A house with books can be much more than a library. This is what “Casa dos Livros” intends to demonstrate, the space installed by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto at Palacete Burmester, which opens its doors this afternoon. Dedicated to literature, the “Casa dos Livros” will not be limited to being a depository of volumes – it is dedicated to the study of authors whose collections are gathered there, among which will be the legacy of the poet Eugénio de Andrade, ceded by the Chamber from Porto.
A new smell still lingers in the air: the renovation works on the Palacete Burmester have just finished, and this afternoon the “Casa dos Livros” is inaugurated there, a space of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto (FLUP) whose mission is to the preservation, treatment, enhancement and availability – to researchers and the general public – of the literary collections deposited there. The Palacete Burmester, at Rua do Campo Alegre, welcomes the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in a ceremony that will also be attended by the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, the Dean of the University of Porto, António de Sousa Pereira , and the director of FLUP, Fernanda Ribeiro.
The inauguration takes place a few days after the municipal Executive unanimously approved the transfer of the collection of the poet Eugénio de Andrade, which also provides for the attribution of an annual support of 20 thousand euros, for three years.
The director of FLUP was the guide of the Porto portal. on a visit to the “Casa dos Livros” before the opening of doors: “We knew that the Câmara do Porto had the entire collection of Eugénio de Andrade, with its various components: correspondence, manuscripts, objects, painting, library. So it fits here very well and allows the creation of a cultural facility open to the city, not just to the academy, which goes beyond research itself, for the general public to enjoy”, she praises.
The space limitations in the college motivated intervention in the building. “We took the opportunity to requalify it, these works were mainly in the basement, which was completely air-conditioned, reformulated, and equipped with a compact shelving, to give us more capacity”, explains Fernanda Ribeiro, adding that the Eugénio de Andrade collection joins “to other collections that we already have here in this center of culture, namely Vasco Graça Moura, that of the poet Albano Martins, which is in the inventory phase still in the family home, which we hope that this year can be transferred here, from others intellectuals such as Óscar Lopes, other digital collections such as those of Herberto Helder or Manuel António Pina.”
a righteous booty
“Eugénio de Andrade is one of the greatest contemporary poets and has a very important collection in terms of documentary heritage, which he left as a legacy to the Municipality of Porto. He is a poet translated into more than 20 languages, who has received several awards and distinctions, and as such it is a pride for the Municipality of Porto to have a collection of this nature ”, underlines the municipal director of Cultural Heritage Management, Cristina Guimarães.
Eugénio de Andrade’s legacy includes much more than books, he adds: “It consists of the manuscripts, which are in our stronghold, in the Municipal Public Library of Porto, which are about 1400. We also have correspondence, between letters, postcards , cards, which are about 7400. And then we have the bibliographic collection itself, which amounts to about 17 thousand copies. In addition, we have other values, such as LPs, CDs, which make this estate very complete”. “It’s a virtually complete vision of who Eugénio de Andrade was, and it conveys a lot of who he is. The books are still in the house that was his, and they will now meet a new destination”, he welcomes.
“The collection has all these components and this is distinctive in this cultural center”, corroborates the director of FLUP, noting that the authors’ work context provides clues to the understanding of the work: “We understand creation as the entire context of production: the what people wrote, what they read, and the interconnection between these various facets.”
Fernanda Ribeiro adds that “the idea is to preserve, in a systemic way, the entire production context of these authors and all their work. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to have correspondence, to have unpublished ones – in some cases there are things that are written and have never been published. There is a relationship between all these documents, let’s call them that, which take on another meaning when viewed in all their complexity.”
“It is our intention that all these collections be treated, cataloged and made available online for consultation. This work still requires some effort”, concludes the director of FLUP, recalling that “’Casa dos Livros’ was the name we gave to this space, which began as a Center for the Study of Culture in Portugal at the University of Porto. As it was created from the legacy of the library and archive of the documental collection of Vasco Graça Moura, and in its original work context it was called ‘Casa dos Livros’, we ended up adopting that name, now resignifying it and giving it a new meaning. another sense.”
Eugénio de Andrade, pseudonym of José Fontinhas, is one of the greatest contemporary Portuguese poets, with a work translated into more than 20 languages. He was distinguished with several awards, with emphasis on the Camões award in 2001. 2023 marks the centenary of Eugénio de Andrade, whose program includes an international colloquium on the poet and a major biobibliographic exhibition.
The opening ceremony of “Casa dos Livros” can be watched live here.