Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fan Updates

Last September I had a post on the fan-making business which kept the ivory handed ladies of court supplied with a social essential.  In the comments, the topic of fan-language was brought up and Fabultastic peaked some curiosity by mentioning a book he read quite a while ago.  While joy of joys, he wrote today to tell me he found the book and I am now mourning the fact that I don't speak Portuguese!  Here is the report:
Remember the book I once spoke you about that talk about all the «fan codes»? I finally found it. It is called «O Amor em Portugal no Século XVIII» (Love in Portugal in the 18th Century) by Júlio Dantas. The book was written in 1916 so probably has more of a Romantic view on the subject than actually a real historical document. Nevertheless, much of it is now corroborated by Historians.

The book also talks of a particular type of Portuguese lover than was in fashion at the time: the «freirático» (the nun's lover). In a über catholic country, there were so many nuns that they became the image of the ideal lover. Disguised under a cover of Platonism, a trend was born amongst the royals to have a nun as lover. Even the King, D. João V, had a thing for nuns and soon become known as the «Odivelas' Rooster» (Odivelas had one of the biggest convents). This when to such a degree that, at a certain point, the King had to make an edit recognizing his several illegitimate sons: this was known as the «Meninos de Palhavã» (the Palhavã boys). There are still today, some traditional songs that sing about the «virtues» of those nuns...

I enclose a picture of the book's first edition and you can go to and see all the book and illustrations. Unfortunately, I think that there is not an English version.
Scandalous!  It brings to mind how brothels were often referred to as nunneries.  Thank you for the fabulous history lesson, Fabultastic!  Taking a quick look through the ebook makes me think it is something I would thoroughly enjoy reading.

Tomorrow I will post a crash course in eighteenth century fan language, stay tuned!


  1. Thanks a lot Fabulastic :D

  2. Argh! that seems so interesting! Now i wish that I read Portuguese lol

  3. Kind of makes that statement "Get thee to a nunnery" have a whole new meaning!

  4. Heather, I am Portuguese and I would be very much pleased if I could help with anything - I don't know, any detail you'd like to know or something that intrigues you. I'm thinking of getting that book anyway, and if I could help it would be the least of things to thank you for the wonderful blog! :)

  5. Oh, dear Heather. You embarrass me publishing my poorly written text in your so exquisitely written blog. I would have tried harder if I knew.

    I am pleased that you have found it interesting enough!

    Thank you so very much, darling!

    Miss Honnête: It took me some time but I found it. Unfortunately I think it will not help you since there is no translation available.

  6. Thank you so much Fabulastic for being so perseverant as to look for it all this long.

    Today is the day I wish I would know how to speak portuguese. I'll try to use google translator and with it I might get to understand a little bit of what the book says.

  7. @anonymous I know I would appreciate a translation of any kind. going by google translations is so time consuming and annoying.

  8. @Anon, You are too sweet! Sadly I long for reading the whole book but I would not set you out on that mission. If you end up reading it in your free time and see anything of interest though, feel free to tell me about it!

    @Fabu, Once again you are too modest!

    @Miss Honnete, Ditto!