Rui Sousa (University of Lisbon)


Rui Sousa. Investigator (CLEPUL). Degree in Portuguese Studies, with a Master’s in Romance Studies–Modern and Contemporary Portuguese Literature and PhD in Literature and Culture Studies by the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, with the thesis On the libertine: revisions of a concept through the case of Luiz Pacheco (2019). Participated in the book 1915: O Ano do Orpheu (coordinated by Steffen Dix) and has collaborated in the journal Pessoa Plural-A Journal of Fernando Pessoa Studies and at events organized by Projecto Estranhar Pessoa and Casa Fernando Pessoa. Published the book A Presença do Abjecto no Surrealismo Português in 2016. Recently organized the Congress Pensar A Antologia de Poesia Portuguesa (2021) and the Congress Manuel de Castro (2021). Co-organizer of the International Congress CosmoLiteratures. Thinking Literature and Cosmopolitism (2022)

Portuguese Surrealism as a Critical Semi-Peripheral Movement in Mário Cesariny’s Theoretical Proposals

Portuguese Surrealism was constituted through an ambiguous relationship with its two main referents: on the one hand, the European vanguards of the first half of the 20th century, in particular the Dadaist and Surrealist movements,comprising both the Bretonian matrix and some of its critics; on the other hand,the Portuguese literary tradition, from the Galician-Portuguese troubadour poets to the modernist group of Orpheu. An important component of the critical framework of the Portuguese surrealist movement can be found in Mário Cesariny’s work, its most internationally recognized representative. This paper proposes a reading of the way in which Cesariny gradually presented the uniqueness of Portuguese Surrealism as an expression of Portugal’s semi-peripheral status (Santos, 1994; Ramalho, 2021). This paper will focus two different aspects:1)the systematic criticism of previous avant-garde movements, including Surrealism itself, and the consequent proposal of the synthesis as the most suitable process for the interaction of previous isms and for the expansion of the ideal of rupture on which the avant-garde tradition is based (Paz ,1974) ;2)and the configuration of a historical-cultural panorama that isolates a certain idea of Portugal from the worldview established by Western Modernity. This perspective, according to Cesariny, allows the great moments of Portuguese literature to be understood as expressions of a pre-modern, pre-rationalist and pre-colonialist experience. Due to these two theoretical proposals, Cesariny reads the semi-peripheral status of Portuguese literature simultaneously as a kind of critical perspectivism and as a necessary condition for the affirmation of another civilizational paradigm, identified with aspects of Western culture systematically marginalized and with other cultural traditions that constitute part of the heritage claimed by the surrealist movement itself, guaranteeing it its global and trans-historical dimension (Cesariny, 1977).