Garrett, João Baptista de Almeida

(1799-1854)
   One of Portugal's greatest 19th-century writers, Garrett was a diplomat, civil servant, journalist, and intellectual. In exile abroad due to his adherence to the cause of constitutional liberal monarchy, during the period 1823-36 especially, Garrett studied and was influenced by his readings of Shakespeare and romantic writers such as Lord Byron and Walter Scott. He studied law at the University of Coimbra. Following the triumph of King Pedro IV's cause in the War of the Brothers, Garrett served in the new government as a diplomat in Belgium. In a later second residence abroad, he was influenced by his study of German literature.
   It was in the field of letters that Garrett made his greatest mark, and he was active in all aspects of literary endeavor: poetry, essays, theater, journalism, and the novel. He was the founder of Portugal's national theater, Teatro Nacional de D. Maria II, and several of his plays become standard in Portuguese theater repertory, including his adaptations of plays by Gil Vicente. Government censorship, however, prevented the staging of several of his plays. His classic play Frei Luís de Sousa premiered in 1843, in a private theater.
   Like so many other romantic writers of his era in Europe, Garrett collected, edited, and published Portuguese folk stories, poems, and songs from a rich rural heritage and preserved them for later generations. Many were collected in his Romanceiro e Cancioneiro, in three volumes. Uncomfortable in the maelstrom of unstable politics and already named a peer of the realm, Garrett accepted the post of minister of foreign affairs in 1852. Quickly disillusioned, he retired in 1853 to private life and to writing another novel, left unfinished at his death in the following year.
   See also Literature.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Almeida Garrett — (João Baptista da Silva Leitão de) (1799 1854) poète (Camões, 1825) et dramaturge romantique portugais: Un auto de Gil Vicente (1838) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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