luis de camões

Considered to be the poet of the Portuguese nationality, so eloquently expressed through the modern epic poem Os Lusíadas, Luís Vaz de Camões clearly had a life that was full of trials and tribulations, even though very little is actually known about it. He studied in Coimbra, was at Ceuta and fought in India, losing an eye in the meantime, and, after his return to Lisbon, began to frequent the Royal Palace, although he lived in great difficulties, from a very meagre pension granted by the king, and did not see his great merits recognised during his lifetime.

Born in 1525, he died in 1580, after which his reputation as a great poet was firmly established and permanently continued to increase, especially after the loss of national independence, a feeling that had been intensified by his epic poem.

He also worked within the theatre, but he was noted more than anything else for his lyrical poetry (Rimas), using a great variety of different genres: sonnets, songs, eclogues, roundels, etc.

He was the great poet of Portuguese mannerism, following on in a direct line from the classical tradition in the Renaissance manner, although he was sensitive to the possibility of gaining knowledge through experience that his epoch and travels provided him with.

His work was enriched by his sensitivity to both feelings and knowledge, being marked by an imitation of the authors of classical antiquity. Yet, it was also permeable to the contemporary influences of an existence that was undergoing a process of mutation. This is why his work revealed an enormous complexity, in which what stands out most is the acute sensitivity with which he feels tensions and how these in turn lend a simultaneously literary and experiential sharpness to his lyricism.


* from Instituto Camões

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