

 

 

The Environment in Brazilian Culture. 

Co-edited with Maria Esther Maciel

 

This project brings together essays on various aspects of Brazilian culture and its relation to the environment, including ecocriticism in literature and cinema, plants and animals in Brazilian writings, colonial and post-colonial perceptions of the environment, and Brazilian critiques of anthropocentrism.