Almeida Garretts Viagens na minha terra: Zum Verhältnis von autobiographischem Subjekt und Geschichtserfahrung im Zeitalter der Revolution

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In 1843 Almeida Garrett broke off his prized project of writing the history of the Portuguese revolution; at the same time he interrupted his serial novel Viagens na minha terra for two years. This essay emphasizes that this is more than coincidence. The impossibility to fully understand contemporary history pushed Garrett to implement his insights in the fiction. The novel that was meant to be a satirical diagnosis of the country written by a liberal opponent of the regime of Costa Cabral became a haunting reflection upon the confusing mixture of old and new, i.e. upon the predominance of the ruined antigo regime the revolution paradoxically brought about. The second part of the essay lays bare the impact the historical implementation has on the narrating self. The self that starts the journey in the wave of Laurence Sterne, exhibiting a joyful distance, does not only grow concerned about Portuguese reality, about the 'undead life' it happens upon along the way but, moreover, it becomes aware of losing its inner distance and, consequently, its authority over the text. The historical new-orientation of the novel changes the journey into an exploration of the mark that post-revolutionary history left on the individual and, in particular, on autobiographical writing. Viagens, therefore, can be read as a text about the »disempowerment« of the self by the new way of experiencing history as described by Reinhart Koselleck.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2009

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  • Romanische Forschungen is one of the oldest German academic journals dedicated to the study of the Romance languages, their literatures, and cultures from all periods. Its editors and editorial board emphasize the interrelatedness of linguistics and literary studies and encourage the submission of articles and reviews with a focus on the Romance world as a whole. Romanische Forschungen publishes in all the major Romance languages, German and English.

    Die Romanischen Forschungen sind eine der ältesten deutschen Fachzeitschriften. Ihr Gegenstand sind die romanischen Sprachen, Literaturen und Kulturen von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Herausgeber und Beirat pflegen die Verbindung von Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft und bevorzugen Beiträge und Rezensionen mit einer gesamtromanischen Fragestellung. Die Publikationssprachen sind außer allen romanischen Sprachen das Deutsche und Englische.
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