Philosophical and Moral Problem Literature in the Portuguese Chansonnier Poetry


  • María Helena Marques Antunes


problem literature, philosophical, moral, chansonnier, rhetorical games, Cancioneiro Geral, argumentation


Love is the privileged theme in 15th-century poetry chansonniers and problem literature is particularly adequate to discuss love matters. However, the analysis of Castilian poetical works allows us to acknowledge the existence of problem literature dealing with philosophical and ethical themes, albeit in lesser number. The situation is not different from the Cancioneiro Geral, by Garcia de Resende, where the genre is also characterized, in similar proportions, by the coexistence of love and philosophical themes. The aim of this article, which analyses this particular type of compositions in the Portuguese corpus, is to survey to what extent this poetical exchange allows a dynamic and original treatment of existential issues and a discussion about the lack of values. Consequently, the interaction between the questioner and the author of the answer allows us to broaden the scope of the question, revealing other possible interpretations for the suggested problem. Moreover, the philosophical and ethical problem literature also constitutes an exercise where poets test their expertise through rhetorical games that subvert the argument

of the opponent.