Dale Luis Menezes will present a paper titled, “Reginald Fernandes and Concanim ‘Romans’ in the Literary History of Goa”

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Dale Luis Menezes will present a paper titled, “Reginald Fernandes and Concanim ‘Romans’ in the Literary History of Goa” at the III Congresso Internacional do LIA – Laboratório de Interlocuções com a Ásia, on 19 October, 2017 at Casa de Portugal, São Paulo, Brazil. This presentation will be part of the Pensando Goa project, which aims to produce a literary history of Goa.


Reginald Fernandes’ writing career spans almost 40 years. This period that stretched around c 1955-1992, Fernandes wrote more than 120 novels or what in Concanim came to be known as ‘romans’ or ‘romaxeo’ (pl.). The Concanim ‘romans’ is not adequately studied, neither in the history of Konknni literature nor in the history of Goan literature. Fernandes’ writings give the impression of pulp on first glance: they were printed on cheap paper, the books were pocket-sized, the plots were formulaic and revolved around love stories, crimes, and magic realism, and the language used had a touch of the dramatic in it. Perhaps this is the reason why dominant canons of Konkani and Goan literature never seriously considered the writings of Fernandes – or indeed other writers in the genre of ‘romans’ – as legitimately constituting literature.


Fernandes’ writings not only talk about Goa, but also other places like Africa – often set in a magic realism-esque manner. The language used in Fernandes’ novels is infused with Portuguese or Portuguese-inflected words, and as such it points to larger connections across linguistic and geographical boundaries. Fernandes was inspired by pulp fiction in English – both in English pulp writings and films—which also suggests that Goan literature through the Concanim ‘romans’ had wider connections with other literary cultures. This study proposes to discuss the life and career of Fernandes and locate him in the historical context in which he produced his oeuvre.

Reading Reginald: Between “Venice” and “Russia”

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During a recent visit to the Central Library in Panjim, I stumbled upon an entry in the database titled “Theatr Neketr Fuddarachem” authored by “Reginaldo Fernandes”. Knowing that generally Reginald Fernandes used an anglicized version of his name in most of his romanses, I decided to make sure if it was the same Reginald that I was interested in. The book procured for me was a small, pocket-sized one with no more than 70 pages which had badly yellowed and had become brittle as well. This book was published from Bombay in 1936.



Reading Reginald: Inside Africa

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The last time I had written about the Konkani novelist Reginald Fernandes, I had suggested that to understand such writings as romans (and even tiatrs) we would have to think anew and look more closely into these writings. Accordingly, I had hinted that the way Reginald Fernandes understood and conceptualized ‘dignidad’ could be one of the many ways to understand the corpus of writings written in the Roman script. In response to my article, many felt (through social media) that Fernandes’ books should be put back in circulation. Though such an initiative would be welcome, this was not the point I was trying to make. Rather, what I wanted to do was to initiate critical discussion on the possibilities that are available in Fernandes’ writings.



Reading Reginald: Magic, Love, and ‘Dignidad’

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Reginald Fernandes was one of Konkani’s most proficient writers, having more than a hundred books to his credit, with his avid readers excitedly waiting for his next offering. Fernandes wrote romans, which can be translated as novels (or novelettes, if one is being pedantic). Although Fernandes, and the genre of Konkani writing to which he contributed immensely was and is very popular, the romans as well as Fernandes have not received the critical scholarly and literary appreciation, that they so rightfully deserves.