in the UK
Within the cultural and literary context of contemporary Portugal and Western literature, 1998 was unquestionably the year that Portuguese writing gained international recognition as Josu Saramago became the first Portuguese writer ever to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. Readers who had never thought about Portuguese letters began to consume his books and, most importantly, opted for expanding their reading lists to include other important writers not only from Portugal, but from Portuguese-speaking well beyond the borders of Portugal. Global Impact of the Portuguese Language is a collection of Portuguese writing that is as rich in content and broad in scope as the diversity of its topics and writing modes of its contributors. The book is divided into three major parts. Part 1, "Different Cultural Perspectives of Portuguese Writing," contains thirteen chapters in which the first and opening one, "Portugal: The New Frontier" ably sets the stage for the book by examining from a cultural perspective how Portugal, a peripheral country in the new world system, serves as a microcosm of the problems of cultural intercommunication in today's world. Subsequent chapters are grouped in three categories: "The Voices of the Writers," "Critical Approaches to Cames," and "Fictionalizing the Nation." Part 2, "Portuguese Language and Literature Outside Portugal," comprises one section devoted to the Portuguese language in Africa, followed by studies about Portuguese discoveries as part of the historical process of remembering and forging one's identity, and finally a comprehensive historical development of Portuguese writing, both in Portuguese and English, in the United States. Part 3, "Portuguese Literature and Criticism Available in English: Suggested Readings" details the recent literary happenings which point to a possible renaissance in Portuguese literary production. The concluding part of this volume offers a short, comprehensive listing of anthologies, general studies, and the most popular translations of the best of Portuguese writing from Portugal and Africa. This lively volume constitutes a first pioneering effort to contribute to a deepening appreciation and understanding of Portuguese writing. Anyone interested in ethnic writing will find this book an invaluable education resource with which to begin an exploration of Portuguese writing in the United States. Asela Rodriguez de Laguna is associate professor of Spanish and director of the Hispanic Civilization & Language Studies Program. She is the author of Notes on Puerto Rican Literature: Images and Identities: An Introduction, and editor of Images and Identities: The Puerto Rican in Two World Contexts.
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