New Stamps from Portugal

200th Anniversary of Saint João Bosco

portugal saint bosco stampIn 2015 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco, founder of Salesians, the Father and Teacher of Youth, as Saint John Paul II called him. St. John Bosco, or Don Bosco, as he is affectionately called by the Salesian family, was born on August 16, 1815, in Morialdo, a small place in the municipality of Castelnuovo d’Asti, in the province of Asti, 25 km from Turin, in Piedmont, Italy. Son of two peasants, Francisco Bosco and Margarida Occhiena, his life was since the beginning marked by poverty and work. He becomes fatherless before the age of two. It is in this difficult context that he begins to shape his heart as a father, an educator and a friend of youth.

Today, there are more than 15 thousand Salesians, in 132 countries, on 5 continents, with almost 2,000 communities. The work of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has also expanded throughout the world: they are more than 13 thousand, in 94 countries, with nearly 1,500 communities.

Issue Date: 03.09.2015 Designer: Casa Geral da Congregação Salesiana Printer: Bpost Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: Stamp: 30,6 x 40 mm, souvenir sheet: 125 x 95 mm Values: €0.45, €2.50

Portuguese Fruits

portugal fruits stampsThe Portuguese Fruits stamp issue is no more than a Grand Tour of Portugal, not on a bicycle but through the colours, aromas, textures and flavours of the many fruits grown across the country.

Issue Date: 01.09.2015 Designer: Natali Nascimento, TerraProjectos Printer: INCM Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: 30.6 x 40mm : €0.45, €0.55, €0.72, €0.80

Coimbra

portugal coimbra stampsWhen Antero de Quental published «Bom Senso e Bom Gosto» (Common Sense and Good Taste), «officially» launching the Questão Coimbrã (Coimbrã Issue), it was already evident that hostility was simmering among many Lisbon intellectuals who gravitated around the old writer António Feliciano de Castilho and the young students of Coimbra. The publishing of the three first poetry books by Antero de Quental and Teófilo Braga, primarily the content of their philosophical prefaces, sent waves of turbulence rippling through the Lisbon group, known as the «escola do elogio mútuo» (mutual appreciation society). Pinheiro Chagas, one of the pupils held dearest by the «master», took it upon himself to use his serial writings to attack the «philosophical infusions» of the young writers.

The controversy became inevitable when Castilho, in a letter to the editor who was about to publish a mediocre poem by Pinheiro Chagas, «Poema da Mocidade», followed by the short poem «Anjo do Lar», expresses his opinion about the poetry that was no longer fluent and intelligible, «close to our temperament». He regrets neither understanding where Antero and Teófilo are heading, nor what will be their destiny. His letter then addresses the crux of the matter, the presentation of the pupil, with absurd praises of his qualities as a man and as a writer, suggesting his name to hold the chair of Modern Literature, in the Higher Education Course of Language and Literature.

Antero’s response is an indignant and violent refutation of Castilho’s opinions. «I have just read your writing where, on the issue of common sense and good taste, the so-called Coimbra school is harshly criticised». However, Antero explains that it is not the words or even the ideas that render Castilho unworthy. «War is unleashed upon the impiety of these heretics of literature, who turn against the authority of popes and high priests […]. It is brought against those who decide to think for themselves and be responsible alone for their deeds and words». And Antero continues to line up violent accusations against the patriarch of literature who shall not utter a word in response. Instead, in his place, Pinheiro Chagas advanced with sharp digs, not confronting the Coimbrão personally, preferring rather to expound on innovating and inventing, expressions greatly used by Antero and Teófilo. From his point of view, there was nothing left to innovate or invent. The Germans and French had already taken care of that. Teófilo Braga, up to this point resigned to silence, also published a short essay, dry and tough, in which he denounced the impudent banality of the «escola do elogio mútuo» (mutual appreciation society) and the corruption of the literary royalties.

Among the prolific backlash of ensuing comments that were to be aired in 1866, thirty-two in total, were, in particular, those of Ramalho Ortigão, «Literatura de Hoje» and Camilo Castelo Branco, «Vaidades Irritadas e Irritantes». Ramalho, in his splendidly razor sharp satirical style, casts a bleak judgement on Castilho’s letter, examining it point by point, he reduces it to shreds. As for Antero’s commentary, he rejects it outright, calling him a coward for addressing a venerable elder in such terms. This severe opinion was to give rise to a duel between the two, with Ramalho being slightly wounded in an arm. The text by Camilo – who was unwilling to enter the controversy, but saw his hand forced by Castilho’s insistent letters – is an article in which the novelist seeks to offend neither of the parties in conflict.

The clash between Antero and Castilho had a liberating effect. From one side and the other, leaflets and serials emerged under the glare of the day. Some, many, attacked the patriarch of literature, others criticised Antero for his shameless lack of respect for the knight in shining armour of primary instruction, now old, ill and blind. Throughout the entire controversy, forty-four leaflets and a vast number of chronicles, letters and serials were published. Literature arose from its dormancy and a clean break was made between the sentimental and maudlin poets and the intellect of the 70s Generation which was about to embark on its path.

Issue Date: 12.08.2015 Designer: Atelier B2 Printer: INCM Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: Stamps 30.6 x 40 mm, 125 x 95 mm Values: €0.45, €0.55

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