Luís de Sttau Monteiro
A man of many crafts but that in Journalism stood out for collaborations in Almanaque magazine and in the supplement of Diário de Lisboa, Mosca
Luckily, there is a journalist
The play «Felizmente há Luar! » is inseparably liked to Luís Sttau Monteiro. The worked, inspiried in Brecht’s theater, was immediately forbidden to be taken to stage. Recovering the previous events of the Portuguese History, the story intended to denounce the contemporary situation. Even though, censorship couldn’t prevent 160 thousand copies of the play to be sold. Besides the journalist and the chronicler, a writer was born.
Luís Infante de Lacerda Sttau Monteiro was born in Lisbon, on April 3rd of 1926. At 10 years old he accompanies his father, Armindo Monteiro, who leaves to London as the ambassador of Portugal. His education in the English capital allowed him a closer contact with some vanguard movements of the Anglo-Saxon literature, which come to significantly influence his work.
But before there were racetracks and courts
Meanwhile, in 1943, his father enters in political disagreement with Salazar’s regime, and quits his function as ambassador.
Thus, the family returns to Lisbon, where Sttau Monteiro ends his studies. Despite his interest for Mathematics, he eventually choses a degree in Law, in Lisbon University. In the two following years, he practices Law. However, Lisbon wasn’t enough. Luís Sttau Monteiro went back to London and lives a short experience as a Formula 2 race driver. He meets the young Englishwoman June Goodyear, whom he marries on September 27th of 1951, in Sintra.
Finally the journalist
Returning to Portugal, Luís de Sttau Monteiro enters journalism. He collaborated with several publications, but stood out in the Alamanaque magazine, where also worked writers like Augusto Abelaira, José Cutileiro, Alexandre O’Neil, Vasco Pulido Valente and José Cardoso Pires.
He also worked at the supplement A Mosca, of Diário de Lisboa, having collaborated with Joaquim Letria, José Cuteileiro, Mário Castrim and João Abel Manta. It was equally in this publication that Luís de Sttau Monteiro wrote the gastronomical chronicles «A Melga no Prato», and hwere he created, between 1969 and 1970, the critic section titled «Redações da Guidinha».
In the «Guidinha» chronicles, Luís de Sttau Monteiro personified a lower middle-class young girl from Lisbon that, through a deliberately childish language and without punctuation, described the daily life with the aim of criticizing and satirizing the state of the nation.
At a time when it was risky and even dangerous to write, A Mosca became a notable satirical supplement of critical intervention, which resisted to the regime’s censorship.
Luís Sttau Monteiro also wrote gastronomical chronicles under the pseudonym of Manuel Pedrosa and collaborated regularly in the newspapers Se7e, O Jornal and Expresso. But Sttau Monteiro didn’t resign to journalism..
In 1960, launches his first novel «Um Homem não Chora», followed by «Angústia para o Jantar», where he denounces, with his caustic humor, the bourgeoisie’s typical behaviors.
With the publishing of «Felizmente há Luar!», the themes about Mankind, freedom, about the struggle for social justice and political whistleblowing became a constant in Sttau Monteiro’s writing.
The play is based on the 1817 attempt of a liberal uprising, supposedly led by Gomes Freire de Andrade. Through the reenactment of the historical events that led to the arrest and hanging of Gomes Freire by Beresford’s regime and with the support of the Church, Sttau Monteiro makes an epic and politically engaged appeal, reporting the situation in Portugal in the 60’s.
In 1962, the play was awarded with Grande Prémio de Teatro by the Portuguese Society of Theater Writers and Composers. However, the writer was in jail under the suspicion of having collaborated in «intentona de Beja».
Due to this traumatic experience, Sttau Monteiro went back to England, where he continued to write plays. «Todos os anos pela Primavera»; «O Barão» (adaptation of the novel by Branquinho da Fonseca); and «Auto da Barca do motor fora da borda» (adaptation of Auto da Barca do Inferno by Gil Vicente) are some of the highlights of his work.
In 1967, already back in Portugal, he is arrested again by PIDE after the publishing of the satirycal plays «A Guerra Santa» and «A estátua», where he made harsh critics about dictatorship and the colonial war.
However, such experience doesn’t bring him down, and he writes, in 1968, the play «As mãos de Abrãao Zacut», which actions takes place in a concentration camp.
In times of freedom
With the Carnations Revolution, it became possible to take the play «Felizmente há Luar! » to the stage. It was in 1978, 16 years after its publishing, that the work was stage at D. Maria II National Theatre. The play would be considered one of the 100 Portuguese Books of the 20th Century in Fernando Pinto do Amaral’s list, published in O Público on April 27th of 2002.
His novel «Angústia para o Jantar» was adapted for a TV series aired in RTP. It was one of the major successes in 1995.
But Sttau Monteiro’s success didn’t stop here. The original novel «Agarra o Verão, Guida, Agarra o Verão» was equally adapted for a television soap opera in 1982, named «Chuva na Areia».
Luís de Sttau Monteiro would consecrate, mainly, as a playwright, with the publishing of countless plays and adaptations. Still, his literary charisma imposed in novel, in chronicle and in journalism.
A multifaceted writer, Sttau Monteiro is, above wall, an essential figure of the 20th century.