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Bernardim Ribeiro

RIBEIRO, BERNARDIM (1482–1552), Portuguese poet. Ribeiro was a prominent courtier, but beyond this little is known about his life except that he is said to have become insane after losing his mistress to a rival. The most talented Portuguese poet before Camões, Ribeiro wrote eclogues that created a vogue for bucolic verse. His outstanding work was the Hystoria de Menina e Moça (also known as Saudades), the first edition of which was published by the Jewish printer Abraham *Usque at Ferrara in 1554. The work is a novel of romance and chivalry in pastoral disguise, remarkable for its sensitivity, its realistic detail, and its prevailing melancholy. Some passages have been given a kabbalistic interpretation, or have been seen as referring to the persecution of the Jews. It has been suggested that Ribeiro was befriended by the Usque family, after he had fled from the Portuguese court; and it has even been conjectured that the similarities between the Menina and the Consolaçãm of Samuel *Usque stem from the fact that the latter and Ribeiro were one and the same person. One of the most important pieces of imaginative literature produced in the 16th century, Ribeiro's novel had considerable influence on later writers.


B. Ribeiro, Historia de Menina e Moça, ed. by D.E. Grokenberger (1947); A.J. Saraiva and Ó. Lopes, História da literatura portuguêsa (19594), 213–29; A.F.G. Bell, Portuguese Bibliography (1922), s.v.; J. Teixeira Rego, in: Estudos e Controvérsias, 2nd series (1931).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.