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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Maria Manuel (Manucha) Lisboa

Photo of Maria Manuel
Professor of Portuguese Literature and Culture
University Council
Standing Appointments Committee (MMLL)
Faculty of MMLL Schools Liaison Committee
Gender, Equality and Diversity Committee (MMLL)
Mentor to applicants for Senior Academic Promotions (University)
Director of Studies in Portuguese (St. John’s College)
Spanish & Portuguese
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 338641

St John's College
St John's Street



Maria Manuel Lisboa works on Portuguese and Brazilian Literature from the nineteenth century to the present as well as some aspects of the visual arts, focusing on gender, religion and national identity.

She has published articles in all these areas as well as seven books: one on Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (Brazil), two on José Maria Eça de Queirós (Portugal), two on Paula Rego (Portugal/UK), one on themes of heresy and heterodoxy in literature (Portugal) and a comparative one on the theme of apocalypse in literature, film and art. She has also written articles on Mozambican literature and one on a French author. Her monograph, The End of the World: Apocalypse and its Aftermath in Western Culture, focused on the theme of global extinction in English, American, Portuguese and Brazilian literature, film and art, and featured in a University News article: 'Thinking the Unthinkable'.

Her work has won two international prizes: her second monograph on Eça de Queirós was the winner of the Prémio do Grémio Literário in Portugal in 2008. She was also one of the winners of the IV International Essay Competition in Brazil (Prêmio Itamaraty de Literatura Brasileira 2012 for an essay on the work of Lygia Fagundes Telles.

She has recently published a volume on the work of the artist Paula Rego: Essays on Paula Rego: Smile When You think about Hell (2019) and contributed an essay to the volume published by Tate Britain on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition in honour of the artist’s work (14 June – 24 October 2021), as well as to media programmes on the occasion of the retrospective in the UK and in Portugal.

She is now working on several new projects. These include articles on Clarice Lispector, Camilo Castelo Branco and the literary works of Grace Aguilar, a descendent of Portuguese Sephardic Jews escaped from the Portuguese Inquisition and settled in London. She is also doing preliminary work on the visual works of Ana Palma and Victor Willing.

A number of her translations of poems and short stories from Brazil, Portugal and Mozambique and one short story are available on her page:

Professor Lisboa welcomes enquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her own, as listed above.

Teaching interests: 
  • Portuguese and Brazilian Literature from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • Some Mozambican authors.
  • Paula Rego.
  • Nationality and Gender.


Research interests: 
  • Portuguese and Brazilian Literature from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • The work of Paula Rego.
  • Gender and Sexuality.
  • National identity. Feminist Theory and New Historicism.


Recent research projects: 
  • Paula Rego: Singing All Alone.’ Contribution to commemorative volume of Tate Britain’s Paula Rego Retrospective (14 June - 24 October 2021).
  • Essays on Paula Rego: Smile When You Think About Hell. Cambridge: Open Book. Cambridge: Open Book (2019).
  • A Heaven of Their Own: Heresy and Heterodoxy in Portuguese Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Oxford: Peter Lang (2018).


Published works: 

Books (Monographs) on Brazil, Portugal and Comparative Literature and Film

Essays on Paula Rego: Smile When You Think About Hell. Cambridge: Open Book. Cambridge: Open Book (2019). 492pp (Visual Arts)

A Heaven of Their Own: Heresy and Heterodoxy in Portuguese Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Oxford: Peter Lang (2018). (Portuguese Literature)

The End of the World: Apocalypse and its Aftermath in Western Culture. Cambridge: Open Book (2011). 194pp (Comparative Literature and Film)

Uma Mãe Desconhecida: Amor e Perdição em Eça de Queirós. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (2008), 219pp. *Winner of the Prémio do Grémio Literário (2008). (Portuguese Literature)

Paula Rego’s Map of Memory: National and Sexual Politics. Aldershot, UK and Burlington, USA: Ashgate (2003), 218pp (Portuguese Visual Arts)

Teu Amor Fez de Mim um Lago Triste: Ensaios Sobre os Maias. Porto: Campo das Letras (2000), 410pp (Portuguese Literature) 2nd revised edition: London: SPLASH (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies in the Humanities (2021), 282pp

Machado de Assis and Feminism: Re-reading the Heart of the Companion. Lewiston, NY and Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press (1996), 284pp (Brazilian Literature)


‘A procura da cara-metade’ (imagined sequel to Os Maias; sequela imaginada a Os Maias) available here

Articles on Brazil

'A Muted Palette or the Importance of Not Being Black: José de Alencar and Bernardo Guimarães’ in Journal Of Romance Studies. to Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 23.3, 269-99.

‘De Onde Menos se Espera: A Disciplina do Terror em Lygia Fagundes Telles’ in Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies 30/31 (2018), 225-274. *This essay was one of the winners of the Brazilian Itamaraty Prize (2012).

‘Um belo dia em Ipiranga: A Busca do Eu e de Nós em Machado de Assis’ in Metamorfoses: Revista da Cátedra Jorge de Sena, Número 8. Brazil: Editorial Caminho (2007).

‘Machado e Eça ou a Mão e a Luva: Tótem e Não Tabu’ in Via Atlântica, 2 (1999), 150-59.

‘Sei de Uma Criatura Antiga e Formidável: Maternidade, Origem e Fim nas Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas’ in Espelho, 3 (1997), 45-65.

‘A Mother is a Boy's Best Friend: Birth and Kinslaying in the Brazilian Foundation Novel’ in Portuguese Studies, 13 (1997), 95-107.

‘Whatever Happened to Baby Boys? Motherhood and Death in Lygia Fagundes Telles.’ Hers Ancient and Modern: Women's Writing in Spain and Brazil: Special Issue of Manchester Spanish and Portuguese Studies, 6 (1997), 111-29. *A longer version of this article appears in Revista Brasil de Literatura, Internet Website (7705 words) (1997).

Four essays in Verity Smith (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Latin American Literature (on Machado de Assis, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Clarice Lispector and Bernardo Guimarães). London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers (1995).

‘Clarice Lispector’ in Sarah M. Hall (ed.) Reference Guide to World Literature. London: Gale Research International Ltd. and St. James Press (1995).

Two essays in Ray Keenoy (ed.) Babel Guide to the Fiction of Portugal, Brazil and Africa in English Translation (on Machado de Assis and Lygia FagundesTelles). London: Boulevard Books (September 1995).

‘Casar cedo e cedo morrer: Amor e casamento no Dom Casmurro de Machado de Assis’ in Letras e Letras, 67 (March 1992), 12-14.

‘Manuel Bandeira: Sexualidade e subversão,’ in Colóquio Letras (May-August 1990), 115-16,  73-88.


Chapters in Books on Brazil

‘Querida Leitora: Machado de Assis e as Cumplicidades do Texto’ in Juracy

Assmann Saraiva (ed.) Nos labirintos de Dom Casmurro. Ensaios críticos. Portoalegre, RS, Brazil: Coleção Literatura Brasileira. Série Grandes Obras (2006), 171-192.

‘Darkness Visible: Alternative Theology in Lygia Fagundes Telles’ in Solange Ribeiro de Oliveira and Judith Still (eds.), Brazilian Feminisms. Nottingham: The University of Nottingham Monographs in the Humanities, Vol. X11 (1999), 133-154.

‘Machado de Assis and the Beloved Reader: The Squatters in the Text’ in Naomi Segal and Nicholas White (eds.) Scarlet Letters: Fictions of Adultery from Antiquity to the 1990's. Basingstoke: Macmillan (1997), 160-73.

‘Here Be Dragons: She-Devils and Little Boys: The Annihilation of the Male in Lygia Fagundes Telles,’ (chapter in book) in Georgiana Colville (ed.), Other Women's Voices/Other Americas. Lewiston, NY and Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press (January 1996), 119-144.


Articles and chapters in books on Mozambique

‘Colonial Crosswords: (In)voicing the Gap in Mia Couto’ in Robin Fiddian (ed.) Postcolonial Perspectives on Latin America and Lusophone Cultures. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press (2000), 191-212.

‘José Craveirinha: Trajecto para o indizível’ in Nova Renascença, 56-57 (Winter 1995), 35-44.

‘Grabato Dias e o eterno adiamento do significado,’ in Letras e Letras, n.15 (March 1989), 17-18.


Articles on Portugal (for more, see this profile)

Paula Rego: A Rock Through a Window Never Comes With a Kiss.

Paula Rego: Singing All Alone.’ London: Elena Crippa, Commemorative volume to Tate Britain Paula Rego Retrospective, London: Tate (2021), pp. 40-45.

Até sempre, Paula: ‘In Paradise, How You Will Enchant the Angels!’ Faces de Eva. Estudos sobre a Mulher, n.48 (December 2022), pp. 48-78.

Little boys who play with fire get their fingers burnt: Antiquity’s women in Hélia Correia’ in Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 19, Issue 3 (2019), 415-442.

‘The end of civilization in Álvaro do Carvalhal: Eating Children is Wrong.’ Special Issue of Journal of Institute of Romance Studies, Volume 11, Number 3, Winter 2011,  109-119.

‘Mother/land: Complexities of Love and Loyalty in Alexandre Herculano, Eça de Queirós and Hélia Correia. Luso-Brazilian Review, 47:1 (2010), 168-189.

‘Menino na Mão das Bruxas: O Conquistador de Almeida Faria.’ Colóquio/Letras. May/August (2010), 83-95.

 ‘“Até ao Fim do Mundo:” Amor, Rancor e Guerra em Hélia Correia’ in a special issue of Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, n. 68 (April 2004), 65-83.

 ‘Júlio Dinis and History Revisited: What Good is a Dead Mother?’ in Portuguese Studies, vol. 19 (2003),  38-50.

‘An Interesting Condition: The Abortion Pastels of Paula Rego,’ in Luso-Brazilian Review, Vol. 39, n. 2 (2002), 125-149.

‘'Num Bi Nada': O Incesto e a Oportunidade Perdida n'Os Maias’ in Veredas: Revista da Associação Internacional de Lusitanistas, 2 (1999) [2001], 127-56.

 ‘Dying as an Art in Maria Judite de Carvalho: Doing It Exceptionally Well’ in Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies, vol. 6 (1998) [2000],  277-288.

‘Meninos da Sua Mãe: Abjecção e Incesto em Eça de Queirós’ in Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies, III (1996), 9-85.

‘Paula Rego: Casos Há para que a Lei não Dá’ in Público, 14 May 1999.

‘Teu Amor Fez de Mim um Lago Triste: (D)enunciar a Mãe em Eça de Queirós,’ ‘Colóquio-Letras, n. 147-148 (January-June 1998), 51-66.

 ‘Modernismo, Niilismo, Caeirismo: Histórias de Idiotas, (Não) Significando Nada?’ Escritor (December 1997), 140-51.

‘Benilde ou o Deus-Pai: Dilemas de Deus e do Diabo’ in Boletim do Centro de Estudos Regianos, 1 (December 1997), 51-57.

‘No Mother's Daughter or the Importance of Being Ernesto: Identity and Separation in Maria Judite de Carvalho.’ Portuguese Studies, 12 (1996), 106-132.

‘Uma caixa de fósforos ou como o mundo acaba: A risada vingativa de Eça de Queiroz’ in Revista Arca (October 1995), 35-54.

 ‘Inês de Castro: A morte na página em branco,’ in the Proceedings of the Conference of the Associação Internacional de Lusitanistas, Hamburg (1995), 641-650.

‘Corpo presente: Trabalho (d)e parto em Miguel Torga,’ (article) in Aqui, Neste Lugar e Nesta Hora: Actas do Primeiro Congresso Internacional sobre Miguel Torga (Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Miguel Torga, Porto). Porto: Edições Universidade Fernando Pessoa (1994),  219-33.

‘Feminism and Cannibalism or the Edible Man: One Hundred and One Ways to Cook the Male,’ in Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies, 2 (1993),  429-43.

‘Cadáveres adiados: A loucura na heroina torguiana,’ in Colóquio Letras (July-December 1992), 139-50.

‘Madwomen, Whores and Torga: Desecrating the Canon?’ in Portuguese Studies, 7 (October 1991), 170-83.

‘José Régio: Um feminista avant la lettre,’ in Jornal de Letras, 369 (February1990), 12-13.


Chapters in Books on Portugal

‘Que tipo de Pessoas somos nós? Search me’ in Francesca Pasciolla e Rui Gonçalves Miranda (eds.), Fernando Pessoa. Abordagens. London:  Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies in the Humanities (SPLASH Editions (2021), 134-53.

‘Elephants All the Way Down: Utopia and Dystopia in Hélia Correia’s Insânia and José Saramago’s As Intermitências da morte’ in Bethencourt, Francisco (ed.), Utopia in Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone African Countries. Oxford: Peter Lang (2015), 141-166.

‘A Realidade do Irreal em Eça: Fantasia, ou a Verdade Nua e Crua?’ in Petar Petrov and Marcelo G. Oliveira (eds.) A Primazia do Texto: Ensaios em Homenagem a Maria Lucia Lepecki. Lisbon: A Espera do Caos (2011).

‘Millennial Endings and Old Beginnings in José Saramago, H.G. Wells and John Wyndham’ in Kathy Bacon and Niamh Thornton (eds), The Noughties in the Hispanic and Lusophone World, Newcastle: Cambridge ScholarsPublishing (2012),  189-202.

‘Paula Rego and the Madonna: Who’s That Girl?’ in Ann Davies, Parvathi Kumaraswami and Claire Williams eds., Making Waves Anniversary Volume: Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2008), 185-201.

‘Amor, Rancor e Guerra em Hélia Correia: ‘Até Ao Fim Do Mundo’ in Maria de Fátima Sousa e Silva (ed.) Furor. EnsaiosSobre a Obra Dramática de Hélia Correia. Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra (2006), 129-54.

‘Mapa da memória de Paula Rego: política nacional e sexual’ in Ruth Rosengarten(ed.), Compreender Paula Rego. Porto, Portugal: Colecção de arte contemporânea Público/Serralves (2004), 105-114.

‘“Esperai: aqui não morre ninguém sem mim!” Tragédias relativas em Almeida Garrett, ou quem chora que nem uma Madalena?’ in Margarida Calafate Ribeiro, Teresa Cristina Cerdeira, Juliet Perkins and Phillip Rothwell (eds.), A Primavera toda para ti: Homenagem a Helder Macedo/A Tribute to Helder Macedo. Lisbon: Presença (2004), 160-165.

‘Em Tempo de Guerra não se Limpam Armas: O Instinto de Nacionalidade em Paula Rego’ in Ana Paula Ferreira and Margarida Calafate Ribeiro (eds.), Fantasias e Fantasmas Imperiais no Imaginário Português Contemporâneo. Porto: Campo das Letras (2003), 91-113.

‘Admirável Mundo Novo? A Primeira Missa no Brasil de Paula Rego’ in João Cézar de Castro Rocha (ed.), Nenhum Brasil existe: pequena enciclopédia. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks Editora, 2003, 73-91.

‘Uma Chuva Molha-Tontos: Insurreição na Colmeia em Carlos de Oliveira,’ in Pedro Serra (org.), Uma Abelha na Chuva: Uma Revisão. Coimbra: Angelus Novus (2003), 59-74.

‘Por(Torga)lidade or Torga and the Motherland: Still Angry After All These Years’ in Charles M. Kelley (ed.), Fiction in the Portuguese-Speaking World. Cardiff: University of Wales Press (2000), 22-45.

‘Narcisismo, Incesto, Amor e Pátria’ in Alfredo Campos Matos (ed.), Suplemento ao Dicionário de Eça de Queiroz. Lisbon: Caminho (2000), 398-411.

‘Júlio Dinis: História e Pátria Revisitadas.’ Booklet published as part of the MEMO Colection series. A publication of the Centro Brasileiro de Estudos da América Latina. S. Paulo: Memo (1998), 3- 45.

‘No Mother's Daughter or the Importance of Being Ernesto: Identity and Separation in Maria Judite de Carvalho’ in Cláudia Pazos Alonso and Maria da Glória Fernandes (eds.), Women Literature and Culture in the Portuguese-speaking World. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press (1996), 65-83. *Shortened version of article item 15 above.

‘O Tema da dissidência na obra de José Régio: Re-leituras e tresleituras das Histórias de Mulheres’ in Luís Amaro (ed.) Ensaios Críticos sobre José Régio. Porto: Editora Asa (1995), 231-55.

‘You Can't Go Home Again’ in T.F. Earle and Nigel Griffin (eds.) Portuguese, Brazilian and African Studies. Warminster: Aris and Phillips (1995), 345-57.

‘The Maid is not Dead but Sleepeth: Death and Revival in Writing by Women’ in Jon Davies (ed.) Ritual and Remembrance: Responses to Death in Human Societies. Sheffield: Sheffield University Press (1994), 260-76.

‘Régio e as mulheres: Há mais mundos’ (introductory essay) in José Régio, Histórias de Mulheres. Edição do Círculo de Leitores (1993),  i-xiii.


Article on French Literature

‘This World is Not the Case: Apocalypse in J-H Rosny Ainé’ in Alex Stuart and Leona Archer (eds.) Visions of Apocalypse. Oxford: Peter Lang (2013)


Translation of two chapters in Bernard McGuirk (ed.), Three Persons on One: A Centenary Tribute to Fernando Pessoa. Nottingham University Press (1989), pp. 27- 35 and 65-79.

Translation (with Bernard McGuirk) of Fernando Pessoa's selected prose writings in E. Lisboa and L.C. Taylor (eds.), A Centenary Pessoa. London: Carcanet (1995), pp. 197-294.

Alberto Caeiro, The Keeper of Sheep. Collaboration with Michael Brick and Kip Gresham. For production of boxed set of 12 print works and 12 poems, edition of 30 and exhibition at Broadent Gallery, London (2006, unpaginated) and Portuguese Embassy, London. These sets are now lodged at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.


Media and Impact

26 June 2021: Interview with Mara Alves, ‘Paula Rego and her Contemporaries – an exhibition of Portuguese artists in the UK.’ On the occasion of an exhibition being held in collaboration with the 12 Star Gallery to celebrate Portugal's Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2021 with the support of Camões I.P.

Interview about Paula Rego with Renato Guerra to coincide with Portugal's Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2021 and with a major retrospective of her work at Tate Britain, London (7 July – 27 October).

Saturday 9th October 2021: Clore Auditorium at Tate Britain. Presentation, panel discussion and Q&A on Paula Rego.

Participated in the Cambridge Festival Ideas in 2020, 2021 and 2022.


Past PhD students

Claire Williams: Thesis on Clarice Lispector (Brazil).
Now Associate Professor, University of Oxford.

Phillip Rothwell: Thesis on Mia Couto (Mozambique).
Now full Professor, University of Oxford.

Karl Posso: Thesis on Silviano Santiago, Caio Fernando Abreu, homosexuality  and exile (Brazil).
Now full Professor, University of Manchester.

Paul de Melo e Castro: Thesis on José Cardoso Pires, cinema and photography  (Portugal).
Now Lecturer, University of Glasgow.

Conceição Lopes Gordon: Thesis on Florbela Espanca (Portugal). 
Formerly at Universidade do Algarve and now at Instituto Superior de  Línguas e Administração, Lisbon.

Helen Lima de Sousa: Thesis on Brazilian Nineteenth-Century Romanticism  (Brazil). 

David Bailey: Thesis on kinship and degeneracy in fin-de-siècle Portugal and Brazil (Brazil and Portugal).
Now Associate Professor, University of Manchester.