J. A. Segurado e Campos
Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa
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Bilinguismo Literário e Política da Língua no “Século de Camões”
Dedalus 20 (2016), pp. 161-174. Download PDF

It is generally accepted by Portuguese scholarship that in the period between the 15th and 17th centuries there was a fashion for poets to write with similar success both in the Portuguese as well in the Spanish language. This is really true for the second half of the 15th and the whole 17th centuries, but not for the “golden age” of Portuguese literature, that is, between 1526 (Sá de Miranda’s return from Italy) and 1580 (death of Luís de Camões). Along this period only the playwright Gil Vicente is a real bilingual writer. In the work of the greatest poets of the period we can observe a struggle between the “old fashion” (the so called medida velha) and the new literary forms imported by Miranda from the Italian Renaissance models. The best poets, in total agreement with the grammarians F. de Oliveira, J. de Barros and P. M. de Gândavo, who vindicated the superiority of the Portuguese language, used almost only this one in the new style, and wrote in Spanish, in a small, even a very small percentage, of the short poems in the old fashion.