New Portuguese Letters to the World – International Reception

nplPrivileging feminist approaches, this book maps the reception of New Portuguese Letters in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, the UK, Ireland, the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Scandinavia. Written by Maria Teresa Horta, Maria Isabel Barreno and Maria Velho da Costa, and published in 1972, New Portuguese Letters addressed censored issues, such as the colonial war, immigration, the Catholic Church, violence, and the legal and social status of women, becoming a symbol of resistance against the Fascist Portuguese regime. The scandal that surrounded the banning of New Portuguese Letters, under the accusation of ‘pornographic content’, and the trial of the three authors for ‘outraging public morals’, brought the case to the attention of the international community. Immediately translated in several countries, the book found instant support from feminist movements and well-known writers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, Adrienne Rich or Anne Sexton, being adopted as ‘the first international feminist cause’.

Given its broad meaning in political and aesthetic terms, New Portuguese Letters was – and remains – a fundamental work in contemporary literature and culture, offering an invaluable contribution to the history of women and raising crucial issues relevant for political agendas today, for example, equality, justice and freedom.

Edited by Ana Luísa Amaral, Ana Paula Ferreira e Marinela Freitas.