Camões, Luís Vaz de

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Camões, Luís Vaz de


Born December 1524 or January 1525, in Lisbon; died there June 10, 1580. Portuguese poet; the most important representative of the Portuguese Renaissance. Son of a nobleman.

Camões served as a soldier in Morocco (1549–51) and India (1553–70). His lyrical poems are filled with a sense of the disharmony of the world. The theme of most of his sonnets is unhappy love, and some are critical of courtly life. In his comedies, written approximately between 1544 and 1549, Camões adhered to the principles of the Italian humanist drama, glorified the Renaissance ideal of exalted love (Filodemo, published in 1547), and denounced despotic power (El-Rei Seleuco, published in 1645). Camões achieved world renown with his epic poem Os Lusíadas (1572; first Russian translation by A. Dmitriev, 1788), which takes its name from the mythological Lusus, from whom, according to legend, the Portuguese are descended. The poem relates the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India and its colonization by the Portuguese. Many pages of Os Lusíadas describe the courage, heroism, and fortitude of the people. Glorifying the history of Portugal and extolling his people’s striving to expand their knowledge of the world and their practical activity, Camões overlooked the tragic consequences of the conquests for the subjugated peoples. His faith in the unlimited possibilities of reason and his exposure of universal venality and of the power of gold make Os Lusíadas one of the outstanding works of Renaissance humanism. Establishing the standards of the Portuguese literary language, this work was significant in shaping the realist school in poetry.


Obras completas, vols. 1–5. Lisbon, 1946–54.
In Russian translation:
Luziady (excerpts). In Khrestomatiia po zarubezhnoi literature: Epokha Vozrozhdeniia, vol. 1. Compiled by B. I. Purishev. Moscow, 1959.
Sonety. Translated from the Portuguese, with a preface, by V. Levik. Moscow, 1964.


Braga, T. Camóes: A obra lírica épica. Porto, 1911.
Cidade, H. Luís de Camões, vols. 1–3. Lisbon, 1952–56.
Nogueira, J. Os Lusíadas de Luís de Camóes. Rio de Janeiro, 1960.
Nogueira, J. Dicionário e gramática de “Os Lusíadas. “Rio de Janeiro, 1960.
Domingues, M. Camóes: A sua vida e a sua época. [Lisbon, 1968.]
Bismut, R. La lirique de Camóes. [Paris, 1970.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.