Emília de Sousa Costa: educação e literatura

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As a writer, teacher, public speaker and militant feminist, Emília de Sousa Costa (1877- 1959) should take her place alongside other famous Portuguese women of her time, such Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho (1847-1921), Ana de Castro Osório (1872-1935) and Virgínia de Castro e Almeida (1874-1945). But unlike these women, whose literary output continues to be read and studied, Emília de Sousa Costa is known today almost exclusively for her ideas on women and women's education. Proof of this neglect is to be found in the fact that in spite of her vigorous literary activity, especially as a writer for children and young people, she has not been dignified with any entry in the dictionaries of Portuguese literature published by Figueirinhas, Presença or Verbo, nor even the briefest mention in any history of Portuguese literature. Emília de Sousa Costa wrote her books for children and young people at a time when such literature was undergoing a significant development, and despite her rather inflexible approach to style, language and morality she contributed to that process. The large number of books she wrote, the techniques she developed, and her numerous activities for promoting books and reading would on their own justify the study being devoted to her here. But many of her writings also have an undeniable aesthetic quality, in particular the short texts in which she rewrote tales from the oral tradition and the Polichinelo series, which make use of the well-known figure of Pinocchio. In this article, then, we shall focus on the literary output of Emília de Sousa Costa, while not neglecting in the first instance other aspects of her thinking and her activity, which we shall take as our point of departure, in terms of content, ideology and form, for some of the literary works that we regard as most significant - we cannot dissociate the woman who all her life defended feminine education from the woman who expressed her ideas in different types of text, whether for a juvenile audience or for an adult public. In all her writings, Emília de Sousa Costa expresses a moderate feminism, patriotic and devout. In each text we find a celebration of the modern woman, educated and free, and most likely devoted to her roles of wife, mother and educator. In each we find a denunciation of those men who regard women as an object and an instrument. And in each we find a defence of teaching according to modern principles. SCOPUS ID: 84880450745
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)159-178
JournalRevista Lusófona de Educação
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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