Cada terra é fechada como uma noz verde, e não se pode alcançar o seu mistério tão simplesmente. Digo isto porque toda a gente pensa que Portugal inteiro
é a mesma coisa. Que não há diferenças. Mas há, e muitas. (…)
A alma dos lugares não é superficial, é única e distante. Eu não me atrevia a chegar com um braçado de opiniões, e partir descansada sobre a impressão
que deixava ficar. É preciso ser discreto para ser recebido como irmão.
(Bessa-Luís, A alma dos lugares. In Dicionário Imperfeito, 2008, p.15)
It is not an easy task to write about Agustina, in her words the author considered herself a happy person, a temperament of pure gratitude towards life. We can almost say that it is such a simple and succinct definition of her person, but through her we enter the complex simplicity of Agustina Bessa-Luís, who knew how to majestically appreciate the beauty of small things.
She is unanimously considered one of the great writers of the 20th century, being defined as a genius of rebellious intelligence, creator of a canvas of humanity and, according to the writer Inês Pedrosa, “(…) she is a thinker of all kinds. to things to think about, of a philosopher who dedicated herself to romance for the love of people and to preserve the innocence that only stories, even the most terrible ones, know how to preserve (…)”.
José Saramago said: “if there is a writer in Portugal who participates in the nature of genius, it is Agustina Bessa-Luís.”
Maria Agustina Ferreira Teixeira Bessa, according to the author herself, was born in Vila Meã, Amarante, on October 15th, 1922.
His first years of life were spent in Amarantine lands, more specifically in Vila Meã and Travanca.
According to the writer:
“Eu nasci em Vila Meã, que em tempos foi sede de concelho e perdeu o título como os campeões o perdem, menos os santos, que são campeões do amor de Cristo e têm patrono mais fiel do que os juízes deste mundo. Vila Meã, portanto, que cai de surpresa da estrada de Amarante para os lugares airosos de Travanca e de Real. (…)” (Bessa-Luís, Onde Nasci. In Anto, 1997).
The family home in Vila Meã was bought by his father, Artur Teixeira Bessa, when he came from Brazil, however he sold it within two years, as he had an insatiable curiosity and a constant need for change.
Through Travanca, at Quinta do Paço, he built secure affective relationships, which would later become memories deciphered in several passages of his works. On this property, Agustina found her paternal grandparents and aunts, a place she often visited during her childhood in the company of her brother José Artur.
We can say that this house and this place inspired the author in the elaboration of one of her most famous novels – “A Sibila” (1954).
In “A Sibila” we are transported to the history of the Teixeira family and their property and house located in the countryside of a northern part of the country. In it we find the power and role of a group of women who manage this same heritage, as well as a complex network of relationships with interior and exterior environments. The social, cultural and family dynamics that Agustina Bessa-Luís experienced at Quinta do Paço were the raw material for several plots of her novels, as she herself stated: “The place of Paço was a more important school than that of letters. The people who lived there awakened in me the expectation of the extraordinary.” (Bessa-Luís, 2003, p. 5). So we are left with the unmistakable words of the writer from Amarante and we set out to discover the beautiful in the lands that saw her birth. Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Agustina Bessa-Luís and we invite you to see or review our program “Peculiar Places on the Path of the Artists Route”.
Bessa-Luís, A. (2008). Dicionário imperfeito. Guimarães Editores, S.A.
Bessa Luís, A. (2003). Para Vila Meã. In Jornal de Vila Meã, nº43, Janeiro de 2003.
Bessa-Luís, A. (1997). “Onde nasci”. In Anto, nº1, Amarante, Primavera.