Major characters in Portugal
The centenary of the birth of several characters of Portuguese history and culture will be celebrated in 2011. It is a basic civic duty to recall the work that made them notable. And it is a national imperative to pursue the virtues of those who “freed themselves from the law of death through valorous work”. Thus it is the intent of this philatelic issue to evoke renowned ancestors who have distinguished themselves by dignifying and uplifting the History and Heritage of our Country. Alves Redol (1911-1969) was born in Vila Franca de Xira 100 years ago; he debuted with the novel Gaibéus (The Rice Field Workers), 1940, which marked the beginning of neorealism in Portugal, a literary movement characterized by an assumed social-political intervention and which is also present in his other 16 novels. Among these, Barranco de Cegos (The Gully of the Blind), 1962, which is considered his masterpiece, deserves highlighting; this novel was the beginning of his existential phase, during which he gave a more in-depth depiction of his characters and of their psychological evolution. His work also includes tales, short stories, plays, ethnographical studies and child-youth literature. Manuel da Fonseca (1911-1993) was also born 100 years ago in Santiago do Cacém; also linked to the neorealist aesthetic, his literary debut occurred in 1940 as well, with the novel Rosa dos Ventos (Rose of the Winds), regarded by Eduardo Lourenço, renowned Portuguese critic, philosopher and writer, as “one of the most creative collections of neorealist poems”. A remarkable storyteller Aldeia Nova (New Village), 1942, O Fogo e as Cinzas (The Fire and the Ashes), 1951, O Anjo no Trapézio (An Angel on the Trapeze), 1968 and Tempo de Solidão (Time of Solitude), 1973, his works convey the atmosphere of the land and of the people of the Alentejo region in the 30’s and 40’s, especially in his novels Cerromaior (The Biggest Hill), 1943, adapted to the cinema by Luís Filipe Rocha in 1980, and Seara de Vento (Harvest of Wind), 1958. Trindade Coelho (1861-1908) was born in Mogadouro 150 years ago and is chiefly known as the author of a book of stories Os Meus Amores (My Loves), 1891, in which he portrays the rural traditionalistic atmosphere and the popular language of his homeland, and of In Illo Tempore, 1902, a memory book of his times of bohemia at the University of Coimbra where he studied and graduated in Law, at his own expense after having failed in the first year. He was an attorney and later deputy attorney-general – which enabled him to travel to different parts of the country where he founded newspapers. He wrote books on jurisprudence and was also engaged in pedagogy, ethnography and politics. Antónia Ferreira (1811-1896), affectionately known as “Ferreirinha from Régua”, was born into a wealthy family traditionally connected to the Port Wine trade, an activity which she developed with great perseverance. She fought with great resolve against the lack of support and against the wine pest (phylloxera), searching for the most advanced ways to combat the disease. In her duties as manager of the most important agricultural holding of the Douro region she was also concerned with social aspects and created several social welfare institutions. The economic development of the Douro region is, to a large extent, owed to her entrepreneurial spirit. Eugénio dos Santos (1711-1760), architect and military engineer, was born a century earlier in Aljubarrota; he was especially known as the person responsible for the construction of the Baixa Pombalina (Pombaline Downtown) following the great earthquake of 1755 that razed Lisbon to the ground. As part of the team led by Manuel da Maia, chief engineer of the Crown, to him is owed the ample, rectangular, well-designed and modern planning of the lower part of the capital, transformed from a medieval burg into a city worthy of the “century of the lights”, with the required magnificence that is especially evident in the project created for the Praça do Comércio (Comércio Sq.).
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 14.03.2011
Designer: Folk Design / Sofia Martins
Printer: Joh. Enschede
Process: Offset lithography
Colours: 4-colour offset
Values: EUR 2.84, EUR 4.06