Department of Portuguese hosts international colloquium October 11 and 12 on Camoes; brings pr

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Department of Portuguese hosts international colloquium October 11 and 12 on Camoes; brings preeminent scholars to UMD

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Department of Portuguese hosts international colloquium October 11 and 12 on Camoes; brings preeminent scholars to UMD 

“Post-Imperial Camões: An International Colloquium” will bring scholars of classical Portuguese literature to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on October 11 and 12. Scholars, who come from as far away as Portugal, France, Canada and other parts of the United States, will read and discuss new critical perspectives on Camões, the Bard of the Empire and most influential Portuguese author in the English-speaking world. 

Professor Helen Vendler of Harvard University, one of the most important poetry critics writing today, will open the conference at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 11. She will be introduced by University of Massachusetts President William M. Bulger and UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. The conference, free and open to the public, begins at 9:30 a.m. each day in the Library Reading Room. Parking is in Lot 13. 

Sponsors of the colloquium are the UMass Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, Instituto Camões, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and Fundação Luso-Americana 

Camões wrote The Lusiads in 1572, long recognized as one of the most original Renaissance epics. It is a national poem that focuses 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 both for a work’s critical fortunes and for the uses to which it was put by the poet’s country. While Camões’s epic has long been read as a compendium of nationalist ideals, the literary qualities that help make those ideals persuasive have not always been fully examined. One instance deserving further critical attention is the way Camões’s recurrent commentary on his own poem relates to his narrative of Portuguese history at a time when the Empire was already beginning to collapse. 

Camões was also a prolific author of lyric poetry who endowed Portuguese literature with an entirely new vocabulary for describing states and processes of consciousness. “Post-Imperial Camões” will thus provide an excellent opportunity to learn what scholars writing from a variety of perspectives (post-colonial, philosophical, interdisciplinary, literary and gender studies) have to say about the greatest poet of the Portuguese language, admired by influential writers such as Tasso, the German Romantics, Wordsworth and Melville. 

A selection of papers from the colloquium, which will gather the most important European and American scholars of Camões, will be published in the Fall 2002 issue of the journal Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies (PLCS). Accompanying PLCS 9 will be a CD-ROM containing 30 variants of the first edition of The Lusiads, prepared by Professor K. David Jackson of Yale University. 


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