Literary Movements: From Troubadourism to Postmodernism

Literary movements (or literary schools) represent a group of writers and works from a certain period of history. They bring together literary productions with similar characteristics and styles.

1. Troubadourism (12th to 15th centuries)

  • Time course: 1189 to 1434
  • literary production: songs of love, friend, mockery and cursing.
  • Main features: the union of poetry and music; courtly love; loving suffering.
  • Top writers: Paio Soares da Taveirós, Garcia de Resende, João Ruiz de Castelo Branco, Nuno Pereira, Fernão da Silveira, Conde Vimioso, Aires Teles, Diogo Brandão.

First literary movement that emerged in the Middle Ages, in France. In Portugal, the starting point was the Cantiga da Ribeirinha (or Cantiga de Guarvaia), produced by the troubadour Paio Soares da Taveirós.

The literary production of this movement was gathered in the Songbooks and it was marked by troubadour songs, divided into: songs of love, friend, mockery and cursing.

They receive this name because, at the time, poetry was meant to be sung, that is, it was accompanied by musical instruments.

2. Humanism (15th and 16th centuries)

  • Time course: 1418 to 1527
  • literary production: popular theater, palace poetry and historical chronicle.
  • Main features: anthropocentrism; rationality; scientism.
  • Top writers: Fernão Lopes, Gil Vicente, Francesco Petrarca, Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Erasmo of Rotterdam, Thomas More, Michel de Montaigne.

Humanism was a literary, philosophical and artistic transition between troubadourism and classicism and emerged in the passage from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age.

At that moment, theocentrism, a central feature of the Middle Ages (where God is at the center of everything), begins to give way to anthropocentrism (whose man is at the center of the world).

Thus, humanism, as its name indicates, sought to value man and allowed a better understanding of the world and the human being.

3. Classicism (16th century)

  • Time course: 1537 to 1580
  • literary production: sonnets and epics.
  • Main features: imitation of classic models; Renaissance humanism; objectivity.
  • Top writers: Francisco Sá de Miranda, Bernardim Ribeiro, António Ferreira, Luís de Camões, Miguel de Cervantes.

A literary movement that sought the purity, beauty, perfection, rigor and balance of the classics, Classicism emerged in the context of the Renaissance. For this reason, the literary production of this period was also known as Renaissance literature.

In Portugal, the beginning of Classicism was marked by the return of the poet Francisco Sá de Miranda, who was in Italy. So, inspired by Italian humanism, he brought a new form of poetry called the “sweet stil nuevo” (Sweet new style), based on the fixed form of the sonnet.

It is worth noting that classicist writers sought aesthetic perfection combined with this more classical model. Therefore, Greco-Roman mythology is one of the themes explored.

4. 16th century (16th century)

  • Time course: 1500 to 1600
  • literary production: travel chronicles, information literature, Jesuit literature (catechesis).
  • Main features: material and spiritual achievement; documentary and religious character; earth exaltation
  • Top writers: Pero Vaz de Caminha, José de Anchieta, Manuel da Nóbrega, Pero de Magalhães Gândavo.

The first literary movement in Brazil, the 16th century appears at the beginning of the 15th century, being marked by the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil. The texts of the period arise from the need of travelers to express the impressions of lands found overseas.

Thus, travel chronicles and information literature are productions that stand out at this moment. Descriptive texts, full of adjectives and impressions of their authors are the main characteristics of this literary production. One of the biggest highlights is the Letter from Pero Vaz de Caminha, written on May 1, 1500 in Brazil.

5. Baroque (16th, 17th and 18th centuries)

  • Time course: 1601 to 1767 (in Brazil) / 1580 to 1756 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: epic, lyrical, satirical, erotic, religious poems; sermons.
  • Main features: cultism; conceptualism; refinement of language.
  • Top writers: Bento Teixeira, Gregório de Matos, Manuel Botelho de Oliveira, Friar Vicente de Salvador, Friar Manuel da Santa Maria de Itaparica, Priest Antônio Vieira, Father Manuel Bernardes, Francisco Manuel de Melo, Francisco Rodrigues Lobo, Soror Mariana Alcoforado, Antônio José da Silva.

A literary movement that represents the historical duality of the period, Baroque was also known as the 16th century.

In Portugal, this movement began with the death of Camões, in 1580. In Brazil, Baroque began a little later, in 1601, with the publication of the work Prosopopoeia, by Bento Teixeira.

This style was based on valuing details, contrasts, evidenced by a literature that valued the play on words and ideas.

6. Arcadianism (18th and 19th centuries)

  • Time course: 1768 to 1835 (in Brazil) / 1756 to 1835 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: sonnets
  • Main features: classic values; rationalism; bucolic
  • Top writers: Cláudio Manuel da Costa, José de Santa Rita Durão, José Basílio da Gama, Tomás Antônio Gonzaga, Inácio José de Alvarenga Peixoto, Silva Alvarenga, Bocage, António Dinis da Cruz e Silva, Correia Garção, Marquesa de Alorna, Francisco José Freire, Domingos dos Reis Quita, Nicolau Tolentino de Almeida, Filinto Elisio.

Arcadism, also called 18th century or Neoclassicism, was a literary movement in search of simplicity. Influenced by luminist ideals, it appears in the 18th century during the industrial revolution that was emerging in England.

In Brazil, Arcadismo began in 1768 with the publication of Poetic Works, by Cláudio Manuel da Costa and the foundation of Arcadia Ultramarina, in Vila Rica. In Portugal, it began in 1756 with the foundation of Arcadia Lusitânia in Lisbon.

Arcadian writers moved away from the previous Baroque model, where exaggeration and excess were notorious, to enjoy a country life, far from the bustle of cities.

7. Romanticism (19th century)

  • Time course: 1836 to 1880 (in Brazil) / 1836 to 1864 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: romantic poems, Indianist, regionalist, historical and urban novels.
  • Main features: idealism; self-centeredness; nationalism.
  • Top writers: Gonçalves de Magalhães, Gonçalves Dias, Teixeira and Souza, Araújo Porto-Alegre, José de Alencar, Álvares de Azevedo, Casimiro de Abreu, Fagundes Varela, Junqueira Freire, Castro Alves, Tobias Barreto, Sousândrade, Visconde de Taunay, Almeida Garret, Alexandre Herculano, Antônio Feliciano de Castilho, Oliveira Marreca, Camilo Castelo Branco, Júlio Diniz.

Romanticism was a moment of intense literary production both in Brazil and in Portugal. This period was divided into three generations that, in Brazil, became known as: nationalist-indian generation, ultra-romantic generation and condoler generation.

In the first phase, the Indian was elected as a national hero and literary production was focused on the exaltation of the land. In the second, the main characteristics were pessimism and egocentrism, whose themes were centered on death, escape from reality, addictions and melancholy.

In the third phase, freedom and justice were the main themes, with abolitionism as the mark of the literary production of the moment.

8. Realism (19th century)

  • Time course: 1881 to 1893 (in Brazil) / 1865 to 1890 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: novels, short stories and poetry.
  • Main features: trustworthy portrait of reality; scientism; social complaint.
  • Top writers: Machado de Assis, Antero de Quental, Guerra Junqueiro, Cesário Verde, Eça de Queiroz.

The realist movement begins in France with the publication of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, in 1857. This new vision of reality spread across Europe quickly arriving in Brazil decades later.

In Portugal, realism began with the Question Coimbrã, which took place in 1865. On one side were the romantic writers and on the other, the academics of the University of Coimbra who were fighting for a change in the literary scene.

In Brazil, realism emerged in 1881 with the publication of The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas, by Machado de Assis. The literary production of this movement was concerned with capturing the real and, therefore, they were objective and full of descriptions.

9. Naturalism (19th century)

  • Time course: 1881 (in Brazil) / 1875 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: Affairs
  • Main features: radicalization of realism; mechanistic view of man; scientism.
  • Top writers: Aluísio Azevedo, Raul Pompeia, Adolfo Caminha, Inglês de Sousa, Eça de Queiroz, Francisco Teixeira de Queirós, Júlio Lourenço Pinto, Abel Botelho.

The naturalist movement emerged in 1880, in France, with the publication of the work The Experimental Novel, by Émile Zola. In Brazil, naturalism had as its starting point the publication of the novel the mulatto (1881), by Aluísio de Azevedo. In Portugal, the publication of the work of The Crime of Father Amaro (1875) by Eça de Queiroz inaugurated the movement in the country.

Naturalism is closely related to realism, since the description and perception of reality are also striking features. However, it is defined as a movement to radicalize realism, being more exaggerated and with the presence of pathological characters.

In this way, naturalistic literary production encompasses novels whose characters are unbalanced, morbid and unhealthy.

10. Parnassianism (19th century)

  • Time course: 1882 to 1893 (in Brazil)
  • literary production: poetry, especially sonnets
  • Main features: art for art's sake; valorization of classical culture; aesthetic rigor.
  • Top writers: Teófilo Dias, Olavo Bilac, Alberto de Oliveira, Raimundo Correia, Vicente de Carvalho, Francisca Júlia, João Penha, Gonçalves Crespo, António Feijó, Cesário Verde.

The Parnassian movement began in 1866, in France, with the publication of the anthologies Contemporary Parnase. In Brazil, it opened in 1882 with the publication of the work Fanfares, by Teófilo Dias. The greatest Brazilian Parnassian poets - Olavo Bilac, Alberto de Oliveira and Raimundo Correia - formed the Parnassian triad.

It is worth remembering that “art for art's sake” is the great motto of the Parnassian movement, whose poets had a greater aesthetic concern to the detriment of content. Thus, objectively and inspired by themes of reality, Parnassian writers demonstrated the cult of form in their productions.

11. Symbolism (19th and 20th centuries)

  • Time course: 1893 to 1901 (in Brazil) / 1890 to 1915 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: poetry
  • Main features: subjectivism; mysticism; valorization of human spirituality.
  • Top writers: Cruz e Souza, Alphonsus de Guimarães, Eugênio de Castro, Camilo Pessanha, Antônio Nobre.

Literary symbolism begins in 1857, in France, with the publication of the work the flowers of evil, by Charles Baudelaire. In Brazil, Cruz e Souza inaugurates the movement in 1893 with his works Missal (prose) and Buckles (poetry).

In Portugal, the symbolism began in 1890 with the book of poems oarists, by Eugenio de Castro.

Subjectivism, egocentrism and pessimism permeate the production of this moment, whose writers make use of of figures of speech such as synesthesia and alliteration, providing a strong musicality to their poetry.

12. Pre-modernism (20th century)

  • Time course: 1900 to 1922 (in Brazil)
  • literary production: novels and poetry
  • Main features: nationalism; regionalism; aesthetic syncretism.
  • Top writers: Euclides da Cunha, Graça Aranha, Monteiro Lobato, Lima Barreto, Augusto do Anjos.

Pre-modernism was a transitional movement characterized by intense literary production. During this period, the works had distinct characteristics - neo-realist, neo-Parnassian and neo-symbolist - which conferred a notorious aesthetic syncretism.

Although there were several styles, the concern with the national reality was the most striking feature of the works produced. In this way, pre-modernist writers sought to denounce society, while trying to demystify some stereotypes, such as that of the sertanejo.

13. Modernism (20th century)

  • Time course: 1922 to 1960 (in Brazil) / 1915 to 1960 (in Portugal)
  • literary production: novels (urban, regionalist, intimate prose) and poetry
  • Main features: break with the past; dynamic, critical and questioning spirit; artistic freedom and originality.
  • Top writers: Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Rachel de Queiroz, Jorge Amado, Érico Veríssimo, Graciliano Ramos, Vinícius de Moraes, Cecília Meireles, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Clarice Lispector, Guimarães Rosa, Murilo Mendes, Mario Quintana, Jorge de Lima, Ariano Suassuna, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá Carneiro, Almada Negreiros, Branquinho da Fonseca, João Gaspar Simões, José Régio, Alves Redol, Ferreira de Castro, Soeiro Pereira Gomes.

With an intense literary production, the modernist movement in Brazil began with the Week of Modern Art in 1922 and, in Portugal, it began in 1915 with the publication of Orpheu Magazine.

Inspired by the artistic avant-gardes that were emerging in Europe, the writers of that period bet on a new vision that would break with the structures of the past.

In Brazil, the movement was divided into three phases: Phase heroica (1922 to 1930); Consolidation phase (1930 to 1945); Generation of 45 (1945 to 1980).

In Portugal, the movement also branched into three periods: Orphismo or Geração de Orpheu (1915 to 1927); Presence or Presence Generation (1927 to 1940); Neorealism (1940 to 1947).

14. Postmodernism (20th and 21st centuries)

  • Time course: 1980 to the present day
  • literary production: prose and poetry
  • Main features: absence of values; plurality of styles; individualism
  • Top writers: Antônio Callado, Adélia Prado, Caio Fernando Abreu, Carlos Heitor Cony, Cora Coralina, Dalton Trevisan, Ferreira Gullar, Lya Luft, Millôr Fernandes, Murilo Rubião, Nélida Pinõn, Paulo Leminski, Rubem Braga, Cacase.

The postmodern movement is consolidated after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Influenced by the digital age and globalization, new ideas are emerging in the artistic field. This anti-artistic movement is closely related to the life of postmodern man and the expansion of communications.

In this way, writers from this period explored the plurality of genres, polyphony and intertextuality. The absence of values ​​and rules made the postmodern literary production to present characteristics such as: imagination, spontaneity and individualism permeated by an ambiguous and multiform reality.

About this topic, see also:

  • period styles
  • Literary Schools
  • Brazilian literature
  • Portuguese Literature
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