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Vergílio Ferreira


Vergílio Ferreira (1916-1996) was a Portuguese writer. His most famous work “Manhã Submersa”, (Misty Morning, lit. Submerged Morning) was published in 1953 and made into a film in 1980.

Vergílio Ferreira spent his childhood and adolescence in the Serra da Estrela (Melo, Gouveia), where he was born on 28th January, 1916). When he was ten years old he entered the seminary of Fundão, where he remained for six years, ending his high school education in Guarda and then taking a degree in Classical Philology in Coimbra (1940). His life as a high school teacher was divided into two main periods: his stay in Évora (1945-1958) and his coming to Lisbon (1959), where he taught at the Liceu Camões until his retirement.

The first phase of his career as a novelist is unreservedly neo-realist. However, his writing soon acquired its own voice, interpreted as a shift towards existentialism, especially through his treatment of time and childhood figures, in an attempt to describe the experience of the I first appearing to him. This is bound by a decidedly metaphysical and existential logic in the inquiring fascination of the human condition. From the 70’s onwards, the tone of his work became tinged with irony, carried by the certainty that all truth slips away, that all evidence becomes clouded, and that in the final analysis, all ideas oscillate towards the side of death.

To grow old, for example, is passing from son to father, but it is also to pass from wasted time to invented time, in the absolute surmised from memory, even though this Proustian lesson (or condition) itself has preserved in Vergílio Ferreira the marks of total contemporaneity.

He died in Lisbon on 1st May, 1996.

Vergílio Ferreira