Editorial No. 84 (English Translation)

Text by Tomás Vicente Ferreira. Translated into English by Tomás Vicente Ferreira. Proof-read by João N. S. Almeida. Image by Bernardo André.

Less than three months later, here we are, again, with a new edition in our hands to offer our readers! After having been fortunate enough, in our last edition, to publish a strong collection of essays – a component that, in any event, we want to have always present – we decided to place the emphasis of this edition in productions of visual arts by students of FLUL or by members of the University of Lisbon in geral. We received excellent contributions in several formats, and are greatly pleased by being able now to present all those works. Not having set ourselves especially to that task, we have also in this edition received, to our surprise, an extraordinary amount of essays, all of excellent quality, which we are very grateful for. We would like thus to reiterate that it has been our particular intention, in the work we have been carrying out over the last few months, to help the greatest possible number of our colleagues with the development of their arguments in that specific format, but without the severity and the standards of a scientific magazine; we are, if we may phrase it thus, an intermediate platform, and all contributors can count on us for an engaging process of proof-reading, revision and correction to which we are seriously committed, so that all your texts may be presented in the best possible shape.

Still in regard to the content of this edition, we owe a word of thanks to Bernardo André, who has designed the cover and contributed with a generous portfolio of his works. We also especially thank  our colleague João N. S. Almeida, who took up on his shoulders a great share of the work of coordinating, proof-reading and putting-together of this edition and who, we are sure, will receive from our readers the same approbation he received from us during the process of preparation of this issue 84. 

These months have not been meagre in events. In Portugal and in other countries, we have come back to the pandemic emergency state and the containment strategy of lockdown, which leaves no-one unscathed and which we all make an effort to endure with the equanimity we can muster. In that respect, breaking slightly with what has been our policy, we have published, on the 26th January, our “Dossier: Lockdown” [“Dossier: Confinamento”], which assembles texts about the experience of the way of life we have been subjected to, curated by our own Joana Rebocho. There are some other events we are especially concerned about, such as the effects of the new security law of Hong Kong, under which already 50 politicians and pro-democracy activists have been arrested. We could also highlight the announcement of the candidacy of António Guterres to a second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations, or the landslide victory of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the presidential elections in Portugal, not to mention the atypical inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the USA. All these topics, several of which have been accompanied by us through our social networks, remain, to a large extent, absent of this edition, be it by design or by chance – there is only one exception, an article (which we had promised our readers in Editorial 83) that reflects on former President Trump and the American elections.

The last few months have seen also the taking off of an initiative we had previously promised (cf. Editorial no. 83): the organization of online events which everyone can attend from home during these months of pandemic, lockdown and restraint. The first of those events was an online conversation, on the 21st December 2020, with Professor António M. Feijó, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lisbon and a professor at FLUL, about O Cânone [The Canon] (2020), a book which he co-edited with Professors Miguel Tamen, the Dean of FLUL, and João R. Figueiredo, Director of the Program in Literary Theory of the University of Lisbon. The second event took place on the 15th January last and consisted of an homage to the work of Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020), in which we were pleased to have as a guest Professor Angélica Varandas. Both events were very interesting and successful, having reinforced in us the determination to continue this series. We take, then, this opportunity to announce that the next events of the series are already being prepared and will be centred, respectively, on the works of the authors Vergílio Ferreira, António Lobo Antunes and Mécia & Jorge de Sena. The organization of these is mainly entrusted to our colleague Ana Sofia Souto (FCSH-UNL), and so we assure you that it is in good hands. More news about all this to come soon.

Lastly, but certainly not least, in 2021 we commemorate, as many of you will know, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fiodor Dostoievsky, one of the greatest Russian writers of the 19th century and, without any doubt, one of the literary giants of all time. In that respect, and following up on the modest homage we paid to Tolstoy last year with our edition no. 83, we will be devoting to Dostoievsky several events throughout the year, as well as a privileged place in our November edition (Dostoievsky was born on the 11th November 1821), to which we invite all of you who would like to do so to contribute.

With my very best regards to you all,

Tomás Vicente Ferreira (Editor-in-chief)
On behalf of the editorial team of Os Fazedores de Letras.