Portuguese MSt/MPhil Programme

The Special Subjects listed below are offered as permanent options for the MSt and MPhil.  Candidates are encouraged to discuss individually tailored options with the appropriate member of staff. 

N.B. Candidates wishing to specialise in Portuguese Linguistics should apply for the MSt or MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology.

Medieval Literature

Special Subjects

These are the options available in 2017-18. Not all options will be available in all years, and some course content might change.

The Cantigas de Santa Maria (Not offered in 2017-18)

The 420 songs in praise of the Virgin Mary, compiled in the second half of the 13th century by and for Alfonso X (‘the Learned’), King of Castile, and preserved in four richly decorated manuscripts, are a treasure trove of poetry, music, and art, and offer unparalleled opportunities for literary, cultural, and artistic research. This course will focus on the processes of composition of the individual poems, and the compilation of the collections in which the Cantigas are incorporated.
(Convenor: Dr Parkinson)

Renaissance Literature

Special Subjects

These are the options available in 2017-18. Not all options will be available in all years, and some course content might change.

Comedy in the Sixteenth Century
Gil Vicente is the major author of comic drama in the sixteenth century, and the course will examine his work in detail, trying to get behind the clichés of Vicentine criticism to issues such as stagecraft and staging which have been barely touched on in the past. There will be an opportunity too to examine the poet’s relationship with his courtly patrons. The course will also explore the almost unknown neoclassical prose comedies of Sá de Miranda and António Ferreira, also in the context of the culture of the royal court.
(Convenor: Dr Park)

Lyric Poetry in the Sixteenth Century
In recent years there has been a marked increase in the quantity of scholarly and critical work devoted to Portuguese lyric poetry in the sixteenth century. This has made possible the development of a new course which ranges considerably further than conventional surveys, and takes into account poets previously largely forgotten, like Andrade Caminha or Mousinho de Quevedo, as well as familiar writers like Sá de Miranda and Camões. There will be opportunities to explore topics such as the reception of Petrarch, the social and political role of poets and of poetry, the development of such genres as the sonnet, and the role and function of the woman as the object of poetic desire.
(Convenor: Dr Park)

Modern Literature

Special Subjects

These are the options available in 2017-18. Not all options will be available in all years, and some course content might change.

Lusophone Women Writers
This course takes as its starting-point the well-documented isolation and marginality of women writers in both Portugal and Brazil in the first half of the 20th century, before moving on to consider the growing impact of new generations of female writers, from the 1950s onwards and more especially after the return to democracy in both countries. It examines the differing strategies deployed by female-authored texts as they negotiate the minefield of genre and gender, and issues surrounding critical reception. Students will have the opportunity to study major canonical writers from a selection which ranges from Florbela Espanca through to Lídia Jorge, taking in the writings of Clarice Lispector, but also, if they so wish, some of the lesser known writers.
(Convenor: Professor Pazos Alonso)

The Colonial and Postcolonial Literature of Portuguese-Speaking Africa

This course will engage with representative texts from Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. It will examine a selection of authors from different geographical settings for their portrayal of colonial experiences and post-colonial legacies. A first aim of the course will be to investigate the ongoing reflection about issues surrounding national identity, over a period of several decades. A second aim will be to consider how and why African authors incorporate distinctive African dimensions into their work, while simultaneously strategically engaging with and appropriating European literary traditions, be it at the level of themes, form or language.
(Convenor: Professor Pazos Alonso)

National Identity and Society in Brazilian Film

This course will concentrate on representations of Brazilian national identity and society in Brazilian cinema since the groundbreaking movement of Cinema Novo in the 1950s. The course will examine the work of some of Brazil’s key film-makers. Given the interdisciplinary approach of this course, the critical analysis of a selection of films will draw on the theoretical frameworks developed by Brazilian social scientists (such as Gilberto Freyre, Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda, Roberto da Matta), as well as film critics and directors (Glauber Rocha’s formulations on an Aesthestics of Hunger being a case in point. The issues covered in the course will include:

  • National Identity
  • Subalternity and Representation
  • Dictatorship and Democracy
  • The City and Rural Spaces
  • Underdevelopment and Modernity
  • Violence and Segregation

(Convenor: Professor Williams)

Contemporary Brazilian Fiction

This course will allow you to explore current trends and new voices in recent Brazilian prose fiction, focusing on how it engages with the country’s post-dictatorship experience and with pressing social questions, such as urban violence and poverty, which affect Brazilian society today. You will study established contemporary writers such as João Gilberto Noll, Milton Hatoum, Bernardo Carvalho, Luiz Ruffatto and Adriana Lisboa. In addition, the course will survey the output originating from traditionally marginalized sections of Brazilian society, the inhabitants of the favelas being a case in point.

(Convenor: Professor Williams)


Subscribe to Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages