Item #8124 Canções. Antonio BOTTO.


Lisbao: Olisipo (1922).

Item #8124

The second edition of these controversial poems, many of which are explicitly homosexual in content and which created a furor when published in this ediiton. The previous year, Botto had published the first edition of the poems, which were largely ignored until his friend Fernando Pessoa issued the present edition under his Olisipo imprint and publicly praised the poems. Conservatives reacted strongly against the poems, calling them "sodom's literature" and the book was banned by the authorities in 1923. Catholic college students clamored for a burning of the book, but Botto refused to apologize for his work. Botto was openly homosexual throughout his life and later struggled to survive by writing children's books and short essays. Pessoa, Portugal's pre-eminent modernist literary figure, considered Botto the only Portuguese poet worthy of the label "aesthete" and, as a critic and publisher, championed his work. Pessoa translated the poems into English, which were eventually published in 1948 (see below).
To publicize the book, Pessoa wrote a provocative article, published in the journal Comtemporânea, (see below) praising the author’s courage and sincerity for shamelessly singing homosexual love as a true aesthete. Pessoa's article prompted the critic Alvaro Maia to excoriate Botto’s work, which was then followed by another article by Raul Leal (an openly homosexual writer, friend of Pessoa).
Conservatives reacted and complained to the authorities about the work’s immorality ("Sodom's literature") and the book was confiscated by the authorities in 1923. The Liga de Acção dos Estudantes de Lisboa [Lisbon Students Action League], a Catholic college students group (lead by Pedro Teotónio Pereira) clamored for an auto-da-fé of Botto's book and someone even suggested the author should be hanged. Nevertheless, most artists and intellectuals promptly took up his defence in several polemic articles.
Eventually, the scandal subsided, the next year the ban was lifted and until the end of his life Botto would publish several revised versions of the book. His work was applauded by Antonio Machado, Miguel de Unamuno, Camilo Pessanha, Virginia Woolf, Teixeira de Pascoaes, José Régio, Luigi Pirandello, Stefan Zweig, Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce and Federico García Lorca.
A very good copy in the original printed wrappers, with the original frontispiece photograph of the author, bound in later marbled boards. A laudatory review of Botto's work by Jayme de Balsemão appears at the end of the book. His work has been widely praised by fellow writers, including James Joyce among others. See also, Leal, Sodoma Divinisada, (see below) which praises Botto's courage for writing about gay subjects.

Price: $400.00

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