domingo, 13 de agosto de 2006

A New Day's Dawning: Frederico Lourenço

«Il ne faut pas mettre du vinaigre dans ses écrits; il faut y mettre du sel.»


(One shouldn't put vinegar into his writings; one should add salt to them.
Não convém avinagrar o que se escreve; deve‑se‑lhe, outrossim, pôr sal.)

I can confidently say, no exaggeration to be feared, that the presence of this man on the Portuguese literature's stage can easily be compared with an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. Let me just say he's the only Portuguese gay writer ever.

There are other gays writing, no doubt about that, but none has come out of the closet/of his study yet, and definitely not in such grandeur as Frederico Lourenço has. No pseudonyms needed, no hidings along the writing path. With some wit, I can say «what you see/read is what you get».

I believe we Portuguese have to be thankful to an incident in his life: while his father was working on his doctoral thesis, Frederico spent part of his childhood – in Oxford. I'm sure this must account for some steps he's taken in his life course. And what steps those have been…

He's doubtlessly a forerunner as far as best quality Portuguese gay literature is concerned. His writing is in large measure autobiographical, or fictional in that sense, a most common feature in Western literature nowadays. Instead of focusing on trivia (so‑called light literature) or on sexual adventures (of erotic or pornographic kind), Frederico Lourenço has been conveying through his novels an image of «normalness» of – and a message to – a part of the Portuguese gay community ever since the 80's, which so many of us can easily identify with, and are most willing to do so.

He was born in Lisbon in 1963. In the 80's Frederico Lourenço changed the course of his life by abandoning a possible career as a pianist and embracing the studying of Classical Philology – Latin and Greek languages and literatures. In the beginning of the 90's he is an assistant teacher in the Classical Department of Lisbon University, and some years later, after concluding his doctoral thesis on Euripides's lyrical chants, he becomes a professor.

As a translator he has already done much more than many all their lives long: he's marvellously put into Portuguese the Homeric poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, published an anthology of Greek poetry, and a version for children of the Homeric poems.

To finish in beauty this «presentation» and close it with a «golden key», I make hereby public to the English speaking world that Frederico Lourenço was awarded for the first time ever the newly created «Europa - David Mourão‑Ferreira Prize» by the University of Bari, Italy, in the category of «promise», only last June. This will enable his work's translation into Italian and three other languages of the European Union (French, English and German, I presume).

Here is the list of his published novels:

Pode Um Imenso Desejo (Can an immense wish)
O Curso das Estrelas (The course of the stars)
À Beira do Mundo (On the edge of the world)
Amar não Acaba (Loving doesn't end)
A Formosa Pintura do Mundo (The fair painting of the world)
A Máquina do Arcanjo (The archangel's machine)

(These English titles are to be taken only as a «decoding» of the original ones.)

I am most proud of this post of mine today, perhaps the only one that has really made me truly happy up till now.
How I wish many more like Frederico Lourenço were among us…

13 comentários:

Joel disse...

Keep me posted on those translations!?


Gumby disse...

don't worry, you will soon have many more like him! there always needs to be one to give the rest the courage to follow.

RIC disse...

Alright, Joel, you'll be «briefed» as soon as I get the information.

Yes, Gumby, I do want to believe that's going to be the path to follow. I do hope so!

Joel disse...

So what, till then you're keeping me naked?!


RIC disse...

Joel, if my English weren't so good, I guess I'd be pissed off now, but instead I'm laughing too... Put some boxers on, will you? (lol) You may have to wait for a long while.

Joel disse...

You know I was joking right?!

I'm not laughing at you, just doing a play on words!?

Ricardo disse...

Hum... bem, realmente é difícil a gente se assumir.. ainda mais uma figura pública.

Sabe, eu tenho o sonho de ser um escritor de temáticas gays.. mas eu não sei se teria coragem de me expor...


RIC disse...

Joel, I was just kidding, man! That's why I wrote it between «»! And I did laugh too!!! :-)

Ricardo, que bom saber de ti outra vez! Assustaste-me com aquela de encerrares o teu blog, logo depois de eu ter lido aquele texto fabuloso! Acho que tens OBRIGAÇÃO de continuar a escrever! Não percas esse objectivo nunca! E eu vou continuar atento!
Quanto ao Frederico, ele é mesmo assim, mas teve de lutar para se impor, sobretudo no meio universitário português, que em certos aspectos ainda está na Pré-história. Sei porque passei por lá... e não gostei. Ele é, de facto, brilhante!
Um abração!!!

Minge disse...

You should be proud of all your posts. I would be.

Do you fancy that guy?

RIC disse...

In that matter, dear Minge, I believe you should be the last one to have a word: your blog is superb, because you are who you are, and YOU have to be proud of it completely. Okay?
As for Frederico, I'm not sure I understood your question. If you mean the writer, I adore him; if you mean the man, I cannot tell. I've never met him, I guess. And photos of that kind aren't always fair. He looks nice though, I'd say... May I ask why?...

Minge disse...

I wondered if you fancied the guy in the photograph because I thought he was quite hot.

RIC disse...

The thing is, Minge, somehow in my strange head I've always managed to separate the physical from the spiritual/intellectual; sometimes that's good, sometimes it sucks. I just can't help it though.
I guess I could say I fell in love with the writer some years ago, and then fell out of it some time later. Today? I admire him indeed, especially for his courage; there's nothing physical - or erotic - about it anymore.
(Thank YOU for asking!)

Minge disse...

Thanks for answering!