Boa morte, má morte, tristes cantares: Para uma poética da finitude na Idade Média

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As a pure expression of the Otherness inscribed in the Self (or a pure expression of the Other that no longer recognizes the Self that he had once been) in this «atmosphere of quietness furrowed by faceless words» of a paleness hospital evoked by José Cardoso Pires in his disturbing book "De profundis valsa lenta", death belongs to the realm of the unthinkable. That's why imagining death becomes probably the only possible way of naming that which defies, by nature, representation. And that’s why we can find, from myth to contemporary fiction, an intimate and profound relationship between literature and death, the narrative - this eternal unfolding of our life through the «syllables of time» according to St. Augustine (Conf. XIII, 15) – allowing to make death an intelligible (though plural) experience. Medieval literature has been particularly sensitive to this heterogeneous dimension of death that saturates all poetic forms, from the Chanson de Geste to hagiography, passing through the exempla, the Miracles, the romance or the didactic-moralistic poetry. In view of the «living narratively» model proposed by Óscar Gonçalves and the cognitive psychology in the wake of Paul Ricœur's works, the medieval text proposes an art of «dying narratively », by distinguishing, for example, the good death of bad death with its respective identity, cultural and poetic implications. Literature will not be, in this sense, only a privileged way of thinking about death. Death is also a singular way of thinking about literature.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationA Morte
Subtitle of host publicationLeituras da Humana Condição
EditorsPaula Alves, Maria José Figueiredo, Eugénia Abrantes Magalhães, Fernando Magalhães, Benedita Santiago Neves, Porfírio Pinto, Bruno Venâncio
Place of PublicationLisboa
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9789896737269
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Death
  • Medieval Literature and Poetry
  • Representations of the Body; Memory and Forgetness
  • Medieval Imaginary

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