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Antonio Fernando da Mota Lima, 68, Brazilian sociologist, poet and literary critic, and a member of the Board of Editors of PortVitoria – (1948 – 19.07.2017).

By Jo Pires-O’Brien

Antonio Fernando da Mota Lima, or Fernando da Mota Lima studied sociology at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), from where he also got a master’s degree in this subject. He became a lecturer in sociology at UFPE in December 1980, after being approved in a formal recruitment contest (concurso). At some point in the 1980s he took a leave of absence from the university to do a PhD at the University of Essex, in the UK. He thoroughly enjoyed living in Colchester and in London, but unfortunately was awarded an M.Phil. instead of a PhD. He retired from UFPE in August 2011.

As Mota Lima was approaching his retirement as a lecturer at UFPE he started the blog ‘Literatura e Crítica Cultural’, and used it as a platform to discuss literature and many other things that interested him.  It is in the blog ‘Literatura e Crítica Cultural’ that Mota Lima revealed his considerable general knowledge, his capacity to think for himself, as well as his courage to confront the sacred cows of left-wing ideology. Mota Lima was a great poet, and his poems always encapsulated something or someone of significance to him.

Mota Lima joined the Editorial Board of PortVitoria in 2011, at my request, after which he made himself available to discuss specific topics. He has two articles published in PortVitoria: ‘Universalismo versus relativismo’ (issue 4), and  ‘A vida mesquinha’ (issue 8). A selection of 10 poems by Mota Lima appears in Issue 8, 2014. I have to admit that was not the first editor to recognize the talent and intellect of Mota Lima. His poignant critical essays also appear in Revista Será? and  Amalgama, two Brazilian magazines specialized in art and literature.

Over the last few years I exchanged many emails with Fernando, and I am honoured that he referred to me as a friend in an essay in which I identified James Madison as the author of the quote “If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.” What I did was such a trifle that I didn’t expect a mention, but generosity was another of Fernando’s virtues. He will be greatly missed.


Editors Wanted
PortVitoria is a platform open to individuals from all walks of life. If you share our vision of creating an authoritative point of encounter, information, and debate about the Portuguese and the Spanish-speaking countries and their diaspora, contact the editor.

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Special interview with
Fernando Rodriguez Genovés
on his new book
La riqueza de la libertad (2016) available at Amazon

Spanish version
Portuguese version
English version