The Lusíadas as a Historical Document: Extracting Portugal, the Portuguese, Love and Prophecy from the Epic Poem


 

Os Luísadas (1572) by Luís Vaz de Camões is an epic poem that immortalised Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese sea voyages to India via Southern Africa in 1497-1498. Over half a century after this voyage, Camões dramatises the event as world changing, where a divine plan was proposed to the Portuguese with the intervention from the classical gods. In ten ‘cantos’, Camões narrates the history of Portugal, its birth, rise and growth through the Reconquista and expansion overseas. He also notes the fate of the Portuguese, their feats, ‘accomplishments’ and rewards, among other details. (more…)

A Comparative Look at Human Behaviour Through José Saramago’s Blindness and the Covid-19 Pandemic


 

During the global lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic there has been an increase of interest in the literature of epidemics.[1] Albert Camus’ La Peste (1947) has been especially popular.[2] As my research interests are focused on matters within the Lusophone World, I sought out a Portuguese author to see what might be ascertained from the recent Covid-19 pandemic.[3] Through a brief analysis of this global event and José Saramago’s Blindness there are some interesting parallels of human behaviour made visible when people face crises brought on by pathogens.[4] (more…)

The Return of Dom Sebastião?


 

In May 2016 a small statue of Dom Sebastião situated on a walled-pedestal in between two doorways of the ornate neo-Manueline Rossio train station in Lisbon was destroyed by a man’s effort to take a ‘selfie’ with the statue by climbing up onto it. The statue had stood at the train station since its opening to the public in 1890 and has, since the incident, not yet been replaced leaving a noticeable empty space on the façade of the train station. (more…)