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PGA3: Introduction to Lusophone literature

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.


This ab initio course in Lusophone Literature covers a selection of four literary texts, one film and the work of one artist, covering Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa (in this instance Mozambique). Material is studied in the context of relevant information on the historical and political backdrop, and will draw on some Critical Theory. The course is available to MML and HML students

Aims and objectives: 

PGA3 is designed to develop your reading, comprehension and analytical skills, to introduce you to examples of literature, art and film in the Portuguese-speaking world, and to give you a taster of material you can study in greater depth in Part IB and subsequently. The aims are reflected in the examination, which lasts three hours and involves three compulsory questions:

  • a translation into English of a passage from one of the texts
  • a commentary of a passage taken from one of the texts
  • a choice of one essay in English on the film, the artist or one of the three literary texts not used in the commentary question
Course materials: 

The set texts and topics in the order they will be covered in Lent Term are as follows:

1. Changing stories: Paula Rego (Paintings, pastels, prints and drawings: Portugal)

2. A different Land: Margarida Cardoso, A costa dos murmúrios (Film: Portugal/Mozambique)

3. The outsiders: Miguel Torga, Novos contos da montanha (Short stories: Portugal)

4. Love, religion, incest and the motherland: Eça de Queirós, O crime do Padre Amaro (novel: Portugal)

5. Are you scared yet? Lygia Fagundes Telles (Selected short stories from various anthologies: Brazil)

6. Dogs, children and other outcasts: Luís Bernardo Honwana, Nós matámos o cão tinhoso (Short stories: Mozambique)


Please note that it is essential that by the end of the academic you can offer evidence that you have read these texts in the original Portuguese

Lecturers will confirm the titles of specific short stories to be studied this year, and these are also outlined in the relevant Moodle page.

Please also consult the Moodle page for further reading (secondary bibliography) and a wealth of additional information. Literature/Culture/Language and other Portuguese resources.

Literature/Culture/Language and other Portuguese resources.

Teaching and learning: 

Teaching will take the form of 6 lectures in Lent Term focusing on the texts and topics above (presented by Professor Manucha Lisboa). To accompany these, students will also have fortnightly supervisions in Lent Term. In the Easter term, PGA3 students will have two lectures and two supervisions focusing on the commentary part of the exam with Dr Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá.

Please see PGA3's Moodle page.


As noted above, the exam involves three questions:

  • a translation into English of an excerpt from one of the authors studied;
  • a commentary on a passage or poem from one of the authors studied;
  • an essay on one of the authors studied.

There will be no essay title on whichever author is selected for the commentary.

The examination for this paper lasts three hours.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Manucha Lisboa (paper co-ordinator)
Dr Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá