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PG1: Introduction to the Language, Literatures and Cultures of Portuguese-speaking Countries


Paper PG1 is designed to give you an introduction to the main areas of study in the Portuguese Tripos, allowing you to sample literature, linguistics, art and film, from the sixteenth century to the present, and from Portugal, Brazil, Angola and Mozambique. The paper allows you to work on a variety of texts and topics that will give you a solid grounding in Lusophone studies whilst making you aware of its richness and complexity. Furthermore PG1 offers you the chance to gain a good grasp of theoretical tools as well as the historical and political background to literary, artistic and cinematic texts, enabling you to work in depth with this material while gaining a wider perspective on the cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. The paper also includes a Linguistics component. It is available at Part IA to post-A-level or equivalent students (Option B) and at Part IB to ex-ab initio students only (Option A).

You are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself with as many of the texts, films and some of the visual works as possible over the summer vacation. You can purchase texts and films from local bookshops (Heffers and Waterstone's are aware of our reading lists), or from online book-sellers like Amazon, Livraria Leitura, Livraria Cultura, FNAC, Alibris, or Abe Books. Some films are also available on youtube. The works of Paula Rego can be viewed on Google images as well as on the website of Marlborough Fine Art, the Saatchi Gallery, and other galleries and museums.




  1. Phonetics and Phonology of Portuguese
  2. Morphology of Portuguese
  3. Syntax of Portuguese
  4. Varieties of Portuguese 1 (Brazilian Portuguese)
  5. Varieties of Portuguese 2 (Portuguese Creoles: Cape Verdian)

Literature, History, Art and Cinema

The Politics of Empire and Nation

Gender, Sexuality, Love

Modernism and Modernity

Authority and Violence



  1. History of Portugal: from the origins to the seventeenth-century
  2. Conquest and colonization of Brazil in Pero Vaz de Caminha’s ‘A carta’
  3. Camões: Lírica
  4. Antonio Vieira’s Sermão aos peixes
  5. Jorge de Albuquerque Coelho Naufrágio que Passou
  6. Brazilian Romanticism, Slavery and Nation Formation: José de Alencar’s Iracema
  7. Portugal, the Estado Novo and the Colonies
  8. Portuguese Dreams of Empire: Fernando Pessoa’s Mensagem
  9. Brazilian Modernism: Manuel Bandeira
  10. Brazilian Modernism and cannibalism Oswald de Andrade and the manifestoes
  11. Colonization and Decolonization in Mozambican Literature: Luiz Bernardo Honwana’s Nós matámos o cão tinhoso
  12. Brazil's Cinema Novo and the Aesthetics of Hunger in the film Vidas secas
  13. Visibility and Invisibility in Clarice Lispector’s A Hora da estrela
  14. Repositing Portugal: José Saramagos’ Jangada de pedra (1986)
  15. Filming the Favela in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema: Cidade de deus
  16. Triangulated Identities in Agualusa’s Nação crioula (1997)
    Preparatory reading: 

    Set texts, films and works of art: as above


    Secondary reading:

    Please see the list of suggested secondary readings.


    Teaching and learning: 

    The culture part of this paper is covered by one or more lectures per week and supervisions. The Linguistics topic comprises five lectures and one supervision per term. All supervisions are organized by colleges. The department’s policy is:

    • that supervisions should as far as possible keep in step with the lectures, so that the lectures provide background information for work being done in detail with supervisors
    • that students attend supervisions on literature and linguistics
    • that students should normally do detailed work on six of the texts
    • that these texts should be drawn evenly from each of the three sections. In the Easter term, before the examination, there are no lectures but you may have revision supervisions.

    Please see Pg.1's Moodle page. The password can be collected from the paper coordinator.


    There will be a 3-hour PG1 examination to cover the literature and cultural and the linguistics component of the paper.  The examination will offer you a choice of essay questions on the cultural texts studied (Literature, Film and the Visual Arts), and one question on Linguistics, of which three must be answered. You must not repeat material substantially. Overlap between essays will be penalized. The essay questions are based on key topics (see below), and give you the option of working comparatively across boundaries of nationality (Portugal, Brazil, Lusophone Africa), period (from the nineteenth century to the present) and cultural form (Literature, Film and the Visual Arts). We will be uploading specimen papers here in due course.

    Topic 1, ‘The Politics of Empire and Nation’, for instance, gives you the opportunity to explore the impact of the Portuguese maritime empire and its aftermath in the culture of Portugal, Brazil and Portuguese-Speaking Africa. Topic 2, ‘Gender, Sexuality, Love’, considers the politics of gender and family relations with or without reference to the wider political status quo. Topic 3, ‘Modernism and Modernity,’ offers you a chance to discuss different responses in the Lusophone world to challenges from the early twentieth century onwards. Finally, Topic 4, ‘Authority and Violence’, allows you to examine questions of authoritarianism, alienation and marginality as they feature in texts in the Portuguese-Speaking World.

    Course Contacts: 
    Dr Maite Conde (paper co-ordinator)
    Dr Ioanna Sitaridou (Linguistics)
    Dr Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá