A discussion of the motifs of saudade and nostalgia in Portuguese Fado and in poetry of the English-speaking world

Corbett-Stenson, Phoebe (2016) A discussion of the motifs of saudade and nostalgia in Portuguese Fado and in poetry of the English-speaking world. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Saudade is a Portuguese word for an emotion that has been described as ‘sweet and painful torment’ (Castro, 1980, p. 18). It is considered to mean suffering, sometimes pleasurable, that involves a longing, yearning or nostalgia for someone or something, without the temporal or sentimental restraints of pure nostalgia.
    The aim of this thesis has been threefold: to explore the contours of the untranslatable Portuguese word ‘saudade’ and how it manifests in Fado poetry; whether its themes exist in poetry of the English speaking-world outside of Portuguese, including my own poetry collection; and whether it co-exists with or transcends the motif of nostalgia in this poetry.
    I will argue that saudade is a universal emotion, and despite not being signified in English-speaking culture, it is found within its poetry even when not openly channelled as such. Within this thesis I will contrast the motif of nostalgia with saudade in English-language poetry and contend that saudade can be found alongside, or instead of, nostalgia in its themes.
    This thesis begins by discussing in Chapter One the definitions of saudade and the history of Portuguese poetic music genre, Fado, uncovering the cultural contexts of both. The chapter then examines motifs of saudade and nostalgia within Fado poetry translated into English, analysing their stories, stylistic techniques and poetic devices. It closes by assessing issues of translation and Fado poetry’s subsequent authenticity in English.
    Chapter Two uncovers the varied and vague definitions of nostalgia, as well as the history behind its conception. It goes on to distinguish nostalgia from saudade as a formal motif within this thesis, before examining elements of saudade and nostalgia within the works of selected English-language poets. Poetic devices used are studied in detail, and more evidence for saudade than nostalgia in the poems is asserted.
    The third chapter examines my own creative process when writing my poetry collection, Saudade: A Recollection (Corbett-Stenson, 2015). I discuss the early process of becoming captivated with saudade and Fado. The chapter continues by identifying motifs of saudade in my poetry and analysing how I did this: what uses of language, poetic devices and techniques I chose for stylistic effect. The chapter discusses the influence of suffering and memory on creative writing processes, including my own.
    The conclusion pulls all threads of this thesis together, reaching a resolution of points.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2016 14:49
    Last Modified: 18 Nov 2016 14:49
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22690

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