JOSÉ RODRIGUES MIGUÉIS -- WRITER, ILLUSTRATOR, EDUCATOR, AND JURIST
José Rodrigues Miguéis was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on December 9, 1901. His father, Manuel Maria Miguéis Pombo, was from Santiago de Borbén, a town in the province of Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain. His mother, Maria Adelaide Rodrigues Miguéis, a conimbricense (native of the district of Coimbra, Portugal), was born in the town of Góis.
Miguéis graduated from the Liceu Camões in 1917, and attended the University of Lisbon to study law at the Facultade de Direito. While a law student, he became active in politics and began to participate in Seara Nova (1922), a left-leaning intellectual journal. His political and intellectual entourage included various Seara Nova collaborators -- Raul Proença, Jaime Cortesão, Aquilino Ribeiro, António Sérgio, Raul Brandão, Câmara Reys, and José Azeredo Perdigão among others -- as well as young republicans such as Mário de Castro and Fernando Mayer Garção.
During his years at the Facultade de Direito, he contributed as a writer and illustrator to the publications O Sol, Alma Nova, República, O Século, and Diário de Notícias.
Shortly after obtaining his licenciatura de direito in 1924, Miguéis began to work as an attorney and was named director of the União da Mocidade Republicana. In 1925 he became assistant district attorney in Setúbal, south of Lisbon, a position he only held for a few months. His forensic experience left a profound impression on him, later recounting it in fictionalized form in his novel Idealista no mundo real (published in as a serial through Seara Nova in 1964)
Back in Lisbon in 1926, he got involved in pedagogy. He taught geography and history at the Liceu Gil Vicente, served as Secretary of the Liga Propulsora da Instrução em Portugal, and published various articles on education.
In 1929, Miguéis left Lisbon to pursue post-graduate studies in education at the Université Libre de Bruxelles under a fellowship from the Junta da Educação Nacional.
While studying pedagogy, he returned to Portugal on various occasions and continued to collaborate with the Seara Nova group. During this period, he traveled through The Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain. He would recount his travel experiences many years later through Seara Nova under the title Tablóides: O Fugitivo, 1930 (1966).
In Bruxelles, he met his first wife, Pecia Cogan Portnoi, a Russian special education teacher. They married in 1932. That year he published Páscoa Feliz, a novel in preparation for several years, and was awarded the Casa de Impresa literary award.
In 1933, as Miguéis obtained his advanced degree in pedagogical sciences from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Portugal became a Fascist state. He began work on a new novel -- Uma Aventura Inquietante, Novela Policial -- published in book form in 1958.
In 1935, Miguéis published the short story O Acidente in O Diabo, translated L'Abbesse De Castro by Stendhal into Portuguese, and emigrated to the United States in a self-imposed exile. He settled in New York City and befriended local Spanish and Portuguese expatriates. He founded the Clube Operário Português.
Throughout the thirties, he contributed to the publications O Globo (acting as co-director with Bento de Jesus Carança), La Voz (a Spanish Republican paper printed in New York, using the pseudonym "Companheiro Pombo," after his father's last name) and O Diabo.
In 1940, having previously divorced his first wife, Miguéis married Camila Pitta Campanella in New York. Camila, a Portuguese-born Luso-American (she emigrated to United States at the age of 10), had met Miguéis in Lisbon in 1928. The year of their marriage, Miguéis published through Revista do Portugal one of his most celebrated short stories -- Léah -- later appearing in book form in the anthology Léah e Outras Histórias (1958).
In 1942, Miguéis became an American citizen and began to work as assistant editor for the Portuguese edition of Reader's Digest magazine -- Selecções do Reader's Digest. Two years later Miguéis and his wife adopted a four-year old girl, Patricia.
In 1946, his Onde a Noite se Acaba was published in Brazil. The same year, over a decade after his initial "exile," Miguéis returned to Portugal to recover from a serious illness. Having reached the end of his convalescence in 1947, he took up residence in New York City again. He would return to Portugal for long periods in the 1950s and '60s.
The Miguéis family left for a prolonged stay in Rio de Janeiro in 1949-50. Back in New York City the author would hardly published any material until 1956, when the short story Saudades para a Dona Genciana appeared.
Miguéis resided in Lisbon during 1957-59. This period marks the development of a major publishing phase which included Uma Aventura Inquietante (1958), Léah e Outras Histórias (1958), Um Homem Sorri à Morte - Com Meia Cara (1959), A Escola do Paraíso (1960), and O Passageiro do Expresso (1960). He received the Camilo Castelo Branco literary prize from the Sociedade Portuguesa de Escritores in 1959 for Léah e Outras Histórias.
Back in New York City, he translated into Portuguese The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published by Portugália in 1960. The following year he was elected Correspondent Member by the Hispanic Society of America.
Gente da Terceira Classe was published in Lisbon 1962. In 1963, he returned to Lisbon for a year. É Proibido Apontar - Reflexões de Um Burguês - I was printed in 1964. During the latter part of the decade he contributed articles and short stories to the Portuguese newspapers Diário de Lisboa and Diário Popular.
In the 1970's Miguéis published Nikalai! Nikalai! (1971), O Espelho Poliédrico (1973), Comércio com o Inimigo (1973), and the two volume set O Milagre segundo Salomé (1975). His collaboration with the Diário de Lisboa and Diário Popular continued. In 1976, Miguéis was voted Correspondent Member of the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa. He received the Ordem Militar de Santiago da Espada as Great Official in 1979.
Miguéis died in New York on October 27, 1980.
BROWN UNIVERSITY AND JOSÉ RODRIGUES MIGUÉIS -- THE CREATION OF THE ARCHIVES
Brown University's relationship with José Rodrigues Miguéis dates back to the creation of the Center for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (now Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies) in 1975.
In 1978, the Center invited Miguéis to give the first of a lecture series entitled The Portuguese-American Experience, As Seen Through Literature. Miguéis initially accepted the invitation but due to health reasons he was forced to cancel days before the inauguration.
Gávea-Brown, a journal of the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, published in its first issue the last interview of Miguéis. It was conducted by Carolina Matos, an M.A. condidate at the Center -- Gávea-Brown, Jan.-June 1980, p. 42-48.
One year after his death the Center organized the First International Symposium on his work. The proceedings were published by Gávea-Brown -- José Rodrigues Miguéis: Lisbon in Manhattan. Edited by Onésimo T. Almeida. Providence: Gávea-Brown, 1984. A few years later, a revised and augmented Portuguese edition of this volume appeared -- José Rodrigues Miguéis: Lisboa em Manhattan. Edited by Onésimo T. Almeida. Lisboa: Editorial Estampa, 2001.
Brown University professors George Monteiro and Onésimo T. Almeida were approached by Camila Miguéis in the 1982-83. She was worried about the fortune of her late husband's papers. Through the John Hay Library, professors Monteiro and Almeida arranged for the gift of Miguéis' papers and personal library.
Professor Maria Angelina Duarte, who under a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation had spent a year at the home of Miguéis organizing his manuscripts, came to Brown to organize the archive. The Gulbenkian Foundation paid for a complete microfilm copy of the manuscripts to go to the National Library of Portugal.
Since its creation in 1983, the archives have been used by many Miguéis scholars from the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. The collection was instrumental for the production of a television documentary on author for RTP, the Portuguese public television -- José Rodrigues Miguéis: Um Homem do Povo na História da República. Produced by Diana Andringa for the series Artes e Letras. RTP-2, 1998.
During the Second International Symposium on Miguéis, which took place in Lisbon in 2001, copies of many materials were sent to an accompanying exhibit at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument and exhibition space in the mouth of the river Tagus. A catalogue with reproductions of these materials was published -- José Rodrigues Miguéis: Catálogo da Exposição Comemorativa do Centenário do Nascimento. Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisboa, 2001. Organized by Manuela Rêgo and Onésimo T. Almeida. Lisboa: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, 2001. A volume with the proceedings of this conference was edited by Manuela Rêgo and Onésimo T. Almeida -- José Rodrigues Miguéis: uma Vida em Papéis Repartida. Lisboa: Departamento de Cultura, Câmara Municipal, 2002.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ARCHIVES
The José Rodrigues Miguéis Archives are housed in Special Collections at the John Hay Library. They contain the personal papers and selected volumes from the private library of the late Portuguese writer. The collection includes drafts and typescripts of his writings, personal and professional correspondence, notebooks, postcards, diplomas, calendars, diaries, photographs, legal and medical documents, drawings, newspaper clippings, book reviews, and monographs.
Miguéis' correspondence includes letters to Câmara Reys, Raul Proença, Jaime Cortesão, Mário de Castro, António Sérgio, Manuel Mendes, Mário Dionísio, Manuel Rodrigues Lapa, David Mourão-Ferreira, Jacinto Baptista, Mário Neves, José Gomes Ferreira, José Cardoso Pires, Natália Correira, Raul Hestnes Ferreira, Jorge de Sena, John Austin Kerr, Aquilino Ribeiro, and José Saramago among others.
A finding aid and a microfilm copy of the collection are available to researchers. Restrictions on access and reproduction apply.
Uma Aventura Inquietante. Lisboa, Iniciativas Editoriais, 1958.
Um Homem Sorri à Morte - Com Meia Cara. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1959.
A Escola do Paraíso. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1960.
Nikalai! Nikalai! seguido de A Múmia. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1971.
O Milagre Segundo Salomé (2 v.). Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1975.
O Pão Não Cai do Céu. Lisboa, Editorial Estampa, 1981.
Idealista no Mundo Real. Lisboa, Editorial Estampa, 1986.
Novellas and short stories
Páscoa Feliz. Lisboa, Edições Alfa, 1932.
Onde a Noite se Acaba. Rio de Janeiro, Edições Dois Mundos, 1946.
Saudades para a Dona Genciana. Lisboa, Iniciativas Editoriais, 1956.
Léah e Outras Histórias. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1958.
Gente da Terceira Classe. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1962.
Comércio com o Inimigo. Porto, Editorial Inova, 1973.
Paços Confusos. Lisboa, Editorial Estampa, 1982.
O Passageiro do Expresso. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1960.
É Proibido Apontar - Reflexões de Um Burguês - I. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1964.
O Espelho Poliédrico. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1973.
As Harmonias do "Canelão" - Reflexões de Um Burguês - II. Lisboa, Editorial Estúdios Cor, 1974.
Aforismos & desaforismos de Aparício. Lisboa, Editorial Estampa, 1996.
Brown University and Gávea-Brown publications:
Gávea-Brown was founded in 1980 under the auspices of the Center for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University to make Portuguese literature and culture better known in the English-speaking world. Gávea-Brown publishes translations of Portuguese literature, works relating to Portuguese Studies, and original creative works (in English or in Portuguese) reflecting the interactions of Portuguese and American cultures, particularily those offering insight into the experience of the Portuguese in the United States. The press also publishes a semi-annual journal, Gávea-Brown, which is especially dedicated to the Portuguese-American experience.
- Steerage and Ten Other Stories, ed. and with a forward by George Monteiro. Providence, RI: Gávea-Brown, 1983.
- José Rodrigues Miguéis: Lisbon in Manhattan, ed. Onésimo T. Almeida. Providence, R.I.: Gávea-Brown, 1984.
- A Man Smiles at Death with Half a Face: an Autobiography of an Illness, translated and with an introduction by George Monteiro. Providence, R.I.: Brown University Press; Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, c1990.
- In preparation: translation of Miguéis' American chronicles by David Brookshaw of the University of Bristol, England.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES THROUGH THE WEB
José Rodrigues Miguéis: um baú de sonhos com um grande espólio por inventar. By Rogério Rodrigues. Instituto Camões.
Biografía de José Rodrigues Miguéis. Instituto Camões.
José Rodrigues Miguéis. Projecto Vercial.
Um Homem sorri à morte com meia cara, narrativa autobiográfica de José Rodrigues Miguéis. By Maria da Assunção Morais Monteiro. Letras & Letras.
Escritor emigrante. José Rodrigues Miguéis. Malha Atlântica.
Escrevente de primeira classe. Malha Atlântica.
A paixão pela America e o conforto por Camila. Malha Atlântica.
José Rodrigues Miguéis. Alfama 1901- Manhatan 1980. Homenagem da ARE no centenário do seu nascimento. Associação de Reencontro dos Emigrantes.
O espólio não cai do céu. By Onésimo Teotónio Almeida (previously published in Que nome é esse, ó Nézimo? e outros advérbios de dúvida. Lisboa: Edições Salamandra, 1994). Associação de Reencontro dos Emigrantes.
José Rodrigues Miguéis. Uma exploração didactica. Instituto Camões.
Design and draft by José Rodrigues Miguéis for O Natal do Dr. Crosby.
José Rodrigues, February 1958.
Signature of José Rodrigues Miguéis.
The Miguéis family. Clockwise: Fernando Rodrigues Miguéis (brother), Maria Adelaide Rodrigues Miguéis (mother), Irene Rodrigues Miguéis (sister), José Rodrigues Miguéis, and Manuel Maria Miguéis Pombo (father)
Covers from Seara Nova
N. 57 (October 24, 1925)
N. 20 (December/January 1923)
José Rodrigues Miguéis as a teacher in 1927.
José Rodrigues Miguéis, May 16 1930.
Book review. "O Livro Páscoa Feliz de Rodrigues Miguéis, Demostra-nos que Portugal Conta, Hoje, com um Grande Novelista" by Julião Quintinha. Diário da Noite, June 15, 1932.
José Rodrigues Miguéis and his future wife Camila Pitta Campanella with friends, New York, 1935.
José Rodrigues Miguéis receiving the literary prize Camilo Castelo Branco, 1959.
Passport photo of José Rodrigues Miguéis with his wife Camila and daughter Patricia, March 1946.
Detail of letter, A bordo do SS Brazil, October 1949.
Book cover design by José Rodrigues Miguéis for his autobiographical novel Um Homem Sorri à Morte - Com Meia Cara.
Book cover designs and illustrations by José Rodrigues Miguéis for his novel Uma Aventura Inquietante.
Detail of illustration by José Rodrigues Miguéis entitled Raparigas.
Brazilian registration card for foreign residents (Serviço de Registro de Estrangeiros) belonging to José Rodrigues Miguéis.
Uma Luz ao Escurecer by Erskine Caldwell. Original title A Lamp for Nightfall. Portuguese translation by José Rodrigues Miguéis, 1963.
Páscoa Feliz by José Rodrigues Miguéis.
Léah e Outras Histórias by José Rodrigues Miguéis.
Onde a Noite se Acaba by José Rodrigues Miguéis.
Book cover design by José Rodrigues Miguéis for his essay As Harmonias do "Canelão" - Reflexões de Um Burguês - II.
José Rodrigues Miguéis, 1957.
José Rodrigues Miguéis, New York City, 1975.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 15-Mar-2006 14:55:18 EST
© 2003, Brown University Library. All rights reserved.