31061 - Portuguese and Brazilian Literature 1

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide basic and well structured competencies in Portuguese and Brazilian cultural and literary history, with an ample repertoire of texts, contexts and concepts about the historical period at stake.

Course contents

The course is structured in two parts, the first devoted to the Portuguese Literature and the second to the Brazilian one. The first part is entitled “Portugal from the formation of the Nation to the Empire (with a special regard about Camoes' works)£ focusses a literary and cultural reflection on Portuguese history since the remote origins (in XII century) of Portugal to the magnificence and decay of the Empire in XVI century, conditioned by the Atlantic expansion and the colonial projects. Inside the general view, particular attention will be directed to the epic masterpiece by Luís de Camões, Os Lusíadas (1572) which represents the aesthetic apogee and the most representative historic-cultural epitome of the examined period. The second part is entitled “Will Brazil colony be another Portugal? Myths and symbols of the brazilian colonial culture" and devoted to deepen lusophone american colonial culture as a part of the Portuguese metropolitan culture. It deals with foundamental archives to study the imagination and the stereotypes carachterizing the futur indipendent brazilian culture. In the general view, a particular attention will be directed to the camonian influences on the epic colonial production, such as in Caramuru by Santa Rita Durão (1781). Specific parts are directed to the students of the 2nd and 3th year, in paticular dedicated to text reading.


Portuguese Section

-Valeria Tocco, Breve storia della letteratura portoghese, Roma Carocci, 2011 (capp.1 e 2)

-Roberto Vecchi e Vincenzo Russo (a cura di), La letteratura portoghese. I testi e le idee. Milano: Le Monnier Università, 2017 (Parte prima "Dalla formazione del Portogallo all'impero", pp.15-170)

-José Hermano SaraivaStoria del Portogallo, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2004 (dalle origini ad Alcácer Quibir)

-Eduardo Lourenço, Il labrinto della saudade. Portogallo come destino, Reggio Emilia: Diabasis, 2013 - Luís de Camões, I Lusiadi, Milano, BUR, 2001 (canti 1-4-5-9 e 10)

Brazilian Section

-Luciana Stegagno Picchio, Storia della letteratura Brasiliana, Torino, Einaudi, 1997 (capp.I-IV)

-Boris Fausto, Storia del Brasile, Cagliari Fabula, 2010 (capp 1 e 2, parte coloniale)

-G Ricciardi Scrittori brasiliani Tullio Pironti 2003 (Parte Prima, il Brasile coloniale) or pdf available during the lessons.

-Pêro Vaz de Caminha, Carta do achamento, a cura di A., Unnali, Milano, Cisalpino, 1984.

-Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Radici del Brasile, Firenze, Giunti, 2000 (capp. I-IV)

Teaching methods

The lessons, based on the connection between concepts and contexts, will be followed by a seminar discussion on a selected bibliography. Individual readings on the main primary resources introduced during the course supported by a tutor during the preparation of the final test.

Assessment methods

The final exam is the result of partial tests. At the end of each module, it will be proposed two test structured through questions on the main conceptual, contextual and textual issues of the section in exam. The final grade will therefore be made up of the results of the tests of the partial exams. These trials will test the capacity of understanding the main concepts exposed during the course, connected to a descriptive knowledge of the analyzed contexts and the ability to navigate among the assigned readings, enhancing the capacity of synthesis and precision of expression especially about the conceptual keys. In terms of evaluation, an accurate knowledge of concepts, contexts and texts, combined with an effective capacity of argument, will be judged with the top score. A general knowledge of the historical and literary context and the main sources used but lacking a precise conceptual framework will be evaluated favorably even with intermediate results, while a purely manualistic or fragmentary knowledge of the structure of the course, although sufficient for the purpose of reporting the general framework of the course, it will get only a sufficient feedback. In this context, the capacity of synthesis, combined with a proper conceptual and terminological precision, contributes to improve the overall outcome of the exam.

Teaching tools

The course defines a strict dialogue between literatures and cultures for the period in exam. For this reason, beside literary texts, to which a specific workshop (reading and commenting) will pay special attention, other multemedia and internet contents will be introduced, in order to build an organic and clear framework of the historical context in discussion. Materials and audio of the lessons are made ​​available to students for a better prepration of the course.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Roberto Vecchi