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Literary Sintra

Lord Byron | Robert Southey | William Beckford | José Maria Ferreira de Castro | Sintra in Music

Amazon. Sintra: A Glorious Eden by Malcolm Jack. Hardcover from Carcanet. The Gulbenkian foundation helped publish it and have a short blurb:

"Sintra: A Glorious Eden evokes the magic of the royal town, at the same time providing the reader with the historical and literary background to what has become a symbol of Portuguese Romanticism at home and abroad. It combines the genre of travel writing with the history and romantic legacy of Portugal."

Lord Byron

Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" etext. Canto 18 has the reference to Sintra.

"Lo! Cintra's glorious Eden intervenes
In variegated maze of mount and glen.
Ah me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen,
To follow half on which the eye dilates
Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates,
Who to the awe-struck world unlocked Elysium's gates?"

Letter to Francis Hodgson, July 16, 1809, also here.

"I must just observe that the village of Cintra in Estramadura is the most beautiful, perhaps in the world. I am very happy here, because I loves oranges and talk bad Latin to the monks, who understand it, as it is like their own [language], and I goes into society (with my pocket pistols)..."

A wonderful find: Diary of John Cam Hobhouse, who accompanied Byron on his Sintra trip. The trick? It's in Latin, with a translation by Peter Cochran.

Intemperate editorial tangent: It's fun Latin! Cochran is right that some of it is "dog Latin," but so what? It was intended as a diary, and fun-loving, well-educated men of a certain stamp enjoy writing Orangeorum more than they would a tiresome periphrasis or an ugly unclassical word. It was certainly bracing to see the abbreviation Beckfordii Angli Sod.—"Beckford the English Sod(omite)." I do have some quibbles, however, but I'll place them in a footnote.[1]

Byron, The poetical works of Lord Byron. A comprehensive 1875 edition. This link is to all references to Cintra. (Courtesy the University of Michigan's Making of America project).

The Byron Chronology (1809-1811). Chronology edited by Ann R. Hawkins.

Robert Southey

Robert Southey, The life and correspondence of Robert Southey (1851). Southey described Sintra as "the most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe." He lived for a time in Sintra (always spelled "Cintra"), and his letters mention the city a lot. The link above is to an index of references to the city. (Courtesy the University of Michigan's Making of America project).

William Beckford

Amazon. Vathek and Other Stories: A William Beckford Reader by William Beckford (Penguin Classics). Edited by Malcolm Jack, the author of Sintra: A Glorious Eden .

Review of Vathek by Simon McLeish. McLeish has a wonderful set of 1,100 of his book reviews; he has, unfortunately, stopped writing them

"William Beckford was an eccentric millionaire; his short novel Vathek is an eccentric novel."

Bekfordiana: The William Beckford Website. Dick Claésson runs this everything-Beckford site. So far, however, they don't have much on Monseratte.

José Maria Ferreira de Castro

Biography of Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) with details on his grave on the path leading up to the Moorish Castle, and his work in Sintra.

Ferreira de Castro Museum in Sintra. It's a house museum.

A short descrption of the Ferreira de Castro museum by Sílvia Padr´┐Żo, from viajar.clix.pt.

Sintra in Music

Amazon. Sintra by Rui Serodio, long-time Sintra resident. The author reviewed his work on Amazon, explaining it in autobiographical terms.

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