Are you a reader? Are you interested in the history of literacy? If so, this blogpost is for you!
Porto, Portugal has a rich history of literacy, with a strong tradition of reading and writing that dates back centuries. From famous writers like Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queirós to the city’s historic bookstores and literary festivals, Porto is a destination that any book lover should have on their travel bucket list. In this blog post, we will explore Porto’s literary connections, from its most famous authors to its bookshops and reading rooms. We’ll delve into the city’s history of literacy, examining how Porto became a hub for writers and artists, and how its literary heritage continues to shape the city today. Whether you’re a seasoned reader or simply interested in the history of literacy, this blog post will provide you with a comprehensive overview of Porto’s literary connections and its rich literary culture.
Porto has a rich literary heritage, with a long history of attracting writers and artists to the city. Here are some of the most notable literary connections of Porto:
- Fernando Pessoa – Perhaps the most famous Portuguese writer of all time, Fernando Pessoa spent much of his life in Porto. He is best known for his poetry and is often associated with the literary movement of modernism. Pessoa’s former home in Porto, known as the Casa Fernando Pessoa, has been preserved as a museum.
- J.K. Rowling – Although J.K. Rowling is not a native of Porto, she did spend time living in the city in the early 1990s while she was teaching English there. It is said that the city’s landscape and architecture inspired some of the settings and themes in her Harry Potter series.
- Miguel Torga – Miguel Torga was a Portuguese writer who lived in Porto for many years. He is known for his poetry, short stories, and novels, many of which are set in the rural regions of Portugal. Torga’s former home in Porto is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.
- Eça de Queirós – Eça de Queirós was a 19th-century writer who is considered one of the greatest Portuguese authors of all time. Although he was born in Póvoa de Varzim, he spent much of his life in Porto and set many of his novels in the city. His most famous work, “The Maias,” is set in Porto and is considered a classic of Portuguese literature.
- Almeida Garrett – Almeida Garrett was a writer, playwright, and politician who is considered one of the founders of modern Portuguese literature. He was born in Porto and spent much of his life there. Garrett’s former home in Porto, known as the Casa-Museu de Almeida Garrett, has been preserved as a museum.
More about Fernando Pessoa…
Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese writer who is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. Born in Lisbon in 1888, Pessoa spent much of his life in Porto, where he attended high school and later worked as a freelance writer and translator.
Pessoa is known for his innovative and experimental approach to poetry, as well as for his use of multiple literary personas, or “heteronyms,” which he used to create distinct authorial voices in his work. Some of his most famous heteronyms include Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Álvaro de Campos.
Pessoa’s most famous work is probably the collection of poems titled “Mensagem,” which was published in 1934. This collection is a meditation on Portuguese history and identity, and is considered a classic of Portuguese literature.
In addition to his poetry, Pessoa also wrote essays, literary criticism, and works of fiction, including a novel titled “The Book of Disquiet,” which was not published until after his death.
Pessoa was a prolific writer, and many of his manuscripts and unpublished works have been discovered and published posthumously. His literary legacy continues to inspire writers and readers around the world, and he is considered one of the most important cultural figures in Portugal’s history.
More about J. K. Rowling…
J.K. Rowling is a British author and philanthropist, best known for creating the Harry Potter series of books. She was born Joanne Rowling on July 31, 1965, in Yate, England. Rowling’s parents were both from working-class families, and she grew up in relative poverty.
Rowling attended the University of Exeter, where she studied French and Classics. After graduation, she worked in various jobs, including as a researcher and a bilingual secretary, while also writing stories in her spare time.
In 1995, Rowling completed the manuscript for the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” The book was published in 1997 and quickly became a sensation, spawning a series of sequels and launching Rowling to international fame.
Over the course of her career, Rowling has received numerous awards and honors for her writing, including the Order of the British Empire and the Legion of Honor. She has also been recognized for her philanthropic work, particularly in the areas of literacy and multiple sclerosis research.
In addition to the Harry Potter series, Rowling has written several other books, including “The Casual Vacancy” and the Cormoran Strike series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Rowling is also known for her activism and outspokenness on social and political issues, including LGBT rights, mental health, and poverty. Despite some controversy over her views, she remains one of the most beloved and successful authors of all time, with her books having sold over 500 million copies worldwide.
More about Miguel Torga…
Miguel Torga, whose real name was Adolfo Correia Rocha, was a Portuguese writer and poet who was born on August 12, 1907, in São Martinho de Anta, a small village in the northern region of Trás-os-Montes. He is considered one of the most important figures of 20th-century Portuguese literature and is known for his poetry, short stories, and novels.
Torga grew up in a poor family and had to work as a shepherd during his childhood. He later attended high school in Braga and went on to study medicine at the University of Coimbra, where he became involved in literary circles and began to publish his first works.
Torga’s writing is known for its raw, intense, and often starkly realistic portrayal of rural life in Portugal. Many of his stories are set in the region of Trás-os-Montes, where he grew up, and focus on the struggles of ordinary people trying to make a living in a harsh and unforgiving environment.
Some of Torga’s most famous works include the collections of short stories “Bichos” (1940) and “Contos da Montanha” (1941), as well as the novel “Os Irmãos” (1938). He also wrote several volumes of poetry, including “Rampa” (1943) and “Cântico do Homem” (1950).
Torga was a prolific writer and continued to publish new works throughout his life. He died on January 17, 1995, in Coimbra, at the age of 87. Today, he is remembered as one of the most important writers of modern Portuguese literature, and his works continue to be read and studied by readers and scholars alike.
In addition to these famous writers, Porto is also home to a number of literary cafes, bookstores, and festivals. The city’s Livraria Lello bookstore, for example, is famous for its ornate interior and was a favorite spot of J.K. Rowling when she lived in Porto. The city also hosts an annual literary festival, known as the Porto Book Fair, which attracts writers and readers from around the world.
More about Eça de Queirós…
Eça de Queirós was a 19th-century Portuguese writer who is considered one of the greatest authors in Portuguese literature. He was born in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal, in 1845 and spent much of his life in Lisbon and Porto. Queirós is known for his realist style of writing and his satirical social commentary, which often criticized the upper classes of Portuguese society.
Queirós studied law at the University of Coimbra before embarking on a career in civil service. However, he soon abandoned this career to become a journalist and writer. His first novel, “The Crime of Father Amaro,” was published in 1875 and caused a scandal due to its frank portrayal of the Catholic Church and its clergy.
Queirós went on to write a number of other novels, many of which are set in the rural regions of Portugal. His most famous work, “The Maias,” is considered a classic of Portuguese literature and is set in the city of Lisbon. The novel explores themes of decadence, corruption, and moral decay in the upper classes of Portuguese society.
Queirós was a keen observer of Portuguese society and culture, and his writing often reflected his views on politics, religion, and the changing social landscape of his time. His works are known for their vivid descriptions of people and places, and for their use of irony and satire to comment on the issues of the day.
Today, Queirós is widely regarded as one of the most important writers in Portuguese literature, and his works continue to be studied and celebrated in Portugal and beyond. His former home in Porto, the Palácio de Cristal, has been converted into a museum dedicated to his life and work.
More about Almeida Garrett…
João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, better known as Almeida Garrett, was a Portuguese writer and politician born on February 4, 1799, in Porto, Portugal, and died on December 9, 1854, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Garrett’s works are considered essential to the Romantic Movement in Portugal, as he was one of the leading figures of the literary revolution that occurred in the country in the early 19th century. He was also a key figure in the Portuguese Liberal Revolution of 1820, which sought to overthrow the absolutist monarchy and establish a constitutional monarchy in Portugal.
Garrett’s literary career began with the publication of his poem “Camões,” which celebrated the work of the great Portuguese poet Luís de Camões. He went on to write a number of other poems, including “Morceaux de poésie,” “Adozinda,” and “João José, ou o dom de adivinhar.”
In addition to his poetry, Garrett wrote several plays, including “Frei Luís de Sousa,” which is considered one of the greatest works of Portuguese literature. The play tells the story of a nobleman who is wrongly accused of treason and sentenced to death, but who is eventually exonerated through the intervention of his wife.
Garrett was also a novelist, and his most famous novel is “Viagens na minha terra,” which is a combination of travelogue and fictional narrative. The book describes a journey through Portugal by the narrator, who encounters various characters and experiences various adventures along the way.
Garrett was also involved in politics, and he served as the Minister of the Interior in the Portuguese government in the 1830s. He was a staunch defender of liberal ideas, and he fought against the conservative forces that sought to maintain the old order in Portugal.
In recognition of his contributions to Portuguese literature and culture, Garrett’s remains were interred at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, alongside those of other great Portuguese figures, such as Luís de Camões and Vasco da Gama. Additionally, several streets and buildings in Portugal are named after him, including the Almeida Garrett Library in Porto.
Exploring Porto’s History
The tour is designed for all ages, it’s an interactive and engaging way to discover the history, culture, and hidden gems of Porto. You’ll learn fascinating facts about the city, solve riddles, and most importantly, have lots of fun! This tour is perfect for families, friends, and solo travelers who want to explore the city in a unique and exciting way.
As you follow the tour, you’ll explore the historic places of Porto. You’ll discover some of the neighborhood’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Torre dos Clérigos, Estação de São Bento and Livraria Lello!
But the tour is not only about sightseeing, as you wander through the streets, you’ll be solving riddles and answering questions that will lead you to discover hidden gems.
The tour is self-guided, so you can start and finish it at your own pace, you can also take as many breaks as you like. The tour is designed to be completed in around 2 hours, but you can take as long as you like to finish it.
The scavenger hunt is not only fun and unique but also affordable, making it accessible to everyone. Learn more here.
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