: Falar Verdade a Mentir (Hardback): Language: Portuguese. Brand New Book. FALAR VERDADE A MENTIR.(CLASSICOS PORTO EDITORA) ( ) and a 2. Falar Verdade a Mentir. Garrett, Almeida. Published by PORTO. Falar verdade a mentir by João Baptista de Almeida Garrett at – ISBN – ISBN – Edições Colibri –

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Oxford, 26 de Novembro de Garrett, as dramatist, tends to be a man of a single work. This seems always to have been the case. Today the tragedy continues to be very successful, both in terms of staging and in the quantity of critical attention gzrrett it receives. Um Auto de Gil Vicente is not exactly forgotten. But it is usually thought of as a cultural event, a turning-point in the history of Portuguese Romanticism, rather than as a work of art in its own right.

Garrett himself claimed that the play, first staged inmarked the start of a truly national style of drama in Portugal, and that is a view frequently repeated, especially in histories of literature. Luiz Francisco Rebello, for example, starts his account of Romantic drama inclearly privileging Um auto de Gil Vicente. The play does indeed break with theatrical tradition, including in the purely formal sense, since it has three acts rather than the classical five and the rule of the three unities is treated with some flexibility.

In my view, though, the play is underpinned by a structure which is clearly classical in origen. Um auto de Gil Vicente is already looking as though it deserves more than the page or two allotted to it in literary histories. So far as I know, the only critic to have gone beyond a purely text-book approach to the play is Helena Barbas, whose page essay is published in her Almeida Garrett, o trovador moderno. Two areas of complexity which she identifies are particularly relevant to what follows.

She shows how the plebeian Paula, daughter of Gil Vicente, grows in stature as the plays progresses and in the end dominates the stage. Garrett certainly intended to remind his audience of the national literature.

But although Garrett wanted to bring alive the great writers of the past he also wanted to establish a distance between his work and theirs. He does not absorb them magically or symbolically, as Barbas believes, but puts them in their place, fitting them into the structure of his own, classical comedy.

In that Bernardim plays the part of the adulescens, or young lover, foolish and feckless, while Gil Vicente is a comic servant, neither very dignified roles. The roles allow for a certain flexibility of approach. Bernardim can be a poet and novelist, as well as a lover, and Gil Vicente a playwright, though admittedly a distracted and disorganized one.

But there is no doubt that it is Garrett who is in charge. By pigeonholing his characters, making them conform to unflattering classical stereotypes, he is distracting attention from their contribution to literature and concentrating on his. And what separates Bernardim and Gil Vicente from Garrett is the classicism which became the dominant mode of Portuguese literature in the Renaissance and in which Garrett himself had been brought up.

Such a background made it difficult for him to appreciate certain literary forms, like drama, unless they conformed in some way to Graeco-Roman patterns. Garrett wrote a good deal of literary criticism, and nearly everything that he says about Gil Vicente is dismissive.

The joke depends on the ironic use of the modern titles Dona and Mademoiselle, the French word being a hint that Gil Vicente was always prepared to follow the fashions of the court. The same irony reappears in D. Gil Vicente the man is characterized in much the same way as Gil Vicente the dramatist. He is creative, but disorganized, finding it easier to think about future literary projects than solve the practical and human problems that face him.

Bicentenário de Almeida Garrett

As usual, Paula hits the nail on the head: Meu pobre pai, como ele vive enganado! In reality, he is little more than a aomeida, tolerated by the court because he is amusing.


At one level the aristocratic Bernardim seems to be a very different character from Gil Vicente. The difference between them is social; as artists and as human beings they have much in menir. He nearly brings disgrace upon himself and upon the princess, and is only rescued through the efforts of the actors, especially Paula Vicente who, like her father, is little more than a servant. In this way, too, he can flatter his nineteenth-century bourgeois audience by almeifa to them the progress made by literature between the sixteenth century and their own time.

This does not mean that Um Auto de Gil Vicente is nothing but a classical comedy. It is an extremely complex work of literature, which incorporates many and diverse forms of discourse. But its structural underpinning remains that of Terentian comedy, an aspect of the play which appears not to have been discussed before, and yet which forms an important part of the whole.

The basic structure of Gzrrett comedy has formed the plot of innumerable plays in every Western European language. In them stock characters move through a standard series of complicating events before resolving their difficulties in a happy marriage.

A young man of good family, referred grarett by critics since ancient times as adulescensloves a young woman, puella or meretrix.

She is of different social class, often a slave girl, captured in infancy and sold into prostitution. The adulescensimpetuous but scatter-brained and unaware of the realities of life, tries to outwit his father and also the owner of the girl, the lenoor pimp, by tricks of one kind or another, often involving a disguise.

In this he relies heavily on his slave, servuswho is usually the brains of the enterprise. Almost invariably the tricks and disguises practised by adulescens and servus lead to further complications, which require all the wiliness of the slave to sort out. And when all seems lost a relative arrives unexpectedly from abroad with the news that, after all, puella was not born a slave but is a girl of respectable parents who is free, therefore, to marry her love-sick admirer.

Filipa de Vilhena are three-act plays, but others are much shorter. Some are original works by Garrett, others were written in collaboration with friends or colleagues or are based on French originals. What is surprising about this very varied body of theatre is the number of occasions in which the Roman comic plan, or something approximating to it, is used.

Falar verdade a mentirfor example, is a one-act play of based on an original by the French dramatist Scribe.

Frei Luis De Sousa/Falar a Verdade a Mentir : Almeida Garrett :

But behind Garrett and Scribe the Terentian structure is clearly visible. It is the fact that the servant is a lover that makes him into a convincing actor, a development not found in Falat but one which is very important to Um Auto de Gil Vicente also. If we are to see the play in terms of Terentian comedy then Bernardim is the adulescens and D. They are separated by a difference of social rank, though D. Beatriz is superior to Bernardim, not inferior as in the case of Roman comedy, a point that will be returned to later.

Insofar as he knows about the relationship the senex, D. Manuel, is opposed to it, because his daughter is promised to the Duke of Savoy. Equally opposed to anything that might compromise D.

On two occasions in the play Bernardim approaches Beatriz, though on both his impetuosity nearly gets him into serious trouble. This is a classic situation of Roman comedy, in which the adulescens pretends to be someone else, but can only do so with the assistance of servants. There is no doubt that Gil Vicente and his troupe are treated as servants, a fact which his daughter Paula, easily the most perceptive of these characters, bitterly resents: But servants can also be comically incompetent, like Gil Vicente himself.

The suspicions of both D. Manuel and Chatel are aroused. In Act III, scene 9 Chatel confronts Paula and gives the clever servant a splendid opportunity for thinking on her feet. The point has already been made that Um Auto de Gil Vicente is a many layered play.

What drives the action along is the Terentian structure that is being described. But Garrett also includes elements of another plot structure which is not classical but can be found in the Renaissance drama of Spain and England, as well as in certain plays of Gil Vicente. In these plays humour is found in the spectacle of a chain of hopeless lovers. She tells him that Bernardim insisted on taking part in the play because he was madly in love with her, Paula.


Paula tells a factual lie about Bernardim, but remains truthful to her own feelings. In another sense, too, she remains truthful to her mistress, the princess, by not betraying her.

Falar Verdade a Mentir

A further level of mengir is implied by the fact that, by profession, Paula is an actress. This, her best performance, raises questions about the paradoxical nature of artistic truth and its relationship to the everyday world.

Finally, and most importantly, it is Paula, a woman, who transforms the role of servus callidus into a remarkable apology for the theatre. It is not just a question of the servant almeidq cleverer than his or her master or mistress, which had long been a potentially subversive element in the classical comic tradition. Paula shows how a woman can triumph in the traditionally male world of diplomacy. And yet although situations as complex as this never arise in Terence, the scene has its original inspiration in a Davus or a Syrus with his back to the wall coming up with something which will garreett an outraged senex or a leno who thinks he has been tricked out of his girl and his money.

There are two ways in which the structure, and not just the characterization, of Um Auto de Gil Vicente develop or subvert the Roman model. One has already been mentioned: Beatriz is a princess, not a vrrdade.

It could be argued that this is a relatively trivial consideration, that mwntir is really significant is the difference in rank between puella and adulescens.

Books by Almeida Garrett

Certainly the great changes in social life between ancient times and the Europe of the sixteenth century led the Renaissance imitators of Terence to change the convention that the heroine had to be a loose woman.

But in the case of Um Auto de Gil Vicente it is not necessary to invoke this argument, because marriages of state are a form of prostitution. Beatriz is, after all, being sent abroad to live with a man almedia she does not know. Since, in addition, she is to be married to him she will be forced not only to prostitute her body, but also her feelings.

The point slmeida already been made that Um Auto de Gil Vicente is not verdadde a neat classical comedy. That is nowhere more apparent than at the end of the play, where Garrett subverts or even abandons the structure that had been established by Terence.

So he omits entirely the recognition scene and the happy ending and in the final scenes the lovers are not united, but verdads definitively.

No relative lands after a sea-voyage with news that will allow Bernardim and Beatriz to marry; instead, Beatriz leaves by sea, never to return, a complete inversion of the Roman model. It may even be that the play has a tragic ending: He was certainly not sufficiently Romantic to appreciate the aesthetic value of late medieval drama, but by he was not content either to follow the structure of Roman comedy throughout his own play.

Indeed the whole play could be seen in that light. Manuel, Gil Vicente and Bernardim Ribeiro are all, each in his own way, great historical mdntir, and yet they are made to operate through a structure which is that of light comedy.

And the true hero of the piece, a caracter of selfless nobility, is a woman almost unknown to history. Um Auto de Gil Vicente is interesting because it keeps us guessing.