P.I.: Amândio Reis


RIAL aims to promote a critical discussion around the concepts of reality and imagination, considering also their semantic amplitude, historical scope and present relevance, and linking them to correlative notions in the context of art and literary studies, such as fiction, realism, invention, imaginary, imitation, and representation. With a diverse team of researchers in different career stages, working on the fields of film and literary studies, philosophy and art history, RIAL has a markedly diverse, interdisciplinary profile. The research developed focuses mostly on questions of aesthetics, and on literature and film, but also takes into consideration, without any spatial or linguistic pre-determination, other means of representation and fields of knowledge. For this reason, studies conducted in this research cluster integrate the contemporary practices of Comparatism, and, particularly, the research promoted at the U. Lisbon Centre for Comparative Studies, contributing more specifically to the goals of group THELEME-Interart and Intermedia Studies.

A balance between cohesiveness and specificity in the work of team members is at the basis of all proposed activities, including: regular team meetings for the discussion of works in progress; a monthly symposium for sharing and debating bibliography and recent readings; frequent one-day meetings, open to the public, on specific topics; lectures with invited speakers; conferences; courses and workshops; film cycles; and publications in various formats (see full list of outcomes below). Respecting the diversity of proposed tasks, RIAL is guided by the following common goals:

1) interrogating the dichotomy between reality and imagination and its implications;

2) charting the historical evolution of this problem and assessing its configuration today, both in different art practices and in the context of critical and theoretical trends and discourses around them, across time but also from a prospective point of view; 

3) contributing to the field of Interart Studies with research that, by paying special attention to the theoretical potential of our main concepts, also identifies aesthetic issues across the arts, not limited to the material specificity of different media;

4) collaborating with other research units and external researchers, aiming to enlarge the outreach of the research carried out in the cluster, and looking to promote a plurality of perspectives and approaches to our main topics;

5) organizing activities in partnership with cultural institutions outside academia, aiming to not only to disseminate our research outputs, but also to extend the debate around them to a larger and heterogeneous audience.

Lines of research:

1) Narrative

  • third-person omniscient narrator, subjectivism, perspective, and worldview;
  • tensions in Realist aesthetics: storytelling, description, and suggestion;
  • the 19th-century novel as a model: literature and material culture;
  • short story, novella, conte and other genres of short form literature;
  • Modernism(s): deceptive realism, continuities and ruptures.

2) Image

  • theoretical approaches to the concept of image, in general and in literature;
  • the photographic image, Spiritism and ghosts;
  • the notion of ‘image’ in the context of 20th-century avant-garde currents;
  • the mimetic, realist, and documental values of photography and cinema;
  • reflexive representations of optical and specular elements and objects;
  • the materialities of visual arts, photography, and film (analogue and digital).

3) Poetry

  • Romantic and Realist poetics: links and ruptures;
  • amorphous genres: the prose poem, the fragment, lyrical narrative;
  • influences and legacies in modern and contemporary poetry;
  • poetry as a matter of expression: from Concretism to Hermeticism;
  • poiesis across the arts;
  • mixed-media poetry.

4) Nature

  • Science and Art: traditions and debates;
  • animal and plant imagination: from the fable to the herbarium;
  • human, post-human, non-human, and more-than-human;
  • the role of zoopoetics in philology and narrative studies;
  • humans and others: the problem of language;
  • the natural and the artistic: ecocritical perspectives in comparative arts.


Coordinator: Amândio Reis (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CEC/FLUL)


Aleksandra Stokowiec (PhD Student, CEC/FLUL)

Bernardo Ferreira (PhD Student, CEC/FLUL)

Clara Rowland (Associate Professor, IELT/FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Jeffrey Childs (Assistant Professor, CEC/Universidade Aberta)

Joana Matos Frias (Associate Professor, CEC/FLUL)

José Bértolo (PhD Researcher, CEC/FLUL)

Margarida Medeiros (Assistant Professor, CECL/FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Maria Inês Robalo (PhD Researcher, CEC/FLUL)

Mário Jorge Torres (Retired Professor, CEC/FLUL)

Nicola Giansiracusa (PhD Student, CEC/FLUL)

Pedro Querido (PhD Researcher, CEC/FLUL)

Susana Nascimento Duarte (Adjunct Professor, IFILNOVA/ESAD-Inst. Pol. de Leiria)

External consultants:

Osvaldo Silvestre (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra)

Pedro Serra (Universidade de Salamanca)

Rosa Maria Martelo (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto)

Teresa Castro (Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3)

Publications and Activities



  • 2019 [20 December]: Open Lecture by Guillaume Bourgois (U. Grenoble Alpes): “Ida Lupino: Melodramas de uma Mulher Desconhecida” (FLUL)
  • 2019 [19 December]: RIAL Seminar “A Vida das Coisas” (FLUL)
  • 2019 [18 December]: RIAL Seminar “O Cinema na Fronteira: Passagens entre Ficção e Documentário” (FLUL, a partnership between CEC and IFILNOVA/FCSH)
  • 2018 [17 October]: RIAL Seminar “Espelhos do Film Noir” (FLUL)
  • 2018 [26 April]: RIAL Seminar “O Realismo Espectral da Imagem Fotográfica” (FLUL)
  • 2017 [3 July]: Open Lecture by Guillaume Bourgois (U. Grenoble Alpes): “Mr. Avery sou eu”: elementos de releitura de Madame Bovary em Bigger than Life (1956), de Nicholas Ray (FLUL)
  • 2017 [14 December]: One-day meeting “Máscaras de Cera: O Espectáculo da Morte na Literatura e nas Artes dos Séculos XIX e XX” (FLUL)
  • 2017 [7 December]: 2nd Symposium on Nineteenth-Century Literature: Family Plots (FLUL)
  • 2017 [16 May]: One-day meeting “Machado de Assis e a Ideia de Ficção” (Casa Fernando Pessoa, Lisboa; a partnership between CEC and Casa Fernando Pessoa)
  • 2016 [13 October]: Open Seminar “Melodrama entre as artes” (FLUL)



This work is financed by national funds through the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., within the scope of the project UIDB/00509/2020 and UIDP/00509/2020.