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Antero Tarquínio de Quental or do Quental, old spelling Anthero, Portuguese poet, was born in Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island, in the Azores, into one of the oldest families of the provincial captaincies on the island, his parents being Ana Guilhermina da Maia Quental, a devout Roman Catholic and Fernando de Quental, a veteran from Portuguese Liberal Wars (himself a son of a veteran from Napoleonic Wars and also a liberal enthusiast that befriended and found himself locked up with the great poet Manuel Maria Barbosa de Bocage for his political pursuits). He was also a descendant of Frei Bartolomeu de Quental, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory in Portugal.
His mother raised him in such fashion that his upbringing would have an enduring impact in all his mystical reflections, even when they drifted apart from an assumed religious perspective.
He soon started taking French lessons under António Feliciano de Castilho, a leading figure of Portuguese romantic poetry who at the time resided in Ponta Delgada and by the time he was 7 he was enrolled in Liceu Açoriano, a private school, and taking English lessons.
In August 1852, he moved with his mother to the Portuguese Capital Lisbon, where he studied at Colégio do Pórtico, whose headmaster was his already known tutor Castilho. The institution soon closed doors, and Antero returns to Ponta Delgada in 1853.
By 1855 he is again in Lisbon, and the next couple of years find him already in Coimbra where he graduates from high school at Colégio de S. Bento in 1857. In September of the next year he enrolls in the University of Coimbra and soon distinguished himself by unusual talent, as well as turbulence and eccentricity. He began to write poetry at an early age, chiefly, though not entirely, devoting himself to the sonnet. After the publication of one volume of verse, he entered with great warmth into the revolt of the young men which dethroned António Feliciano de Castilho, the chief living poet of the elder generation, from his place as dictator over modern Portuguese literature. He then travelled, engaged on his return in political and socialistic agitations, and found his way through a series of disappointments to the mild pessimism, a kind of Western Buddhism, which animates his latest poetical productions. His melancholy was increased by a spinal disease, which after several years of retirement from the world, eventually drove him to suicide in his native island.

Antero stands at the head of modern Portuguese poetry after João de Deus. His principal defect is monotony: his own self is his solitary theme, and he seldom attempts any other form of composition than the sonnet. On the other hand, few poets who have chiefly devoted themselves to this form have produced so large a proportion of really exquisite work. The comparatively few pieces in which be either forgets his doubts and inward conflicts, or succeeds in giving them an objective form, are among the most beautiful in any literature. The purely introspective sonnets are less attractive, but equally finely wrought, interesting as psychological studies, and impressive from their sincerity. A healthy participation in public affairs might have saved him, but he seemed incapable of entering upon any course that did not lead to delusion and disappointment.
As a prose writer Quental displayed high talents, though he wrote little. His most important prose work is the Considerações sobre a philosophia da historia literaria Portugueza, but he earned fame by his pamphlets on the Coimbra question, Bom senso e bom gosto, a letter to Castilho, and A dignidade das lettras e litteraturas officiaes.
His friend Oliveira Martins edited the Sonnets (Oporto, 1886), supplying an introductory essay; and an interesting collection of studies on the poet by the leading Portuguese writers appeared in a volume entitled Anthero de Quental. In Memoriam (Oporto, 1896). The sonnets have been turned into most European languages

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