Portuguese Literature

This is a survey of Portuguese literature.

The Portuguese language was developed gradually from the Vulgar language (i.e. Vulgar Latin) spoken in the countries which formed part of the Roman Empire and, both in morphology and syntax, it represents an organic transformation of Latin without the direct intervention of any foreign tongue. The sounds, grammatical forms, and syntactical types, with a few exceptions, are derived from Latin, but the vocabulary has absorbed a number of Germanic and Arabic words, and a few have Celtic origin. Before the close of the Middle Ages the language threatened to become almost as abbreviated as French, but learned writers, in their passion for antiquity, re-approximated the vocabulary to Latin. The Renaissance commenced a separation between literary men and the people, between the written and spoken tongue, which with some exceptions lasted until the beginning of the 19th century. Then the Romanticists went back to tradition and drew on the poetry and every day speech of the people, and, thanks to the writings of such men as Almeida Garrett and Camilo Castelo Branco, the literary language became national once again.

Read more about Portuguese Literature:  First Classical Phase: The Renaissance, Second Classical Phase: Baroque, Third Classical Phase: NeoClassicism

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    A book is not an autonomous entity: it is a relation, an axis of innumerable relations. One literature differs from another, be it earlier or later, not because of the texts but because of the way they are read: if I could read any page from the present time—this one, for instance—as it will be read in the year 2000, I would know what the literature of the year 2000 would be like.
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