Writers, Land of Culture

Eça de Queiroz

I remember how meticulous my father was about everything! […] on his high desk all objects had their fixed place: the inkpots, three enormous paperweights, the feather-cleaners, the ceramic candlestick and the small vase with one flour, always placed there by my lovely mother. Next to it a pile of the large white sheets of paper, soon to turn into precious objects, filled with his thoughts or lightened up by his fantasy.

"Eça de Queiroz Among His Own", Maria Eça de Queiroz

Son of José Maria de Almeida Teixeira de Queiroz and D. Carolina Augusta Pereira de Eça, José Maria Eça de Queiroz wasbornonthe 25th ofNovember 1845 in Póvoa de Varzim andbaptised in Vila do Conde. When he was ten years old, he was enrolled in the boarding school Colégio da Lapa, with his master being Joaquim da Costa Ramalho, father of Ramalho Ortigão, with whom he ended up publishing “As Farpas” and in 1884 “O Mistéria da Estrada de Sintra”.

At only sixteen years, Eça de Querioz started his studies at the University of Coimbra and five years later he concluded his Law degree. Combining his professional activity as lawyer with his activity as a journalist, Eça de Queiroz ended up settling down in Évora and creating and directing, under the influence of his father, “Distrito de Évora”, a periodical of the opposition of this district, falling almost entirely under his responsibility.

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The constant drafting of texts that this newspaper entailed might have been the origin of his career as a writer, as the act of writing, besides serving as a way of practising this skill, made him look around and analyse society, his point of focus in his texts. At a later stage, when he became a governor of Leiria, he used his experience there to draft the personality traits of the characters and the plot of the story “O crime do Padre Amaro” (The Crime of Father Amaro), besides “The Maias”, one of his most well-known novels. On the 25th of this months it will have been 169 years ago that the writer was born and the Library of the Municipality of Baião is inaugurating the editorship of this Boletim Cultural, starting with a humble tribute to the writer, who also paid his tribute to the county of Baião, first in the short tale “Civilisation” and, later, in “The City and the Mountains”.

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