arcadia Any of the 18th-century Portuguese literary societies that attempted to revive Portuguese poetry by urging a return to classicism. They were modeled after the Academy of Arcadia, established in Rome in 1690 as an arbiter of Italian literary taste.
In 1756 Antonio Dinis da Cruz e Silva established with others the Arcadia Lusitana, its first aim being the uprooting of gongorismo, a style studded with Baroque conceits and Spanish influence in general. Other prominent Arcadians included Pedro Antonio Correia Garcao, an accomplished devotee of the Latin classical poet Horace, and Tomas Antonio Gonzaga, who is known for a collection of pastoral love lyrics written under the pseudonym Dirceu.
Cruz e Silva was sent to Brazil as a judge in 1776; there he helped stimulate Brazilian interest in the Arcadian movement, which flourished among the so-called Minas school of poets, including Jose Basilio da Gama and Jose de Santa Rita Durao.
In 1790 the New Arcadia was established. Its two most distinguished members were the rival poets Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage, who is now remembered for a few outstanding sonnets, and Jose Agostinho de Macedo, known for his experiments with the epic form.