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Ao gosto Português: popular culture in dialogue with comic reinterpretations of European theatre in the second half of the 18th century

Grant number: 19/20703-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Status:Discontinued
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Elisabeth Brait
Grantee:Carlos Junior Gontijo Rosa
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Comunicação, Letras e Artes. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):21/11276-3 - Possible Dialogues: Other Looks at Early Modern Portuguese Theatre, BE.EP.PD

Abstract

This research project aims to investigate how the presence of servants, and more specifically of figures whose role and function in the plot links them to the stock character of the gracioso, is used to modify serious European texts in order to make them more accessible to a popular Portuguese audience. To this end, it will examine Portuguese literary-theatrical works produced in the second half of the 18th century, particularly plays which, in the process of being translated from original European theatrical classics, were adapted "to Portuguese tastes." With this syntagma, we refer to texts which were fundamentally altered, in terms of their genre, in order to appeal to an audience whose level of cultivation did not correspond to the erudite aesthetic criteria of the time. By way of an initial corpus for this research project, we highlight plays that were censored by the Portuguese Inquisition because they contained comic characters that had been inserted into hitherto serious works. Our hypothesis is that the mechanism used by the writers who adapted these plays creates an effect of carnivalization that subverts official culture. Aside from contributing to our understanding of a neglected literary-historical period in Portuguese drama, the importance of this research also lies in its analysis of the mechanisms which have historically affirmed (and repressed) folk culture within the context of the Iberian Peninsula. In this way, this project intends to shed light on a period undervalued by institutionalised criticism and, by reading the texts from this era through the prism of the dialog perspective of Mikhail Bakhtin and his Circle - particularly the concepts of carnivalization and the chronotope - legitimise this production as the reflection and refraction of its historical and artistic context. We cannot hope to insert the texts addressed by this research project into the canon through the appreciation of their aesthetic merits, as this approach would inevitably be based on erudite standards of taste and formal refinement. Instead, this project seeks to uncover and understand alternative places and paths of speech, discourse and aesthetics within non-official culture. (AU)

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