By R. BENEDITO FERRÃO
2017, “[Book Review],” Journal of Lusophone Studies 2(1): 212-214. Download the PDF here.
In translating and compiling these 45 stories in the double volume Lengthening Shadows, editor Paul Melo e Castro showcases the legacy of the Portuguese short story from the former region of Goa Portuguesa. Held by the Portuguese between 1510 and 1961, Goa was the capital of Luso-Asia and the Estado da Índia Portuguesa. For Melo e Castro’s purposes, the anthology functions as “the autopsy of a dead literature,” focused as it is on a corpus that spans the period between 1864 and 1987 (8). After its 451-year colonization by Portugal, Goa was annexed by the Indian nation-state in 1961, a diminished literary output in Portuguese being a marker of the change in the enclave’s political identity. Even as the collection brings together a range of Portuguese stories by Goan authors, Melo e Castro’s introduction to the work dwells on the writers’ literary styles, their historical and social milieux, and links that could be made across the collection. In tying together Portuguese-language cultural production with Goa’s Portuguese identity, the edited volume looks to Goa’s past to recall its literary heritage. In this, the book is a testament, but its very publication may evidence a cultural continuity that cannot be so easily relegated to a bygone era.