Filho natural e pai ausente: As colónias africanas no imaginário do império português em Os Maias

Kristina Soric


This article analyzes the role of Africa in José Maria de Eça de Queirós’s Os Maias (1888), despite what appears to be a lack of explicit African presence in the novel. By connecting the generations of Maia men with nineteenth-century Portuguese history, Os Maias presents the allegorical depiction of Portugal’s struggle for inclusion on the imperial stage after the loss of Brazil, as well as the empire’s subsequent turn to Africa as a potential solution. The novel likewise details the abstraction of the African colonies and their subjects within the Portuguese imaginary, in which Africa not only symbolizes the future of the empire and theoretically broadens the borders of the tiny nation, but also becomes the object of paternalistic attitudes that reinforce Portuguese claims to a place among the rest of the modern “civilizing” empires of Europe.


Imperial discourse; Africa; Eça de Queirós; nineteenth century; filiation/affiliation; Geração de 70

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