I’m loving this conference because I’m learning real useful stuff. For instance, there is an explosion of crisis literature in Spain, right? But nothing of the kind in neighboring Portugal. Which suffered from the crisis as much if not more and has a similar culture, a similar language. What’s up with that?

Here at the conference there is a specialist in Portugal who explained that Portuguese writers don’t write for Portuguese-speaking audiences as much as they write for translation into English. So they don’t want to distress prospective Anglo buyers with graphic depictions of the crisis.

10 thoughts on “Portugal”

  1. The writers should just go ahead and be honest about depicting the actual social/cultural climate of their country irrespective of how much it may “distress” us potential Anglo readers.


    1. As a principle of art, yes.

      But as people disinterested in penury, not so much. How big is the Portuguese literary market? The number of literary readers in Portuguese is a drop compared to Spanish or English.

      How many literary readers know both Portuguese and Spanish and where are they located?


      1. They could try to sell in Brazil with its enormous population but they seem to despise this market. This is the opposite of the Spanish writers and editors who go out of their way to connect with Latin America.


        1. “They could try to sell in Brazil ”

          There are major problems in getting Brazilians to read (no first hand knowledge but put Brazil and “reading habits” and see…)

          A factor in Brazil is also that spoken Brazilian Portuguese is far more different from Iberian Portuguese than is the case with the Old and New World varieties of English, Spanish and French.

          That still doesn’t excuse Portuguese authors, though. I’m rapidly getting the idea that any time institutions or informal groups of individuals prioritize being international or global (or use catch phrases about international competitiveness) that whatever they do at the local level will suck donkeys.


          1. Absolutely. One hundred percent. It’s true in education, too. Whenever a school like mine starts jumping through hoops to attract international students or students from other regions, the quality of education goes in the crapper. I keep saying, we have students right here. We are a regional institution. Let’s serve these kids and not dream about imaginary hordes of students from Turkey (why Turkey, don’t ask) that don’t even know about us.


            1. Importing rich spoiled brats from other nations (because let’s be honest they’re not interested in international students of modest means) is definitely great for the institution’s bottom line. It isn’t great for diversity.

              I speak from direct experience. The career office also tends to suck because these international students tend to have all the opportunity they need back home.

              It’s also a function of funding being cut.


  2. “they write for translation into English”

    I used to have the idea that lots of Latin American literature was written for the translation market (Isabel Allende I’m looking at you!)
    A couple of years ago I’ve read that the literary response to the crisis in Greece was more based in poetry than prose. But I only have rudimentary knowledge of Greek and I’ve never been much into poetry so I have no idea if it’s any good…. (I just put Greece, crisis and poetry into google and a bunch of stuff came up).


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