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Dossier: Migration and Exile
Part 3: Deconstructing Exile

Portuguese writers and scientists exiled in Brazil

Exclusion, cosmopolitanism and particularism (1945-1974)
Douglas Mansur da Silva
Translated by Mark Carlyon

Abstracts

This article analyses the relationship and tensions between cosmopolitan­ism and particularism in the way in which the subject of exile is broached in the life stories, works and ideas of the Portuguese writers Adolfo Casais Monteiro, Jorge de Sena and Vitor Ramos, and scientists Antonio Aniceto Monteiro, Antonio Brotas, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, José Morgado and Ruy Luis Gomes, who lived in Brazil between 1945 and 1974. The careers and ex­periences of these individuals were characterised by a way of relating to the world marked by continuous exclusion from the centres of hegemonic power, as well as by the establishment of connections and networks of varying degrees. In this sense, this article also focuses on the personal and collec­tive trajectories of the characters and how it is related to the boundaries of belonging that they established during their lives.

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Editor's notes

Received: 31/12/2012
Approved: 18/10/2013

Full text

Introduction1

  • 1 In the original afastamento, from afastar – to remove or place at a distance. Afastamento is used b (...)
  • 2 My thanks go to the anonymous analysts of Vibrant for the suggestions that contributed to the impro (...)

1This article2 analyses the relationship and tensions between cosmopolitan­ism and particularism in the way in which the subject of exile is broached in the life stories, works and ideas of the Portuguese writers Adolfo Casais Monteiro, Jorge de Sena and Vitor Ramos, and scientists Antonio Aniceto Monteiro, Antonio Brotas, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, José Morgado and Ruy Luis Gomes, who lived in Brazil between 1945 and 1974. The careers and ex­periences of these individuals were characterised by a way of relating to the world marked by continuous exclusion from the centres of hegemonic power, as well as by the establishment of connections and networks of varying degrees. Although the international journeys of these Portuguese scientists and writers, exiled during Portugal’s Estado Novo, received support from professional networks, as well as from networks of friends, relations and like-minded opposition members, they were motivated by their expulsion from the country of origin (which took a variety of forms) and the obstacles to their working, not only in Portugal, but in other countries as well. The transnational character of these networks stems from the social intercourse established in a variety of fields, in a variety of countries (Glick-Schiller, Basch & Blanc-Szanton, 1992).

  • 3 The term used is estrangeirados – from estrangeiro, ‘foreigner’ – meaning individuals influenced, o (...)

2Thus initially the focus of this article is on the personal and collective experiences of these individuals, and the way in which these are reflected in the concepts of belonging that they developed during their lives. I will thus attempt to discuss these concepts as something constructed in time, relating to but also departing from the various classifications attributed to them by others or by the individuals themselves. I will also broach the restrictions on the countries to which they could travel in two dimensions: 1) political restrictions, that implied obstacles to their activities, and in the cases discussed took both bureaucratic and symbolic forms; 2) the demar­cation of symbolic belonging, in its multiple registers. In my discussion of the symbolic frontiers I will give priority to forms of relative classification: 1) intellectual work (writers, scientists, mathematicians and the Movimento Matemático, intellectuals, influence of foreign cultures3); and 2) the condition of migrant (exiled, emigrant, immigrant, settler, diaspora). The article goes on to focus on the thought processes of these individuals and the way in which they narrate their stories, discussing the relationship between migra­tion, exile and cosmopolitanism.

1. Social networks and the restrictions on travel for scientists and writers

1.1 Genesis of the Movimento Matemático

3During the 1930s and 40s a small but distinguished nucleus of mathemati­cians graduated abroad with scholarships offered by the Instituto para a Alta Cultura (IAC), a body belonging to the then Ministry of National Education, in the Portuguese Estado Novo. The exposure to science as practiced in other countries strengthened the perception of how backward Portuguese science was and also how science was collective work that depended on infrastruc­ture and investment. The case of the Bourbaki group in France, of which the mathematician Antonio Monteiro was a member, provides an excellent example: studies were signed in the name of the group (under the collective pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki) rather than by the individual investigators concerned. In the words of the physicist Manuel Valadares:

Without doubt this collective work of scientific investigation constitutes one of the primary factors behind the high investments in scientific research in recent years (...) When writing the history of contemporary physics, to be fair, attention must be given to the work of all the individuals, not only the one that signed, but all those involved in the group. The former always achieves the fa-me, but the latter are often no less useful to humanity. (Valadares 1940: 8)

4Their activities caused conflict after their return to Portugal, represent­ing as they did a challenge to tradition and a renewal of scientific knowledge, and on an ideological level their rejection of the ruralist, anti-development ideology of the authoritarian Estado Novo, with its conservative/traditional bias. The regime, with its nationalism, symbols, rituals and centralist narra­tive (Geertz, 1983) advocated the protection of the country from modernity, so that Portugal would “live naturally” – “proudly alone” (Neves, 2008).

5In the academic world, the term estrangeirados (those influenced, or tainted, by foreign cultures) had a double meaning; it could be a symbol of prestige, or used ironically as a criticism; a further expression of the con­flicts that the presence of these young researchers created (Perez 1997). This perception, that they constituted an independent group of scientists with a common vision, inspired them to set up the Núcleo de Matemática, Física e Química (see annex, Chart 1) with the aim of organising seminars. Although the Nucleus managed to conduct a few sessions, it was short-lived, its demise being due to the burden of academic bureaucracy.

6These very hardships strengthened the perception of a group identity, which in turn lead to the foundation of the movement which its members were to call the Movimento Matemático. In the three-year period between 1937 and 1940 the movement launched initiatives that included publishing the magazines Portugaliae Mathematica (an academic publication) and the Gazeta de Matemática (aimed at teaching in schools), as well as founding the Sociedade Portuguesa de Matemática (SPM) (see annex, Chart 2).

It was a collective project. And what was interesting about it was (...) that it constituted a cohesive group that acted together, with well defined and per­tinent objectives. This was the way to produce something that lasted; in this case these three vehicles that were parallel and complementary: the Gazeta de Matemática, the Sociedade Portuguesa de Matemática and the Portugaliae Mathematica (...), which I later decided, after April 25th, to rehabilitate; I had innumerable difficulties, but I succeeded. (Alfredo Pereira Gomes)

7Other initiatives, under the direction of the mathematician Bento de Jesus Caraça, were the publication of the Biblioteca Cosmos, an encyclopaedia, and the revival of the project for the Universidade Popular Portuguesa that had been conceived before the regime. Both projects aimed at divulging scientific knowledge to the population in general. Such projects were, clearly, connect­ed with the legacy of Portuguese republicanism, with its defence of the civic commitment of intellectuals to the fatherland and the people.

8As a result of the work of these scientists, the Centro de Estudos de Matemática de Lisboa (CEML), the Centro de Estudos de Matemática Aplicada à Economia (CEMAE), also in Lisbon, and the Centro de Estudo de Matemática do Porto (CEMP) were all set up at the beginning of the 1940s, institutions that were to provide a solid basis for the studies and graduation of mathe­maticians. From now on, however, the ties created between the Movimento Matemático and other cultural movements (with writers, artists, journalists, scientists etc.) as well as with the political opposition, meant that its mem­bers began to see themselves not just as scientists but also as intellectuals.

Figure 1. Portugaliae Mathematica n.1 Gazeta de Matemática n.1

9The term is frequently used by the communist Bento de Jesus Caraça (Caraça 1970). His influential writings on the relationship between science and humanism, and on the socio-political role of the intellectual, were a theoretical statement of his concerns with human emancipation. Broadly speaking, the responsibility fell to intellectuals to find the “means to impose reason and realise justice” in an “integrated fashion” (op.cit.: 43). This was the impasse, the crisis to be overcome, for which a politically and pedagogically ethical approach was needed. Thus what Caraça proposed to the intellectual – and here something of his constant concern with the applicability of knowl­edge can be seen – was not just the productions of thoughts that would lead to the erosion of the old order, but also of solutions that would bring about a true integration of reason and justice. This integration could only occur once existing contradictions between the individual and the collective had been overcome; it would need to be socially constructed, as it was not a product of the natural order. It was a process: “each phase of the struggle is a new step on the path towards unification of the individual with the collective” (op.cit.: 43). The intellectual was to participate in this process with his work of con­struction, at the service of a higher principle: to harmonise opposites so as to achieve a new perception of the whole.

10Thus humanism and the commitment to pulling Portugal out of its back­wardness became associated with the work of scientists, through innovation and the dissemination of knowledge, as is seen by their frequent employment of words like task, mission etc., when referring to the activities of the aware scientist, actively engaged in the issues of his day. These concepts, like the projects of the Movimento Matemático, represent a rejection of the national ideology of the Estado Novo and an approximation to sectors of the opposi­tion, above all the liberal republican fronts and the communists. Connections were established between the fields of social science and politics. In response the regime went on the offensive by cutting financial support to the emerg­ing Study Centres. The movement in turn responded by creating the Junta de Investigação Matemática (JIM), a pioneering initiative for Portugal as it was privately funded. At its foundation, Antonio Monteiro described the Junta’s objectives in a radio programme:

Portuguese mathematicians, aware of their responsibilities to the country and to its culture, have decided to come together to perform the duty that is required of them. On October 4th, 1943, a group of Portuguese researchers founded the Junta de Investigação Matemática and defined its objectives as follows:
-1 To promote the development of mathematical research;
-2 To undertake the mathematical research required by the country’s economy;
-3 To systemise the enquires of Portuguese mathematicians;
-4 To create ties between the Portuguese Movimento Matemático and those of other countries, above all in Latin America;
– 5 To inspire in young Portuguese students enthusiasm for mathematical inquiry and faith in their creative capacity. (Monteiro 1944a: 1. Italics mine)

11During his speech, as he had done before, he used terms like duty, responsibility, awareness, mission, task etc., to refer to the ethical and political commitment of scientists, and expressions like critical attitude to refer to the characteristics expected of them. A sense of civic duty is present in his writ­ings, as it is in those of other members of the movement:

Today almost every Portuguese researcher of proven capacity is a member of this Junta de Investigação Matemática (...). It is, thus, an organization that represents the vital forces of this culture, one which is a deep awareness of the issues of this time. (ibid:.1. Italics mine).

Being an investigator is the duty of every citizen who is aware of his responsibilities to society, because being an investigator means adopting a critical attitude, to life and to knowledge, in order to arrive at new conclusions. (Monteiro, 1944b: 1. Italics mine).

12Aware that the funding of the JIM may not be renewed, they intensified the contacts previously made with other scientists in various parts of the world – in the United States, France, Switzerland, Brazil and Argentina – making it possible for the Movimento to continue its activities. This transna­tional network of professionals was of key importance when the individuals discussed here came to choose the countries to which they would migrate. Antonio Monteiro was the first to come to Brazil, in 1945, having made the first contacts two years before. In 1947 a large number of scientists were sacked in a series of purges aimed at suppressing organizations of the op­position. Many of these scientists had not even expressed opposition; it is possible that the list of those to be sacked had come from inside academia, and included the settling of scores (as Alfredo Pereira Gomes stated). Most of the members of the Movimento Matemático went abroad. Bento de Jesus Caraça, who died the following year, was one of the few who didn’t.

1.2 Writers

13Unlike the mathematicians, the writers discussed here – Adolfo Casais Monteiro, Jorge de Sena and Vitor Ramos – did not belong to a single group like the Movimento Matemático; however they did participate in a number of cultural and political initiatives that had some social impact. The paths of the three crossed in exile, more precisely in their joint activities in the Institutos Isolados de Ensino Superior de São Paulo (later to become the Universidade Estadual Paulista/Unesp), the universities of Assis (Ramos and Sena) and Araraquara (Casais e Sena), and in their political opposition to the Portuguese regime, especially in the pages of the magazine Portugal Democrático.

14Adolfo Casais Monteiro (1908-1972) belonged to the generation that came after the liberal republicans and the conservative or radical right. He was born on the eve of the foundation of the Republic, and he always admired its democratic and civic values. Throughout his life he was engaged in fo­menting the cultural life of Portugal, and later of Brazil, as a poet, essayist, literary critic, art critic and teacher. He graduated in Historical Science and Philosophy from the University of Oporto, where from 1928 he ran the magazine A Águia (‘The Eagle”) with Leonardo Coimbra, whose disciple he was, and Sant´Anna Dionísio. The same year he began to collaborate with the magazine whose name, Presença was to become inseparably associated with his, and in which his first poetic works appeared: Confusão (‘Confusion’ – 1929), Poema do Tempo Incerto (‘Poem for an Uncertain Time – 1934) and Sempre e Sem Fim (‘Forever and Without End – 1937). This was also the period when he published Correspondência de Família (‘Family Correspondence’ – 1933), in col­laboration with the Brazilian poet Ribeiro Couto, indicating his already close ties with Brazilian writers.

15In 1931 he became a director of Presença. His main aim was to transform the magazine into a vehicle of criticism that would become the “voice of a group of students, the only dependable institution for the vanguard of Portuguese arts and letters” (Monteiro 1995: 20). The magazine achieved considerable recognition during almost a decade, above all as a prestigious medium for the discussion of writers and works of art. Despite the fact that it expressed a virtual consensus in the defence of art as a sincere and individual expression of the artist – which led to it being accused of defending ‘art for art’s sake’ – throughout his life Casais Monteiro insisted on the heterogene­ous nature of the thinking of its directors and the magazine’s ‘diversity of spirit’. They were unanimous as to the “pedagogical aspect, which was always a part of its role (...)” (ibid.:.21), but always open towards a diversity of writers and forms of expression. The magazine reflected “a fundamental duplicity between the unity of its polemics, its critical and pedagogical content, and the tacit recognition of a mutual independence outside these areas” (ibid.: 24). Perhaps due to the freedom that he permitted himself to comment openly on culture and politics, Casais Monteiro was ‘suspended’ from teaching activ­ities, despite having held no political post since the 1930s. The regime then forbade the quoting his name, and finally the publishing of his writings, un­less a pseudonym was used. Despite this he continued to contribute to a num­ber periodicals and from 1933, while continuing to write poetry, he published books of essays and criticism which made a reputation for him abroad, espe­cially in Brazil, where he was linked to the second generation of modernists.

16Jorge de Sena (1919-1978) and Vitor Ramos (1920-1974) belong to a peri­od when Presença was no longer the prime vehicle for literary discussion; a time when new forms were emerging, whose neorealist or surrealist poetics opposed aestheticism divorced from social reality and individual truth that were irreducible to forms of subjective expression. Jorge de Sena became famous, above all, as a poet, and Vitor Ramos as a specialist in French liter­ature. Despite belonging to the same generation their paths did not cross in Portugal. But their intense engagement in writing for literary magazines and in issues involving Portuguese literature and culture meant that they frequented very similar circles. As was the case with most of the members of the Movimento Matemático, they both witnessed the decline of the republican opposition as an alternative to overthrowing the dictatorship and the reorgan­ization of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), which became the best or­ganised political party of the outlawed opposition. During the post-war period the PCP saw engagement in political and cultural activity as a means of under­mining the regime, as well as a way of creating an alternative form of nation­alism (Neves, op. cit.). Neorealism was one such means, although there were many neorealist writers and artists who were not necessarily communists.

17Sena constantly opposed the view that art should be restricted to the ser­vice of an ideology, and thus crossed swords with sectors of the communist party and the opposition in general, both in Portugal and in exile. This criti­cism of an instrumentalist concept, in Sena’s case, did not mean that he was not concerned with ethical questions, such as the poet being engaged in the world. Politico-social concerns are a recurring theme in his work, alongside the appropriation of surrealist techniques. There are elements of both neore­alism and surrealism in his work, although he maintained his independence from both. He graduated in engineering and practiced the profession in Portugal, although his goal was to dedicated himself entirely to writing. But he found it difficult to earn a living from writing in his native Portugal. His vast output is very diverse, characterised by his interest in the spiritual and artistic creations of humanity. Before he decided to go into exile in Brazil he had already published works of prose, poetry, drama, criticism and essays, as well as translations, and he kept in close touch with literary developments in Portugal, about which he wrote in literary magazines.

  • 4 PIDE/DGS file, record for Vitor Ramos

18Vitor Ramos graduated in Romantic Philology from the Literature Department of the University of Lisbon, in 1950. For many years he worked as a journalist, notably as editor of France Presse. Although he tried to maintain a certain degree of autonomy, of the three writers discussed here, Ramos was the closest to the Gramscian figure of the organic intellectual. He was a party man who entered the PCP in the 1940s and was a member of the Movimento de Unidade Democrática Juvenil (MUD)4, where he was actively engaged in op­position to the regime in the student movement, participating in “meetings, speeches, film projections and distributing manifestos” (ibid.). In 1947 he was one of the signatories of a manifesto “against the arrest of students and the recent expulsion of a number of professors from the universities, including several mathematicians.” After graduating he worked as foreign editor in France, maintaining his contacts in Portugal as international correspondent of the France Presse agency, while at the same time continuing his studies at the Sorbonne.

19Like the mathematicians, the writers were engaged in both culture and politics, and participated in professional transnational social networks. The formation of close ties with foreign writers, especially Brazilians, was the result of collaboration on a number of literary and artistic projects involving the two countries. Finally, as was also the case with the mathematicians, their engagement with the arts and literature, as well as with science, constituted a way of building an alternative nationalism to that of the Portuguese regime.

1.3 Networks, international trips and relations with Brazilian society

20The arrival in Brazil of exiles from the Portuguese dictatorship, which came into being in 1926, began the following year with the arrival of the soldier and republican writer João Sarmento Pimentel. Initially he went to Rio de Janeiro, where he took part in the activities of the Centro Republicano Dr. Afonso Costa, including the publication of the journal Portugal Republicano. Between 1930 and 1945, settled in Sao Paulo, he edited the Revista Portuguesa with Ricardo Severo, which played an important role in bringing intellectuals together, above all Portuguese and Brazilian writers, and promoting mutual knowledge of the modernist literary movement in the two countries. Transnational so­cial networks were invigorated by exchanges of letters between writers, the promotion of publications, invitations to give presentations and to partici­pate in congresses etc..

21But it was the creation of the journal Portugal Democrático – an initiative of Vitor Ramos with the working class technician and communist Manuel Ferreira Moura, supported from the outset by Sarmento Pimentel and Casais Monteiro – that consolidated the left-wing social networks and transnational political exchanges (Glick-Schiller et. all, 1992). This resulted in the arrival of a number of militants and intellectuals, and in the organisation of an opposition to the regime in exile (Silva 2006). Portugal Democrático, the long-est lasting periodical of the Portuguese opposition in exile, was the vehicle that re-established the connections between the cultural and political areas and also, to a certain extent, that maintained the ties between the exiles and their country of origin. At the same time the journal was the product and an inseparable part of the left-wing networks operating in a number of countries. The establishment of this transnational left meant that the journal could now receive news, visitors and consignments, and that through the activities of its staff and its writers it could participate in political and cultural activities in support of an amnesty for political prisoners, of anti-colonialism and of freedom of expression, assuming a predominantly cosmopolitan role. The journal was published in Sao Paulo between 1956 and 1976, without ever being censured. Its collaborators included leading political and cultural figures from Portugal, Brazil and Portugal’s African colonies. As a collective enterprise each edition of the journal enjoyed the voluntary collaboration of intellectuals, workers, liberal professionals and artists, of widely differing ideologies. Thus its pages reflected both the diversity of opinion and the con­flicts within the opposition to the Estado Novo and within the journal itself.

22To the names previously mentioned should be added those of Jorge de Sena and of the members of the Movimento Matemático who came to Brazil. The arrival in exile of figures like Humberto Delgado, in 1959, highlighted the Portuguese question in both the media and the immigrant community. The in­corporation of large numbers of members of the Portuguese opposition into a variety of segments of Brazilian society contributed to closer ties between opposition members in exile and universities, publishers, trade unions, political parties and professional and student associations (Silva 2006). After a few years the journal expanded its circulation to other regions of Brazil, to opposition organisations on other continents and even to Portugal.

23Alongside this political activity, the foundation and expansion of univer­sities, as well as the establishment of new areas of academic specialization in Brazil, opened the way for the arrival through the professional social networks of a number of foreign writers and scientists, including some from Portugal. However, their engagement in Brazilian society and academic life was limited to a certain degree by bureaucratic and political impediments.

24By 1954 Casais Monteiro was facing serious difficulties making a living in Portugal. After being invited to participate in the celebrations for the 4th centenary of the city of Sao Paulo he ended up staying in Brazil, with support from both Brazilian and Portuguese contacts (Galvão 2002). A similar case was that of Jorge de Sena, who was invited to a congress in Salvador in 1959 (Ribeiro 2002). Victor Ramos arrived with the help of the communist networks, while participating in a Communist Youth Congress in Paris he met his future Brazilian wife, Dulce. He arrived in Brazil in 1953, where he worked as the France Presse correspondent until becoming a university professor. During their careers in Brazil, Casais and Sena contributed regularly to literary publications, and to the press in general, while continuing their literary and critical output and thus expanding their network of contacts. However, unlike the majority of the mathemati­cians, for Casais, Sena and Ramos exile meant the beginning of careers as researchers and university teachers. They achieved stable employment due to the creation of literature courses in the Institutos Isolados in the interior of Sao Paulo. In Brazil Sena wrote theses that formally qualified him to teach in the area of literature. Ramos completed his doctor’s degree in Sao Paulo. In 1964 he moved from the interior of the state to the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in the capital. On this occasion he was instrumental in bringing an old friend and party companion to USP, the historian Joaquim Barradas de Carvalho, whose exile also took him from Lisbon to Sao Paulo via Paris. The military coup of 1964, which established a dictatorship in Brazil, led Sena to leave the country the following year for the United States. Casais Monteiro, in 1972, and Vitor Ramos, in 1974 – one week after April 25th– both died in Brazil (see annex, Chart 3).

25Like the writers, the mathematicians could also, to a certain extent, count on a network of support for coming to Brazil and receiving academic posts. However, the arrival of Antonio Monteiro – the first member of the Movimento Matemático to arrive in Brazil – was marked by uncertainties, even before he left Portugal. Despite the arrangements made in advance with Brazilian mathematicians and physicists, and with Anísio Teixeira, bureau­cratic issues delayed his departure: “...after telling me to be ready to travel in 20 days, they left me 15 months without any news and unable to make a decision” (passage from a letter to José Leite Lopes, March 22, 1950, apud Silva 1997). In the end Monteiro left for exile in 1945 and taught for two years in what was then the University of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro; among his students many later became eminent Brazilian mathematicians and physicists. While in Rio de Janeiro he lived in Santa Teresa, in the Grand Hotel Internacional, that had recently been bought by acouple of artists, Arpad Szenes and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, popularly known as Vieira da Silva; he was a Hungarian Jew and she was Portuguese. The couple transformed the building into an atelier and a hostel for other artists, many of whom were students. However, due to pressure from the Portuguese embassy, Monteiro’s contract at the university was not renewed. In 1949, after two years of wandering from one job to another, he accepted a post at the Universidad de Cuyo in Argentina. Despite his short stay in Brazil, Monteiro was to become a figure of central importance for the arrival of other members of the Movimento Matemático in the country, due to the ceaseless efforts of his student, Leopoldo Nachbin, in bringing mathematicians to Pernambuco.

26It was this network that was responsible for the arrival of the group that constituted “the best school of Portuguese mathematicians” which “is not based in Oporto, nor in Lisbon, nor in Coimbra, but rather in Recife, here in Brazil, with Ruy Luís Gomes, Manuel Zaluar Nunes, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, José Morgado and Antonio Brotas”, as Joaquim Barradas de Carvalho wrote in one of his articles for Portugal Democrático (Carvalho 1974:16). Indeed, the ar­rival of Alfredo Pereira Gomes and Manuel Zaluar Nunes, in 1952, meant that projects that had been started in Portugal by the Movimento Matemático could be continued for two decades. Ruy Luiz Gomes’ assistant at the University of Oporto, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, coordinated the section of the Gazeta de Matemática called Movimento Matemático for several years, with news of the activities of the group. From the end of the 1940s he was a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, when he re­ceived an invitation from Luiz Freyre (cousin of the anthropologist Gilberto Freyre, collaborator in some of the projects of the Movimento Matemático and Director of the Philosophy Department at Recife University) to help set up a maths department in Pernambuco. The invitation was also extended to Manuel Zaluar Nunes, who had also been living in Paris since his dismissal from Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico, working as a researcher at the CNRS and as director of the Gazeta de Matemática. Pereira Gomes said that at first he refused the offer, as he had no plans to travel to Brazil. However, around a year later he changed his mind, due to his dissatisfaction with the Laboratory where he worked in France, and due to the favourable recommendations that he received from Brazilian academics, as well as from his former brother-in­law, the writer Adolfo Casais Monteiro. (Alfredo was the brother of the com­munist neorealist writer Soeiro Pereira Gomes, and of the writer Alice Pereira Gomes, who was married to Casais until shortly before he came to Brazil). So he contacted Luiz Freyre again to see if his offer still held, which it did due to the delays that had occurred in setting up the maths department in the University of Recife (as recounted by Alfredo Pereira Gomes).

27Ruy Luís Gomes, José Morgado and the physicist António Brotas ar­rived within a few years. Ruy Luís Gomes had held the Science Chair at the University of Oporto, from which he had been dismissed for political reasons; he had been a candidate for the presidency of Portugal in 1951, for the opposi­tion Movimento Nacional Democrático (MND), but finally left the country after being imprisoned for the third time for supporting autonomy for Goa, then a Portuguese colony. José Morgado’s is a similar story. He was one of the most important leaders of the MND and spent several years in prison before arriving in Recife in 1960. Ruy Luís Gomes arrived in Brazil two years later, after a short stay in Argentina where he taught at the Universidad del Sur in Baía Blanca at the invitation of Antonio Monteiro. António Brotas, the last to arrive in Recife, took his doctor’s degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Paris with a scholarship from the CNRS, after being sacked from the post of assistant professor at Lisbon University’s Instituto Superior Técnico. The invitation came from the mathematicians already based in Recife. Thus the Portuguese mathe­maticians and the physicist who helped to establish mathematics and physics in Recife arrived in the county in a period of just over a decade (1952-1963). Most of them lived there for many years. Ruy Luís Gomes and José Morgado closed the cycle when they returned to Portugal in 1974 after the collapse of the regime on April 25th (see annex, Chart 4).

2. Narratives of exile, cosmopolitanism and national identity

2.1. Exclusion5

  • 5 In the original Afastamentos, ‘Distancing’, from afastar – to remove or place at a distance. Afasta (...)

28When analysing how these individuals view and narrate their stories, despite personal differences, common elements are revealed, notably the references to the exclusion which they experienced throughout their lives and which be­came a central issue. Their exposure to ultranationalism, with its traditional, conservative inspiration, contributed to a demarcation of frontiers and to the questioning and rejection of this hegemonic form of nationalism. Hence the frequent statements that their exile began, at least subjectively, while they were still in Portugal. Phrases such as Jorge de Sena’s “I have always been an exile, even before leaving Portugal” (Sena 1978), or Casais Monteiro’s “In Portugal, during Salazar’s time, it was impossible to be a dignified Portuguese” (Monteiro op.cit.), are signs of their alienation from the society of their country of origin. Without a territorial place with which to identify, depending on the individual, this place becomes either science, literature, the arts or politics. In the cases studied here, the desire and disposition to take action and to go into exile were strengthened by militant ties to the op­position and the absence of professional prospects – whether due to the lack of freedom of expression, institutional support, infrastructure or adequate investment in education, science and culture – as well as the ‘suspensions’ of which they were the victims. They did not see the lack of favourable condi­tions in Portugal as permanent, but rather as a challenge to be overcome:

Returning to Portugal with the conviction that I should dedicate myself to the work of creating, or contributing to the creation, of a Centre for Physical Research, it was natural for me to attempt this at the school where I was assis­tant. Here there was actually no material for studies in my area of specializa­tion and there was almost nowhere to work. But I came prepared to face such a situation and thus did not get disheartened: I needed to start whatever the conditions were – and I started. (Letter from Valadares to Ruy Luis Gomes in Valadares op.cit.)

29It was the repeated experiences of exclusion that had led them to seek al­ternatives in other countries.

30Those who came to Brazil, despite having advanced their careers and attained success – nominations, awards, appointments to editorial and scientific committees, the creation and consolidation of graduation and post-graduation courses – had to face continuous problems of a bureaucratic nature. On the one hand, the presence of the Estado Novo in immigrants’ associations – and the emphasis on national unity – meant that they could not identify with these associations and their leaders, nor with the majority of Portuguese settlers, preferring to refer to themselves as exiles, emigrants or the diaspora, as opposed to other immigrants, in order to emphasise the political nature of their exile and their ties to their native country (Silva 2007). On the other hand, the delay in their work contracts and the difficul­ties they found in establishing themselves in the country can be seen both in the case of Antonio Monteiro and in the spying and suspicion to which they were subject on a number of occasions. Indeed, just as illegal practices have become transnational, so international left-wing networks led to trans­national repression mechanisms that involved the cooperation of more than one Nation-state (cf. the cases analysed by Azevedo & Sanjurjo, in this issue).

31The description by Alfredo Pereira Gomes of the situation he confronted after inviting José Morgado and Ruy Luís Gomes to Recife is a good illustration:

I was summoned to the Portuguese consulate and the consul asked me to sign a commitment that Dr. José Morgado ‘was not coming to engage in politics in Recife’. I replied jovially ‘Consul, I wouldn’t even sign such a statement for myself. But tell me, honestly, whether during the last seven years, my work, and that of Professor Zaluar Nunes, has improved or worsened the image of Portugal in Brazil’ He ended by agreeing it was better to allow Morgado to come... (Gomes 1997: 78)

32Sena also discusses exile while describing the process for obtaining Brazilian citizenship, which was granted in 1963, and the feeling of exclusion both in Brazil and Portugal, as in the former he was excluded from receiving literary awards due to being a foreigner (Sena 1988: 10-11).

(...) In Brazil, as I always remained the Portuguese writer that I was, they have systematically ignored, and continue to ignore, that I’m a Brazilian citizen. If I were from any other country perhaps this wouldn’t occur to the same extent; but I am Portuguese, a condition, apart from official lunches, treated with great suspicion on both sides of the Atlantic (Ibid:10).

33This situation reveals some of the frustrations they experienced in Brazilian society. It is clearly in part the result of the century-old relationship between the two countries and of the colonial past. In his comments on the Portuguese philologist Manuel Rodrigues Lapa, the Brazilian historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda accused him of a colonialist attitude towards the univer­sity students of Belo Horizonte where he worked (Silva, 2007). In some of his letters Sena describes the difficulties he experienced when he submitted his doctor’s thesis for approval, which would give him full rights to exercise his profession in Brazil, and accused the literary critic Afrânio Coutinho of being responsible (Sena 1991). The concern with avoiding anything that could be construed as a ‘colonialist attitude’ can be seen in this quote from the painter Fernando Lemos, a friend of Casais and Sena:

... I already knew that I should never express myself in any sort of colonial manner. I held a number of quite important posts, I was director of the Centro Cultural, among others... in cultural departments where I worked, along with others, I often found myself thinking ‘It’s odd. Be careful Mr. Lemos. Because this business of doing everything because the others don’t know what to do doesn’t work in your favour. You teach, you have experience, ok, but you are being a coloniser! So I had to be careful that this didn’t become a sort of master/slave relationship: “I’m teach­ing the slaves because the poor things don’t know anything.” Much of the time I was almost right, because the others were so completely unprepared and had so little experience that it was a terrible effort for them! I helped people to graduate, to become someone... but this complex bothered me a little. (Fernando Lemos)

34A similar event occurred with Casais Monteiro as a result of the nation­alist reaction to him from some of the Brazilian critics, who ‘protested that a new series called Nossos Clássicos (‘Our Classics’) started with a volume dedicated to Fernando Pessoa (Monteiro 1961: 139). Casais, who had organised the volume, was indignant at the criticism, as he considered the word ‘our’ to refer to classics of the Portuguese language, which went beyond the national frontiers between Brazil and Portugal (Perrone-Moisés 2003: 57).

35With the end of the dictatorship, most of the intellectuals who were still in exile after April 25th, 1974, tried to return to Portugal and re-establish themselves, but a few did not want to go or gave the idea up. Alfredo Pereira Gomes, who returned before April 25th, said to me: “...once an exile, always an exile.” There was a certain bitterness when he talked of the difficulties he faced on his return, and a certain rejection of the country, even under a dem­ocratic regime. Similar frustrations appear in the writings of Jorge de Sena, who tried to return but in the end remained in the United States.

36To sum up, the exclusion that characterises the stories of these exiles is first seen in their political and professional exclusion in Portugal, then in the experience of exclusion as exiles, and finally after their return to their country of origin. To a certain extent it is this exclusion that explains their participation in cosmopolitan networks, at a time when exile offered them the opportunity to continue their personal and collective projects. Political activity became especially important in the lives of these people who felt per­manently displaced, but through such engagement could feel included. This political (and cultural) activity led to a feeling of simultaneous transnational and cosmopolitan belonging, through left-wing political networks involving artists, scientists and political militants, and also of national belonging, albeit with an identity that differentiated them from other immigrants, ex­pressed in the use of terms like emigrants, diaspora and exile.

37It is important that their practice of politics should not be interpreted in a narrow sense, but within the context of culture and of cultural activity. In this sense cultural, scientific, artistic and literary activity is also political activity (and an activity that challenges hegemonic nationalism). Nor is there a case for a narrow interpretation of culture – at the service of political or party ideology – but rather as it was practiced by the individuals studied here, making connections between culture and politics. Even in the political struggle it is fair to question whether these individuals did not feel displaced. In 1963, faced with the imminent domination of the Portugal Democrático by the PCP, Sena, Casais, Fernando Lemos and others withdrew from the edito­rial committee, only to collaborate sporadically on specific occasions (Silva, 2006). The ostracism of Casais in Portugal before he left, and the arrival of Ramos, facilitated by his connections in the professional networks, and above all in the left-wing political ones, led to Sena, who left the country vol­untarily, and had always expressed himself independently politically, being accused on a number of occasions of not being a real exile (Silva, 2007). The accusations came from individuals or factions disputing legitimacy as politi­cal leaders in exile. Sena expressed political opinions and engaged in politics, but always in a cultural/literary context, in a way that excluded him from closer ties to political movements and parties.

38The question remains to what extent such exclusion affected other exiles, and whether in fact it is an experience common to every exile.

2.2 Cosmopolitanism and national identity

39Theoretical analyses of the contribution of migrants (and of exiles) towards the construction of a cosmopolitan dialogue, with emphasis on the individ­uals’ experience, describing specific ways of relating to the world, that com­plement but also compete with other modus vivendi, are a recent phenomenon (Sen et all. 2008; Werbner 2008; Glick-Schiller, Darieva & Gruner-Domic, 2011). Studies of cosmopolitanism tend to see it as a supranational collective project, emphasizing its normative aspect. Even in the literature that studies the narratives of migrants and exiles to elucidate cosmopolitanism, some aspects are given insufficient attention, or are even neglected. These include those already discussed in this article: a) experiences of exclusion, offset by engagement in cosmopolitan dialogue and practical transnational networks; b) the concept that cosmopolitanism does not necessarily imply exclusion from other registers (national, regional, local, depending on the case; particularism, but not the traditional form of broaching local belonging).

40Thus it becomes possible to find elements of a cosmopolitan discourse that express a certain type nationalism (albeit removed from the centre) among the writers and scientists discussed in this article. Expressions of cosmopolitanism include: a manifestation of being open to the world, on the plane of knowledge and ideas; the affirmation of humanism, converted into solidarity on issues common to the human condition, and the insepa­rable ties between professional conduct and ethical/political commitment. However, with a few exceptions, these bonds with humanity do not imply a rejection of national belonging or of forms of nationalism, except in the case of a specific form of hegemonic nationalism and patriotism. In fact, the specific nature of this oscillation deserves more detailed examination. To what extent is cosmopolitanism a form of construction of an alternative na­tional discourse to that of the Portuguese Estatdo Novo with its ‘proudly alone’ slogan? To what extent does this apparent contradiction in fact constitute dialectic tensions between two registers (cosmopolitanism and nationalism) that are not mutually exclusive, and may coexist in complex ways? It should also be pointed out that these perspectives result from collective transnation­al experiences involving distinct but interconnected social fields – connec­tions and interactions between people and institutions that cross the borders of nation-states (Glick-Schiller et. all 1992) – in the life stories, careers and view points and of these individuals.

41Participation in a public transnational sphere – despite the dictatorships of the time – allowed these individuals to express solidarity and identities that are not based on a kind of appropriation of space where contiguity and face-to-face contact are of fundamental importance. This, in turn, makes any strict interpretation limited to community or locality obsolete (Gupta & Ferguson 1992), without excluding, however, the coexistence between cosmo­politanism and particularism.

42Criticism of nationalism, restricted to the fields of art and literature, can be found in the works of Casais and Sena, and in the literary criticism of Vitor Ramos. For Sena and Casais the universal nature of literature and the arts is manifest in the inner exile, the essential drama of the artist, the required con­dition for his inconformity and creativity. For some analysts of Sena his writ­ings about exile, above all in his book Exorcismos, express his identification with a homeland beyond nationalism, the homeland of literature (Fagundes 1999; Gândara 1999; Santos 1999). In a number of his texts Casais talks about the poet who sees himself as an exile in his own country and of the posture he adopted as a foreigner, as in the title of his last book of poetry O Estrangeiro Definitivo (‘The Ultimate Foreigner’). Vitor Ramos chose to study a range of texts that in one way or another broached the subject of exile as an option, or an attitude of the writer towards life (Oliveira 2009). As far as the scientists discussed here are concerned, there are constant references to the universal nature of mathematics (and physics) in their writings. Above all they mention the possibility of dialogue and exchange of knowledge in a language which transcends national and local particularities, which facilitated their interna­tional travels as well as their exchanges in exile (despite some mention of the difficulties encountered in certain local contexts.)

43Other practical situations I could mention, that reinforced the percep­tion of exile and hence of being a foreigner wherever you are, include the continual refusal of travelling visas, at times ‘valid only for Portugal’, which intimidated many and prevented them from applying for Brazilian citizen­ship. Casais Monteiro was even refused a visa to enter Portugal (Portugal Democrático 1961: 8). Manuel Zaluar Nunes and Alfredo Pereira Gomes were re­quired to present a written request for pardon in order to return to Portugal. The fact is that being in exile was not a comfortable position, even when rel­atively successful incorporation in the host country had been achieved. With all these frustrations and obstacles, the questions remains: is it possible to be truly cosmopolitan, beyond the discursive space? I think the answer is yes, because this is effectively a perspective of experience that mobilizes a num­ber of resources for action, both symbolic and material. What has to be ruled out in any analysis is the illusion that cosmopolitan practices occur without impediments; for this could only occur in a world without borders.

44Despite the individuals discussed in this article having contributed towards a cosmopolitan space, and to some extent shared the idea that they were citizens of the world, at no time did they forget their country of origin. In Brazil this had certain specific consequences. In addition to the occasional accusations of colo­nialism and manifestations of nationalism of which they were the targets, there was a constant questioning of the validity of a Portuguese scientist or intellectu­al as a result of the prejudiced view of the Portuguese in the popular imagination as backward and ignorant. This was counteracted by the general commitment of scientists and artist in Portugal, as intellectuals, to notions such as duty, task and mission, already discussed in this article. Thus it could be argued that the extensive world travels of these intellectuals did not only represent cosmopoli­tanism but was also a positive affirmation of being Portuguese in the world, of belonging to that nation but with an alternative national ideology (Fox 1990); of belonging to a place they had left and then returned to.

  • 6 The Proclamation of the Portuguese Republic, October 5, 1910. TN

45In Brazil, their participation in social militant political networks, and in initiatives undertaken by Portugal Democrático, such as the Committee of Portuguese Artists and Intellectuals for Free Speech, the celebrations of October 5th6 and the publication of yearly dossiers denouncing the Colonial War that were presented to the UN (a document that was always signed first by the mathematician Ruy Luis Gomes), strengthened both their ties with the country of origin and their condition as exiles. Accused by immigrants and supporters of the regime of being antipatriotic and traitors, they on the other hand perceived themselves as patriots, albeit the defenders of ‘a different patriotism’ (Silva 2007). At the same time, their demand for intellectual and artistic autonomy, beyond the limitations of nationalism, did not imply in­difference to the country of origin or lack of national identity.

46In most of the cases analysed in this article, exile meant not only the continuation of personal and/or collective projects that were unfeasible in Portugal, but also of the close connection between professional activity and politics and citizenship. The continuation of the publication of the Portugaliae Mathematica and the Gazeta de Matemática in exile, first in France and later in Brazil. is a good example of this. (There was a brief interruption after the death of Manuel Zaluar Nunes in 1967, who had been responsible for the two publications). The publication of Portugal Democrático during almost two decades (1956 to 1975) provided support for militancy in the opposition, which in most cases had started before the individuals concerned had left for exile. Not without difficulty, Jorge de Sena, Casais Monteiro, Antonio Monteiro and others managed to pursue their careers.

47Thus two apparently contradictory, but complementary, tendencies can be seen: on the one hand a cosmopolitan outlook (we don’t belong to a spe­cific place, or our place is the world, mathematics or literature) and nation­alism (despite our divergence from the national hegemonic ideology, we are Portuguese). In this sense, these individuals were not only writers, scientists or intellectuals, but Portuguese writers, scientists and intellectuals, in that their commitment was not only to the cause of science, or the arts, or litera­ture per se, but also to Portugal, or rather to Portuguese culture. The dissem­ination of what can generically be referred to as Portuguese culture was not restricted to Portugal alone, although there was a concern with the extensive improvement of education and the access to knowledge in that country.

Illustration 1. A page from Portugal Democrático with the full text of the annual dossier denouncing the colonial war in Africa sent to the UN Assembly (Portugal Democrático 1968)

48Faced with the personal frustration of returning to his country of origin at the end of his exile and continuing to feel displaced, in his writings Jorge de Sena tends towards the opinion that it was not necessary to be in Portugal to contribute to Portuguese culture. Thus being a Portuguese intellectual, from this viewpoint, implied bringing a particular way of perceiving the world and of generating knowledge, not just to Portugal, but to the world; a viewpoint expressed, if not in a universal language, in a language translata­ble in a number of historical and social contexts. The continuous use in exile of terms like task, mission etc., to refer to intellectual output and to a commit-ment to Portugal and to science, gave a new significance to the practice of the profession. Even travelling to many different countries these parameters of belonging, conceived as non-territorial, grew stronger.

49To conclude, the dialectic tensions that they experienced during their lives made forms of political engagement possible and activated concepts of belonging that were not restricted to a single register, constituting a kind of awareness characterised by a double or multiple identity (being here or there, at home or far from home) – reflecting the diverse connections of the exiles. Despite the tensions between the condition of being Portuguese and the cos­mopolitanism that resulted from the expansion of their contacts abroad and the internationalisation of the struggle against the Estado Novo, these individ­uals were internationally recognised intellectuals committed to democracy, as well as nationalists who expressed themselves not only as intellectuals but above all as Portuguese intellectuals. This places them in an arena of activity and political issues that, as Beck affirms (1998), can only be adequately ex­posed, debated and possibly resolved within a transnational context.

Chart 1: Leading members of the Núcleo de Matemática, Física e Química (fellows or not)

Chart 2: Scientists and their participation in the main initiatives of the Movimento Matemático

Chart 2 (cont): Scientists and their participation in the main initiatives of the Movimento Matemático

Chart 3: Casais Monteiro, Jorge de Sena and Vitor Ramos international and Professional circulation

Chart 4: International and professional circulation of Portuguese mathematicians and physicists exiled in Brazil

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Bibliography

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FOX, Richard. 1990. Nationalist ideologies and the production of national cultures. Washington D.C: American Ethnological Monograph Series, Number 2.

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Annex

Portugal Democrático, all the 205 editions catalogued, june 1956 to abril 1975 Gazeta de Matemática (january 1940 to november 1947, 34 editions)

Biblioteca Museu República e Resistência (Republic and Opposition Library and Museum), Lisbon, Portugal:

file “Estado Novo Oposição no Estrangeiro”;

file “Estado Novo Oposição no Estrangeiro – Imprensa”;

file “Escritores e Exílio”.

Instituto de Arquivos Nacionais/Torre do Tombo (PIDE/DGS file), Lisbon, Portugal. Record: Victor de Almeida Ramos SC Bol – 7975; SC SR 833/47 2603.

Fernando Lemos (interview): June 16, 1999, São Paulo/SP. Dulce Helena Pessoa Ramos: July 14, 1999, São Paulo/SP.

Alfredo Pereira Gomes (interview): July 15, 2005, Lisbon, Portugal. Antonio Brotas: July 22, 2005, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Notes

1 In the original afastamento, from afastar – to remove or place at a distance. Afastamento is used both as the euphemistic term adopted by the Salazar regime when it sacked anti-government teachers or officials – in English the closest equivalent would be ‘suspension’ – and in the broader sense for the feeling of exclusion experienced by the exiles – exclusion from the country of origin and exclusion from integration in the host country. These three types of afastamento form a unified theme in the original article, something not possible to transmit in translation. TN

2 My thanks go to the anonymous analysts of Vibrant for the suggestions that contributed to the improvement of this article. I am especially grateful to Igor José de Renó Machado for drawing my attention to the “native jewel” in his possession, as well as to Bela Feldman-Bianco, Desirée Lemos de Azevedo and Liliana Lopes Sanjurjo for their partnership, reading and criticism, all of inestimable value.

3 The term used is estrangeirados – from estrangeiro, ‘foreigner’ – meaning individuals influenced, or tainted, by foreign ideas/politics/customs/culture. TN

4 PIDE/DGS file, record for Vitor Ramos

5 In the original Afastamentos, ‘Distancing’, from afastar – to remove or place at a distance. Afastamento is used both as the euphemistic term adopted by the Salazar regime when it sacked anti-government teachers or officials – in English the closest equivalent would be ‘suspension’ – and in the broader sense of the feeling of exclusion experienced by the exiles – exclusion/distance from the country of origin and exclusion from integration in the host country. These various types of afastamento form a unified theme in the original article, something not possible to transmit in translation. TN

6 The Proclamation of the Portuguese Republic, October 5, 1910. TN

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List of illustrations

Caption Figure 1. Portugaliae Mathematica n.1 Gazeta de Matemática n.1
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 52k
Caption Illustration 1. A page from Portugal Democrático with the full text of the annual dossier denouncing the colonial war in Africa sent to the UN Assembly (Portugal Democrático 1968)
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 72k
Caption Chart 1: Leading members of the Núcleo de Matemática, Física e Química (fellows or not)
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-3.png
File image/png, 64k
Caption Chart 2: Scientists and their participation in the main initiatives of the Movimento Matemático
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-4.png
File image/png, 25k
Caption Chart 2 (cont): Scientists and their participation in the main initiatives of the Movimento Matemático
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-5.png
File image/png, 73k
Caption Chart 3: Casais Monteiro, Jorge de Sena and Vitor Ramos international and Professional circulation
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-6.png
File image/png, 28k
Caption Chart 4: International and professional circulation of Portuguese mathematicians and physicists exiled in Brazil
URL http://vibrant.revues.org/docannexe/image/1619/img-7.png
File image/png, 58k
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References

Electronic reference

Douglas Mansur da Silva, « Portuguese writers and scientists exiled in Brazil  », Vibrant [Online], v10n2 | 2014, Online since 30 January 2014, connection on 21 July 2017. URL : http://vibrant.revues.org/1619

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About the author

Douglas Mansur da Silva

Social Sciences Department, Universidade Federal de Viçosa

By this author

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