The UMass Lowell Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and Research, Departments of English and World Languages and Cultures, and Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities announce a lecture, “The Aesthetic and Ethical Denial of Happiness,” by Valter Hugo Mãe, critically-acclaimed Portuguese author and Fall 2015 Luso-American Foundation Writer-in-Residence at UMass Lowell. The lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. in O’Lary Library, Room 478. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in Wilder Lot, across from 61 Wilder Street.

The talk, “The Aesthetic and Ethical Denial of Happiness,” explores the idea that evil is a given and happiness a cultural construct. Dissatisfication and disquiet drive art. Happiness is a sort of promise that is not achievable; it is an absolute non-aesthetic theme as no one could endure a book that portrayed happiness from beginning to end. Happiness is therefore aesthetically untenable, which leads one to wonder if it is equally untenable in ethical terms.

Valter Hugo Mãe was born in Saurimo, Angola, but moved to Portugal at the age of four, during the Portuguese decolonization of Africa. He is the author of six novels, fourteen poetry collections, and six children’s books. He is the recipient of major literary prizes in the Portuguese-speaking world, including the Almeida Garrett Poetry Prize (1999), the José Saramago Prize (2007), and the Portugal Telecom Best Novel of Year (2012). For José Saramago, the 1998 Noble Laureate for Literature, Hugo Mãe’s novel, O remorso de Baltazar Serapião (The Remorse of Baltazar Serapião, 2007), is a “tsunami. A linguistic, stylistic, semantic, and syntactic tsunami. At times I felt I was witness to a new birth of the Portuguese language.”