The history behind the novel “The City and The Mountains” of Eça de Queiroz
The House-Museum of Tormes is a meeting point between real life and fiction. It was here that Eça de Queiroz, one of the most important Portuguese writers, gave free rein to his imagination writing the novel “The City and The Mountains”. On this literary work, Eça makes a comparison between the moderate and hectic life of the city and the quiet and peaceful life of the countryside.
In 1892, he was notified about the inheritance of this house, belonging to the family of his wife. Eça wrote a letter to the housekeepers of the property, warning them of his arrival and asking for the correct preparations. The letter never reached its destination and no one was aware of his arrival. Consequently, the housekeepers served to the important writer and diplomat, accustomed to a French and Parisian Gastronomy, a simple broth of chicken, browned chicken and rice of broad beans. This is the “Queirosian menu” that appears in his novel, which Jacinto, the main character, staggered: "She duly returned and placed on the table a dish overflowing with rice and broad beans. What a disappointment! In Paris, Jacinto had always hated broad beans. Nevertheless, he tried a timid forkful, and again his eyes, dimmed by pessimism, lit up and again he looked at me. He took another large forkful, concentrating this time and eating as slowly as a friar, savoring every mouthful. Then he cried: Excellent! Now, these beans I like. What a bean! So delicious!"
In addition to this typical dish that proved to be a delightful surprise, you can find in House-Museum of Tormes, unique pieces of furniture which the writer portrays in his novel. Eça quickly falls in love with the delights of Douro Region and inevitably wrote a novel where he praises the unique beauty of nature that surrounds the Douro and that even locals do not always appreciate and pay attention.
Do not miss the opportunity to know in firsthand the place that inspired Eça de Queiroz to write his last novel. Find more about the Green Wine Region