José Saramago  

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"Seeing (2004) by José Saramago is an allegory of political apathy." --Sholem Stein

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José de Sousa Saramago, (November 16, 1922 – June 18, 2010) was a Nobel-laureate Portuguese novelist, playwright and journalist. His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the human factor. Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. He founded the National Front for the Defense of Culture (Lisbon, 1992) with Freitas-Magalhães and others. In the last years of his life, he lived Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Literary themes

Saramago’s novels often deal with fantastic scenarios, such as that in his 1986 novel, The Stone Raft, wherein the Iberian Peninsula breaks off from the rest of Europe and sails about the Atlantic Ocean. In his 1995 novel, Blindness, an entire unnamed country is stricken with a mysterious plague of “white blindness”. In his 1984 novel, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (which won the PEN Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Award), Fernando Pessoa’s heteronym survives for a year after the poet himself dies. Additionally, his novel Death with Interruptions (also translated as Death at Intervals) centers around a country in which nobody dies over the course of seven months beginning on New Year's Day, and how the country reacts to the spiritual and political implications of the event.

Using such imaginative themes, Saramago addresses the most serious of subject matters with empathy for the human condition and for the isolation of contemporary urban life. His characters struggle with their need to connect with one another, form relations and bond as a community; and also with their need for individuality, and to find meaning and dignity outside of political and economic structures. Literary critic Harold Bloom considers Saramago the second greatest living novelist in the world, behind only Philip Roth, but roundly criticized his statements comparing the circumstances in the Palestinian territories to the Auschwitz concentration camp and his devotion to Stalinists.

See also


TitleYearEnglish titleYearISBN
Terra do Pecado 1947
Os Poemas Possíveis 1966
Provavelmente Alegria 1970
Deste Mundo e do Outro 1971
A Bagagem do Viajante 1973
As Opiniões que o DL teve 1974
O Ano de 1993 1975
Os Apontamentos 1976
Manual de Pintura e Caligrafia 1977Manual of Painting and Calligraphy 1993 ISBN 1857540433
Objecto Quase 1978
Levantado do Chão 1980
Viagem a Portugal 1981Journey to Portugal 2000ISBN 0151005877
Memorial do Convento 1982Baltasar and Blimunda 1987ISBN 0151105553
O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis 1986The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis 1991 ISBN 0151997357
A Jangada de Pedra 1986The Stone Raft 1994 ISBN 0151851980
História do Cerco de Lisboa 1989The History of the Siege of Lisbon1996 ISBN 015100238X
O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo 1991The Gospel According to Jesus Christ 1993 ISBN 0151367000
Ensaio sobre a Cegueira 1995Blindness 1997 ISBN 0151002517
Todos os Nomes 1997All the Names 1999 ISBN 0151004218
O Conto da Ilha Desconhecida 1997The Tale of the Unknown Island 1999 ISBN 0151005958
A Caverna 2001The Cave 2002 ISBN 0151004145
O Homem Duplicado 2003The Double 2004 ISBN 0151010404)
Ensaio sobre a Lucidez 2004Seeing 2006 ISBN 0151012385
Don Giovanni ou o Dissoluto Absolvido 2005
As Intermitências da Morte 2005Death with Interruptions 2008 ISBN 1846550203
As Pequenas Memórias 2006Memories of my Youth
A Viagem do Elefante 2008The Trip of the Elephant ISBN 9789722120173

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