Research Project: New Portuguese Letters 40 years later

Project leader
Ana Luísa Amaral, Institute for Comparative Literature Margarida Losa University of Porto
Project Members
Chatarina Edfeldt
Catherine Dumas, Univ. Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle
Anna M. Klobucka, Department of Portuguese University of Massachusetts
Ana Gabriela Macedo, Departamento de Estudos Ingleses e Norte Americanos University of Minho
Ana Margarida Martins, University of Cambridge Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Hilary Owen, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures University of Manchester
Project Period
Project Status
Published in Portugal, in 1972, New Portuguese Letters [Novas Cartas Portuguesas], by Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta and Maria Velho da Costa, marked a turning point in both Portuguese literature and the political and social context of the dictatorial ‘New State’ [Estado Novo]. After the immediate ban on the book and the police action against the three authors “The Three Marias”, as they became known at the time, the book was immediately translated across Europe and in the USA, amidst an impressive international wave of support.

Since then, New Portuguese Letters has been translated into more than 10 languages and is currently taught in several universities in Europe and the American continent, being the subject of research work, dissertations and artistic homage. However, and despite its significant impact in the 70’s, its full importance has yet to be acknowledged, since the book has frequently been misread and taken for either an outdated historical vision of society, or an outdated feminist manifesto. And yet, the questions raised by New Portuguese Letters, like discrimination, feminization of poverty, freedom of speech (the very issues that underlie the idea of democracy) are still unanswered in contemporary society.

This international research project “New Portuguese Letters 40 Years Later” aims at creating a transcultural and an international network which may account for the research developed in Portugal and in several Western countries in the last 40 years around the book written by the Three Marias. To accomplish this goal, an international team of 25 researchers will map the reception of New Portuguese Letters in the following countries or geographical areas: Portugal, the African Portuguese-speaking countries, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Brazil, and the United States of America. For more information, go to the Project’s website:
De tre Mariornas bok, Portugisisk litteratur, , New Portuguese Letters, Feminist movements, Portuguese Literature
Research Profile
Intercultural Studies
FCT Fundacão para Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal