Ana Isabel Santos (University of Porto)


Ana Isabel Santos holds a MA in Literary, Cultural and Interart Studies-branch of Comparative Studies and Intercultural Relations from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Porto, with the dissertation “To be seen through a lens: the image of Mário-Henrique Leiria”. She is currently a PhD student in Literary, Cultural and Interartistic Studies at the same institution and a non-doctoral researcher at the Margarida Losa Institute for Comparative Literature, dedicated to the study of the interartistic dialogue in the Portuguese surrealist movement, coordinating it with an attempt to revitalise the work of Portuguese Multiple Talent poets of this period.

Acts of Resistance: Towards a Portuguese Identity in the International Surrealist Movement

The temporal distance that marks the two scenarios of action of the surrealist movement-national and international-should not be seen as a flaw or disadvantage for the Portuguese scene, but can rather be seen as the achievement of a very unique surrealist identity (from the perspective of an historical lineage as recommended by Tania Martuscelli), at certain moments out of step with Breton’s movement, and which brought with it the reconfiguration of certain models, as is the case of the transmedial narrative.As Fernando Cabral Martins states, Surrealism’s greatest achievement lies in its “resistance to become history”, that is,”(…) one cannot say that there is a delay in Portuguese surrealism.Surrealism is not a movement, it is a place (…). It erupts in history, at different times”1. The development of Surrealism in Portugal was marked by several tribulations that must be analyzed under the light of the sociocultural and political context of the time, but also of society’s unpreparedness to absorb and accept the breaking of conventionalisms and attitudes of resistance through art: the artists who would come to play a leading role in this iconoclastic generation were fully aware of the dictatorial scenario in which they operated and the difficulties they faced when trying to capture the attention of an intellectually unprepared public. As Adelaide Ginga Tchen states, despite the negative impact that Salazar’s isolationist policy had on the Portuguese creative context of the 1940s and 1950s, it is relevant to note the disinterest of the Portuguese intelligentsia, resulting from “Portuguese society’s lack of tradition in understanding the avant-garde”.