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PG3: Introduction to the Language, Literatures and Cultures of the Portuguese-speaking World

Cannibal Feast

Image : Illustration by and from Jean de Lery's Historia Navigationis in Brasiliam, quae et America Dicitur (Voyage to Brazil, also known as America), 1578. One of the earliest depictions of Brazil's indigenous peoples as as Cannibals.  


Please be aware that places on this paper are normally restricted. Only limited numbers of students are able to take this paper.

Please note, this paper will be available to PII students for the last time in 2017-18.  From Michaelmas 2018, it will only be available to PIB students.  [This paper was previously called Introduction to the Language and Literature of Portugal, Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Africa.]

Paper PG3 is designed to give you an introduction to the main areas of study in the Portuguese Tripos, allowing you to sample literature, art and film, from the sixteenth century to the present, and from Portugal, Brazil, Angola and Mozambique. The paper offers language classes aiming at providing you with a reading knowledge of the language and thus allowing you to work on a variety of texts (novels, poetry, fine arts and film) and topics that will give you a solid grounding in Lusophone studies whilst making you aware of its richness and complexity. Furthermore PG3 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 whilst gaining a wider perspective on the cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. The paper is available to any student taking papers from the Tripos in Modern Languages, with the exception of Portuguese Tripos students. Students taking this paper at Part IB have the option of going to a Portuguese-speaking country on their year abroad and/or taking further papers on the Portuguese Tripos at Part II.

You are strongly encouraged to read all the texts from the reading list and watch as many of the films 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. 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.

This paper is available to all MML students at Part IB except those taking Portuguese. Please note: no candidate may offer more than one of Papers Du.5, Gr.3, Pg.3, Sp.10, or Uk.1 in any one year.

A good performance in this paper at Part IB will enable students wishing to take a Portuguese paper at Part II (Pg.4: Self, Family, Nation and Empire in Lusophone Culture; Pg.5: Literature and Culture of Portugal and Brazil from 1595) to do so.

Portuguese is the fifth most widely-spoken world language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and S. Tomé e Príncipe, and is spoken by some 200 million people worldwide. Within the Romance languages, it bears close affinity to Spanish, and also to French and Italian. Any student within the MML Faculty, however, is welcome to choose this paper whatever her/his other language combinations, and many have done so with success.

The PG3L (language) course is designed to take you from scratch to A-level standard in an academic year. 



Literature, History, Art and Cinema

The Politics of Empire and Nation

Gender, Sexuality, Love

Modernism and Modernity

Authority and Violence


Optional Lectures on the History of the Portuguese-Speaking World

  1. History of Portugal from the origins to the nineteenth-century
  2. Encounter with Brazil: Pero Vaz de Caminha, ‘A carta’
  3. Portugal, the Estado Novo and the Colonies 



  1. Optional lecture I: History of Portugal: from the origins to the nineteenth-century
  2. Optional lecture II: Conquest and colonization of Brazil in Pero Vaz de Caminha’s ‘A carta’ (1500)
  3. Camões: Lírica
  4. Alexandre Herculano, ‘A Dama pé de Cabra’ (1843) and Hélia Correia, ‘Fascinação’ (2004)
  5. Brazilian Romanticism, Slavery and Nation Formation: José de Alencar’s Iracema
  6. Portuguese Realism (i): Eça de Queirós’s O crime do Padre Amaro: problematic fathers
  7. Portuguese Realism (ii): Eça de Queirós’s O crime do Padre Amaro: absent mothers and the narcissistic injury
  8.  Optional Lecture III: Portugal, the Estado Novo and the Colonies
  9. Fernando Pessoa: Modernism, History and Political Controversies
  10. Portuguese Dreams of Empire: Fernando Pessoa’s Mensagem
  11. Brazilian Modernism (i) : Manuel Bandeira
  12. Brazilian Modernism (ii): Oswald de Andrade and the manifestoes
  13. Colonization and Decolonization in Mozambican Literature: Luiz Bernardo Honwana’s Nós matámos o cão tinhoso
  14. Brazil's Cinema Novo and the Aesthetics of Hunger in the film Vidas secas
  15. Paula Rego: Gender and Sexuality (Pastels, Prints and Paintings).
  16. Paula Rego: Politics and Religion  (Pastels, Prints and Paintings).
  17. Visibility and Invisibility in Clarice Lispector’s A Hora da estrela
  18. Filming the Favela in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema: Cidade de deus
  19. Triangulated Identities in Agualusa’s Nação crioula


Preparatory reading: 

Set texts, films and works of art: as above


Secondary texts:

Please see the suggested secondary texts


Teaching and learning: 

The paper includes two hours per week of language instruction throughout the year and one or more lectures per week in Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Fortnightly supervisions begin usually in week 3 of the Michaelmas Term and continue in the Lent and Easter Terms. During Lent Term a series of 4 language supervisions will also be arranged to help you prepare for the language component of the examination. For this paper, only 4 essays need to be written throughout the year (one at the end of Michaelmas Term, one at the division of the Lent Term, one at the end of the Lent Term and one on the first day of the Easter Term).

Preparation for your language classes:
As the course is very intensive and we need to cover a lot of material in just 20 teaching weeks, we strongly encourage you to work through one of the following options before the academic year:

  •  "Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar”, by John Whitlam, Routledge: Chapters 1 to 9 and 15 from the Practical Guide and the Workbook   OR
  • “Portuguese, An Essential Grammar”, by Amélia Hutchinson and Janet Lloyd, Second Edition, Routledge: Chapters 1 to 4; 5.1, 5.2, 5.3; 6 and 7; as a complement, please complete the exercises on "Vamos lá começar" (pages 1-88), by Leonel Melo Rosa, Edições Técnicas Lidel.

Please use the key to correct your answers.
Don't feel that you have to be limited by this only, go as far ahead as you can. Please see Recommended bibliography and Online Resources below.
In this paper we work with a combination of books, class handouts and online materials, but "Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese As a World Language", Second Edition, by Clemence Jouet-Pastre, Pearson, will be our main textbook.

Please also refer to:

Please see Pg.3's Moodle page.


There will be two exams: a 2-hour PG3C examination to cover the literature and cultural component of the paper and a 1.30-hour language paper, PG3L.  The examination on the literature and cultural component will offer you a choice of essay questions on the cultural texts studied (Literature, Film and the Visual Arts), of which two 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), requiring comparative readings that may cut 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).

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.  

Please see the specimen papers for PG3C and for PG3L.

Course Contacts: 
Brazilian Literature and Film: Dr Maite Conde
Portuguese and Lusophone African Literature: Prof. Manucha Lisboa (paper co-ordinator)
Mr Felipe Schuery (LTO, re: PG3L Portuguese Language Classes)
Dr. Vivien Kogut de Sá (Lecturer and supervisor for PG3L language supervisions in Lent Term)