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Reviewed by:
  • Emblemática Lusitana e os Emblemas
  • Elizabeth K. Hill
Vasco Mousinho de Castelbranco . Emblemática Lusitana e os Emblemas. Rubem Amaral, Jr., ed. Lisbon: Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2005. 154 pp. index. illus. bibl. n.p. ISBN: 972–99298–6–6.

Portuguese emblems appeared later and in smaller numbers than in other European countries and have received little attention even from emblem scholars. Amaral's work aims to remedy this situation. Although the commentary is in Portuguese, there are abstracts in English, French, and Spanish. He begins with a general definition of the emblem and recounts its history in Portugal. Although he correctly distinguishes emblem from device, he does give accounts, rather lengthily for this context, of the latter's use for such purposes as architecture and festival banners and even finds emblematic elements in Portuguese printers' marks. Although these accounts are basically lists, with pictures that are not always clear, they are potentially useful to the study of both emblematic and non-emblematic visual imagery. [End Page 554]

Amaral presents Quevedo's works as they were originally published, in two groups, one in Discurso sobre a Vida e Morte de Santa Isabel, Rainha de Portugal, e outras várias rimas and the other a manuscript entitled Diálogos de Vária Doutrina. Although he called his poems "emblemas," he did not, probably for financial reasons, include pictures. Amaral has provided these, appropriating images from Alciati, Paradin, and others that Quevedo almost certainly knew. This clothing of a "naked emblem" can be a tricky, highly conjectural, endeavor. We'll never know what sort of pictures Quevedo would have used or whether he had actually ever seen those that Amaral appends to his verses. Nevertheless, these pairings are convincing and the volume is an enlightening, if specialized, view of some little-known material. Although of interest mainly to students of emblems and of Portuguese literature, this volume also has merits for the general reader.

Elizabeth K. Hill
St. John's University (Emerita)


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pp. 554-555
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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