54º Anniversary of death of José Régio

22 de December, 2023

On the 54th anniversary of José Régio’s death, we remember the exhibition José Régio [Re]visits to the Ivory Tower, curated by Rui Maia and presented at the Soares dos Reis National Museum in 2021.


José Régio is the pseudonym of José Maria dos Reis Pereira. He was born on 17 September 1901, in Vila do Conde, the city where he lived his childhood and adolescence and did his first studies.


After a two-year stay in Oporto to complete his 3rd cycle of secondary education, he went to Coimbra to attend the Faculty of Letters. There he graduated in Romance Philology in 1925, defending his thesis entitled “As correntes e as individualidades na Moderna Poesia Portuguesa” (The currents and individualities in Modern Portuguese Poetry), in which he first apologised for the poets of the magazine Orpheu.

Early on, he began his literary activity in newspapers and magazines. In the 1920s, José Régio collaborated with the Porto magazines Crisálida and A Nossa Revista, as well as the Coimbra magazines Bizâncio and Tríptico. But it was in Coimbra that he consolidated his literary skills, as a result of his intense contact with the books that came to influence his work, as well as his contact with the intellectuals who marked one of the most fruitful periods of the 20th century, both in terms of literary creation and criticism.


The year after graduating, he published his first volume of poetry Poemas de Deus e do Diabo (Poems of God and the Devil), signing it with the literary pseudonym José Régio.


In March 1927, together with João Gaspar Simões and Branquinho da Fonseca, he founded the magazine Presença, which lasted thirteen years and was considered the magazine that publicised the “second modernism”.


After completing his studies, he began his teaching career, with a brief stint as a temporary teacher at the Alexandre Herculano High School in Porto, until he was appointed, in 1930, as a permanent teacher at the Portalegre High School, a position he held until he retired in 1962.


From then on, he lived alternately between Vila do Conde and Portalegre, until he settled permanently in Vila do Conde in 1966.


José Régio died on 22 December 1969 from heart disease.