Carlos Nogueira: Antropologia da “praga”. A “praga” da tradição oral portuguesa e a “praga” nos romances de Aquilino Ribeiro


A genre of speech used by the speaker to access an essentially therapeutic power, but also traditionally to invoke a magical or divine power to destroy an opponent, the curse (in Portuguese “praga”, from the Latin “plaga”: “blow,” “wound,” “calamity,” in the proper and figurative sense) is at the same time a discourse of threat and satire, a discourse of merciless predation by an adversary who employs the force of words and gestures invested with supernatural power. In this article, based mainly on the many dozens of curses spoken by characters in the works of the Portuguese novelist Aquilino Ribeiro, I propose to build a theory (literary, cultural and anthropological) of the curse.

[Portugal, oral tradition, curse; satire; threat; catharsis; Aquilino Ribeiro]