Miguéis, José Rodrigues, 1901-1980Alternative names
From the description of José Rodrigues Miguéis papers, [ca. 1920-1980] [microform]. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 495936171
José Miguéis was a 20th century Portuguese novelist, essayist, journalist, illustrator, professor, and translator. He was born to Manuel Maria Miguéis Pombo and Maria Adelaide Rodrigues Miguéis on December 9, 1901 in Lisbon, Portugal and spent the majority of his childhood in the Lisbon area, which would serve as the setting for much of his later fiction. He had two older siblings, Fernando Rodrigues Miguéis (1895-1918), and Irene Rodrigues Miguéis (1898-1966). As a young man Miguéis briefly pursued a career in law, but soon gave this up and dedicated himself wholly to literature and pedagogy.
In 1921, Miguéis became involved with Seara Nova, a liberal civic action group of writers and intellectuals. Over the next decade, he published writings and illustrations in the group’s eponymous politico-literary periodical. During this time, he worked alongside other important members of Seara Nova, including Raul Proença, Jaime Cortesão, Aquilino Ribeiro, António Sérgio, Raul Brandão, Câmara Reys, José de Azeredo Perdigão, José Gomes Ferreira, David Ferreira, and Irene Lisboa. Miguéis temporarily severed his connections with Seara Nova in 1931 due to internal polemic.
In the early 1930s, Miguéis submitted pieces to various Portuguese newspapers and periodicals. He met and married his first wife, Pesea Cogan Portnoi (“Pola”), in 1932, and earned a degree in Pedagogy from the University of Brussels in 1933. His political opinions soon brought him into conflict with the rising fascist party, Estado Novo, and in 1935 he left Portugal for the United States, where he would spend the rest of his life except for the occasional brief return to Portugal. Pola did not accompany Miguéis to America.
Once in the United States, Miguéis began writing more essays and temporarily renewed his connection to Seara Nova. This relationship would not last long, however, as Miguies was criticized by the group in 1940 for an article he had published in a rival periodical. That same year, he was married to Camila Pitta Campanella after previously divorcing his first wife. He became an American citizen in 1942 and the couple adopted their daughter Patricia ("Patty") in 1944 when she was four years old. During the years that followed, Miguéis worked as a staff writer for the Portuguese-American edition of Reader’s Digest and wrote several non-fiction accounts of previous personal experiences.
The period from 1945 to 1955 was relatively quiet for Miguéis. He suffered a cerebral infection, recovered, and traveled to Brazil and Portugal. In 1956 he renewed his literary activity with the publication of several articles and a novelette, and the following four years may be considered his major publishing phase. In 1959, he won the Camilo Castelo Branco Prize, the most prestigious Portuguese literary award, which only increased the attention he received from editors and readers, and in 1961 he was granted membership to the Hispanic Society of America.
Miguéis returned to Portugal in 1963 and published prolifically over the course of the next year. At the end of a year, however, he once again returned to the United States. He published relatively little material during the next few years, and then renewed his production in 1968 with a long series of articles for a Lisbon newspaper. In 1976 he became a member of the Academia das Ciencias de Lisboa and in 1979 he was accepted to the Ordem Militar de Santiago da Espada, a Portuguese order of chivalry. He died October 27, 1980 in New York City.
For a more detailed biography of Miguéis click here .
From the guide to the José Rodrigues Miguéis papers, Miguéis (José Rodrigues) papers, 1874-1992, (bulk 1918-1980), (John Hay Library Special Collections)
- Portuguese letters--20th century
- Portuguese literature--20th century
- Portuguese fiction--20th century