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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Joaquim Dias Cordeiro da Matta: a poet, pedagogue, and promoter of indigenous languages in late nineteenth-century Angola
Author:Corrado, JacopoISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Angola
national culture
Kimbundu language
About person:Joaquim Dias Cordeiro da Matta (1857-1894)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v040/40.2.corrado.pdf
Abstract:From the interior of the colony of Angola, Joaquim Dias Cordeiro da Matta moved to Luanda in pursuit of an occupation in trade: there he started to read classics and poetry, acquiring a certain amount of knowledge of Latin, French, and Portuguese authors and building up a library that earned him the admiration of his friends. His prodigious willpower was destined to turn into legend once he got involved in commercial activity and accepted a head-of-division post in a remote British-owned fluvial station. It was during this period of isolation that he wrote articles as a correspondent for the major newspapers printed in the capital, establishing a frequent epistolary contact with the most important writers of his generation. The myth of the intellectual hermit rapidly took on substance. Cordeiro da Matta gained a certain popularity among the group of people who shared his thirst for knowledge, his need to focus on the extremely rich but neglected Kimbundu heritage, and his romantic taste for the recovery of past ethnic traditions, folklore, and language. His main purpose was in fact the divulging of a popular culture and language that, even if barely recognized by the Portuguese rulers, he felt not only as his own, but also as the most representative and peculiar expression of his own country. This wish to drop metropolitan models as part of a more ambitious project found further confirmation when he invited his compatriots to dedicate a few hours of their spare time to the foundation of a national literature. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]