José Augusto Mourão (1947 – 2011)
Upon the death of José Augusto Mourão, J. Tolentino Mendonça penned a short text entitled “The Green Void” which we will now quote as a beginning to this note In Memoriam:
“One day, when the history of Portuguese Catholicism, which we now consider contemporary, is written, it will be clearly obvious that one of its major actors was an almost clandestine friar and poet who died this morning in Lisbon. His name was José Augusto Mourão, and he belonged to the Dominican Order. Born in Vila Real in 1947, he managed to build a unique role for himself in the university and Portuguese culture. He was a professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, specializing in the field of semiotics, and paying constant attention to avant-garde expressions that are transforming the very devices of creation (for example, the mutations of literature in the cybernetic era or the myriad forms of hypertextuality or hyperfiction that high modernity has generated). He has left us a body of work that, in many ways, can be considered seminal and prophetic.
“But he also brought the same spirit of prophecy to the magnum opus of his existence: the remarkable bridge (I feel like writing the “impossible bridge”) that he managed to build, practically from the margins, between the fields of faith and that of reason, between the liturgical and the poetic, between the rule and the desire. For some reason, he was almost never a comfortable creator, neither when working on the Catholic side nor for the parameters of the dominant culture. Believers found it hard to lend their ear, because he worked with a peculiar and demanding grammar, seeking out living metaphors, new metaphors, as it were. Similarly, he never gained the visibility he certainly deserved from academia.
“His poetry is, for example, liturgical, which in Portugal is immediately cataloged as a minor genre. And some of his most fundamental texts were homilies; and the most recent homilies that Portuguese intellectuals have given ear to were those of the 15th century priest, Padre António Vieira! Perhaps, one day, the originality and the milestone achievements of this man will be recognized, and we will come to appreciate what he leaves us today. For now, we feel the great void that his death represents, which, as the title of his first book of poems points out, we are challenged to live as a “Green Void.”
This beautiful note speaks for itself, and there is little to add to Tolentino Mendonça’s words. We will add just a few notes about his work.
José Augusto Mourão was Associate Professor with Aggregation of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the New University of Lisboa. He was also a researcher at CECL, the Center for Studies in Communication and Languages, as well as a member of the board of RCL, the Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens.
At the university, he was responsible for the disciplines of semiotics, e-textualities, and hyperfiction and culture subjects in the Department of Communication Sciences, and he taught at all academic levels. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Semiotic Studies (since 1999). Moreover, Professor José Augusto Mourão had another dimension of tremendous relevance which was his activity as a Dominican.
In this role, he served as President of the S. Tomás de Aquino Institute, Member of the Permanent Commission for the Promotion of Studies in the Order of Preachers (since 2007) and member of the National Secretariat for the Pastoral Care of Culture (2010).
In the crossroads between these two activities, Professor José Augusto Mourão wrote poetry, and translated and published several books, particularly in his field of academic expertise.
(1985). Vazio Verde – O Nome. Lisboa: C.R.C.
(1988). A visão de Túndalo: em torno da semiótica das Visões (Lisboa: INIC).
(1996). Sujeito, Paixão e Discurso. Trabalhos de Jesus (Lisboa: Vega).
(1998). A sedução do real. Literatura e Semiótica (Lisboa: Vega).
(2001). Ficção Interactiva. Para uma Poética do Hipertexto (Lisboa: Edições Universitárias Lusófonas).
(2004). O fulgor é móvel – em torno da obra de Maria Gabriela Llansol (Lisboa: Roma Editora).
(2005). A influência de Joaquim de Flora na Cultura Portuguesa e Europeia. Com Eduardo Franco (Lisboa: Roma Editora).
(2006). O Mundo e os Modos da Comunicação (Coimbra: Minerva).
(2007). Semiótica. Genealogias e Cartografias. Com Maria Augusta Babo (Coimbra: Minerva).
(2009). Hiperficção. A Literatura Electrónica (Lisboa: Vega).
(2010). Textualidade Electrónica. (Lisboa: Veja)
(2017). Obra Seleta de José Augusto Mourão. Lisboa: INCM – Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda
(1985). “As estratégias de veridicção no discurso”, RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, As máquinas censurantes modernas, org. de Adriano Duarte Rodrigues, nº 1, pp. 65-78.
(1987). “Da navegação dos afectos (As paixões no compendium spiritualis doctrinae de D. Fr. Bartolomeu dos Mártires)”, RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, As Paixões, org. de Chaké Matossian, nº 5, pp. 49-54.
(1988). “Crítica textual e modernismo (em torno do decreto Lamentabili e da encíclica Pascendi)”. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Moderno/Pós-Moderno, org. de Adriano Duarte Rodrigues, nºs 6/7, pp. 365-371.
(1991). “A verdade imperativa: para uma semiótica da blasfémia nas Sentenças”, RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Estratégias de Persuasão, org. de Tito Cardoso e Cunha, nº 14, pp. 47-54.
(1993). “A dor do diálogo intercultural: cristianização vs. orientalização. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, O não-verbal em questão, org. de Adriano Duarte Rodrigues, nºs 17/18, pp. 111-118.
(1993). “Verdade e veridicção na História da Subjectividade”. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Michel Foucault: Uma analítica da experiência, org. de J. Bragança de Miranda e A. Fernando Cascais, nº 19, pp. 35-45.
(1994). “O trabalho da figura: metamorfose/anamorfose”. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Figuras, org. de José Augusto Mourão, nº 20, pp. 121-129.
(1996). “O Fim do Mundo: cinema e parabolização”. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, O que é o cinema, org. de João Mário Grilo e Paulo Filipe Monteiro, nº 23, pp. 195-202.
(1998). “O drama do Bem e do Mal. A criação como combate: Gn 2, 4b – 3, 24”, RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Dramas, org. de Paulo Filipe Monteiro, nº 24, pp. 59-73.
(1999). “Tecnologia e literatura: as máquinas textuais. De F. Laruelle a Landow”. RCL – Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, Real vs. Virtual, org. de J. Bragança de Miranda, nºs 25-26, pp. 403-414.
”Evocação breve de José Augusto Mourão”, por Helena Langrouva (2011). http://www.triplov.com/helena/jam/index.html
“No fulgor frágil da existência, a sedução do visível e a paixão do invisível. Em memória de José Augusto Mourão”. Moisés de Lemos Martins, Comunicação e Sociedade, vol. 26, 2014, pp. 307-314. http://www.scielo.mec.pt/pdf/csoc/v26/v26a11.pdf
Page dedicated to José Augusto Mourão: http://www.triplov.com/semas/