António Manuel Bernardo Lopes


Folktales are not only a rich repository of the collective imaginary and of the social myths of a community, but they also harbor the political and social tensions that have marked the history of nations. Such tensions usually veiled under the guise of symbols and other forms of literary representation end up weaved into narratives that voice the common man’s yearning for justice and empowerment. This paper attempts to draw a parallel between some of the Portuguese folktales and one of the most important 15th-century historiographic accounts, Crónica de D. Joāo I – written by royal chronicler Fernão Lopes, dubbed Portugal’s first historian – where, in his quest for the truth, the “people” acquire narrative density and challenge the powers that be. The conceptual framework for this comparative study draws on Fredric Jameson’s notion of political unconscious, according to which texts are to be regarded as political fantasies, resulting mainly from repression and contradicted impulses. Two examples of folktales where these tensions are resolved to the benefit of the common man are provided.

Key words: folktales, historical chronicles, Portuguese medieval history, political unconscious, social empowerment.

Texto completo:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18485/beoiber.2019.3.1.5

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ISSN: 2560-4163 Online

Departamento de Estudios Ibéricos, Facultad de Filología, Universidad de Belgrado