In Noches claras by Manuel de Faria e Sousa, among discourses and chapters which serve different purposes, an intense programme of cultural divulgation starts to take form, which offers the readers themes of social and religious nature as well as of moral philosophy, stimulating their intellectual curiosity. By combining the strong didactic aesthetics of the miscellanea, as it was cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the specific features of dialogue, the project gained density and gave way to a more pleasant use than the mere occasional search for information. The variety in themes and sense of erudition, resulting from a wide range of ancient and modern cultural and religious sources, are now seen as part of a more coherent composition, thus overcoming the risks of fragmented reading. On the other hand, the autobiographical drive which can be found across a significant part of Faria e Sousa’s literary production, allows him to come closer to the essay genre, as the author is regarded as the one who is responsible for carefully choosing the material, organizing and exposing it based on his knowledge and life experience which were the marks of the discrete man.
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