International Conference of Portuguese Scholars to Meet at Yale

The First International Congress of the American Portuguese Studies Association will meet at Yale, Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. The conference will focus on the life and work of Jorge de Sena (1919-1978), a distinguished Portuguese poet and literary critic, author of more than 100 books and one of the most important Portuguese writers of this century. His widow, Mecia de Sena, some of his children and many of his former doctoral students will attend, as well as representatives from the Portuguese and Brazilian governments. About 90 scholars will participate in more than 15 panels.

Jorge de Sena was born in Portugal. He published his first influential book of poetry, “Perseguicao,” in 1942. He fled to Brazil in 1959 to escape the repressive regime of Antonio Salazar. In 1965 Sena emigrated to the United States, where he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1965-70) and the University of California at Santa Barbara (1970-78). The Jorge de Sena Center for Portuguese Studies was established at UC Santa Barbara in his memory.

Sena taught a generation of American scholars, including Joaquim F. Coelho of Harvard, A. Cirurgiao at the University of Connecticut, and K. David Jackson of Yale. Other doctoral students of Sena attending the Congress are Joanna Courteau (Iowa State University) and Fred Williams (UC Santa Barbara).

Key speakers and participants at the conference will include:

–Ana Hatherly, visiting professor at Johns Hopkins, considered to be the most important experimental woman poet of Portugal and a specialist on the Baroque period;

–Eduardo Louren o, leading Portuguese literary critic and emeritus professor at the Universite de Nice, France;

–Luciana Stegagno Picchio, philologist, specialist in medieval literature, Portuguese and Brazilian literatures, and professor emerita at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. Her landmark study, “History of Brazilian Literature,” was recently published in a new edition in Brazil.

A poetry reading will be held on Saturday, March 28, at 4 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center auditorium, 53 Wall St., featuring the work of Sena and Fernando Pessoa.

“Sinais de Fogo,” a full-length film in Portuguese with English subtitles, will be shown Friday, March 27, at 3:15 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center auditorium. It is based on a novel by Sena.

In conjunction with the conference, Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High St., will exhibit items from its collection of 120 titles by Sena, including a first edition of “Perseguicao.” Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 121 Wall St., will exhibit his translation of Faulkner’s “Wild Palms” into Portuguese.

There will be a $15 registration fee for the congress, payable at the door. The opening session will be held in Connecticut Hall, 344 College St., on the Old Campus, at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. For information about locations and times for the academic panels, please call the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University at 203-432-1150.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325