1998 : Jose Saramago

1998 : Jose Saramago

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“who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality”



November 16, 1922

Place of birth


Azinhaga, Ribatejo, Portugal



Playwright, Novelist




Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 1998


Born in a family of landless peasants, in Azinhaga, a small village in the province of Ribatejo, on the right bank of the river Almonda, about a hundred miles northeast of Lisbon. My father was Jose de Souza and Maria da Piedade. Jose de Sousa has been on my own not the Registrar, on its own nickname inititiave added to the family and my father was known in the village: Saramago. I would like to add that Saramago is the wild herbal plants, which left at the time as the necessary food for the poor. Only in the age of seven, when for the first identity cards in elementary school, and she realized that my full name is Jose de Sousa Saramago …

This was not the only problem with identity and I spent at birth. Although I had come in the world in November 16, 1922, my country and official documents show that was born two days later, on the 18th. This was thanks to a little fraud to my family fled from the payment of penalty for non-registration of my birth the legal right time.

Perhaps because he had served during World War I, France and artillery troops, and he knew that more than a different environment from the village, the father in 1924 left the farm with his family and move to Lisbon, where a policeman, the task is no longer required “Moral qualifications” (a common expression …) reading, writing and arithmetic.

A few months after settling in the capital two years ago, my brother, Francisco, died. Although our living conditions have improved somewhat after the movement that we will not be eliminated.

I was 13 or 14 when we are finally on our own – but very small – the house until then we had to live in parts of the house with other families. During all this time, I came to the age of me a lot and often very long periods in the village with my father and my mother and Jeronimo Meirinho Josefa wildy.

I was a good student in elementary school: in the second grade I was writing with no spelling errors, third and fourth classes were in a single year. Then I had to go to secondary school, where she remained for two years, with dozens of excellent in the first year, so as not good in the second, but he was loved by colleagues and teachers, and was even elected (I was 12 …) of the Student Union Treasurer … Meanwhile, the parents come to the conclusion that, due to lack of resources, it can not continue to maintain me at the elementary school. The only alternative is to go to school technology. Therefore, the period of five years learned mechanic. But it is surprising that the curriculum at the time, of course, technically oriented, and which, in addition to French, the subject of literature. It also did not have books at home (my books, bought by myself, but with money borrowed from a friend, but when I was 19) the Portuguese language textbooks, with “anthological” character, which had opened doors to me literary flowering: So far, I can recite poetry learned in this era term. After the session, two mechanics worked in the auto repair shop. By that time I had already started repeatedly, in the evening, a public library in Lisbon. There was, without help or guidance except curiosity and a desire to learn, to my taste was reading to develop and improve it.

When I got married in 1944, I had already changed jobs. I now work in the Social Welfare Department as an administrator. My wife, Ilda Reis, typing with the railway company, has become, after many years, one of the most important Portuguese Engravers. Died in 1998. In 1947, the year of the birth of my only child, Violante, published the first book to me, I myself novel “widow, but for editorial reasons on the ground of guilt. I wrote the novel, The Skylight, which has not yet published, and started again, but did not get past the first few pages: the title had to be honey, Gal, or perhaps Louis, the son of Tadeus … The issue had been resolved when I gave up on the project: it has always been very clear to me that I had to say something worthwhile. For 19 years, until 1966, when it was possible for the deployment of poems, and I was absent from the Portuguese literary scene, where few people have noticed my absence.

For political reasons, and I was unemployed in 1949, but thanks to the goodwill of a former school teacher in the technical school, I was able to find work in the metals company, where he was director.

At the end of 1950 started to work in a company published studies Cor, as director of production, by midday, but not the author, to the world of letters I had a few years ago. This new activity must be that I know and friendship with some of the most important writers and Portuguese at that time. In 1955, to improve the family budget, but also because they enjoyed, I began to spend part of my free time in translation, an activity that would continue until 1981: Colette, Lagerkvist Parra, Jean Cassou, Maupassant, Andre Bonnard, Tolstoi, Baudelaire , Etienne Balibar, Nicos Poulantzas, Focillon Henry, Jacques Roumain, Hegel, Raymond Bayer some authors of the first translation. Between May May 1967 and November 1968, I had a parallel appeal as a literary critic. At the same time, in 1966, I published a poem possible, a book was noticed that my return to literature. Then, in 1970, the last book of poems, and perhaps joy and after a brief period in 1971 and 1973, respectively, the addresses of the world and the other passenger and baggage, the two sets of newspaper articles that critics of the critical importance of full understanding of my later work . After my divorce in 1970, I have a relationship that would last until 1986, with Portuguese writer Isabel da Nobrega.

After leaving the publisher at the end of 1971, worked for the next two years on the evening newspaper Diario de Lisbon, director of the cultural supplement and as editor-in-chief.

Published in 1974 with the title even if the views of learning, and these texts are very accurate “reading” through the last days of the dictatorship that toppled April. In April 1975 I was Deputy Director of the morning paper Diario de Noticias, a function that has been done so in November and the first of which was dismissed from his post following the political changes introduced by the military coup which took place in the November 25 Revolutionary Which have blocked an attempt. Two books mark the times: in 1993, a long poem published in 1975, which promises some critics to the work that after two years and will begin to appear with evidence of painting and calligraphy, novel, and, under the title notes, political and articles first published in the newspaper I was manager.

And the unemployed to work again, taking into account the political situation where we were without most of the access to employment, decided to devote myself to literature: The time has come to know what you value as a writer. At the beginning of 1976, I settled for a few weeks in Lavre, a country village in the province of Alentejo. That was the period of study and observation notes, which, in 1980, the novel has risen from the ground, in terms of the way in which Legend is that discriminate my child. At the same time, in 1978 I had published a series of short stories, similarities in the 1979 drama “Night Watch, in a few months ago rose from the ground, a new game, what should I do with this book? With the exception of another play entitled Second life of Francis of Assisi, which was published in 1987, 1980s completely dedicated to the novel: Balt Azar and Blimunda, 1982, the year of the death of Ricardo Reis, 1984, the Stone Raft, 1986, the date of the siege of Lisbon, 1989. In 1986 I met with Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio. I got married in 1988.

As a result of the Portuguese government control of the Gospel according to Jesus Christ (1991), while objected to the presentation to the European literary prize under the pretext that the attack on the Catholic book, my wife and I moved to our residence on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. At the beginning of that year published the play in nomine Dei, which was written in Lisbon, from which the libretto for the opera will Divara, with music by Italian composer Azio Corghi and staged for the first time in Munster, Germany 1993. This was not the first collaboration with Corghi: Blimunda is also music to opera, my version Palthe of Azar and Blimunda, staged in Milan, Italy in 1990. In 1993 began writing diaries, Cadernos Lanzarote (Lanzarote diary), with five parts so far. In 1995, the novel published in 1997 and blindness all the names. In 1995, I received Camoes Prize in 1998 and the Nobel Prize in literature.


Works in Portuguese:


  • Os poemas possiveis – Portugalia Ed. 1966. Ed. Caminho 1982

  • Provavelmente alegria – Livros Horizonte 1970. Ed. Caminho 1985

  • ano de 1993. Ed. Futura 1975 – Ed. Caminho 1987


  • Manual de Pintura e Caligrafia: romance – Moraes Ed. 1977. Ed. Caminho, 1984

  • Objecto quase – Moraes Ed. 1978. Ed. Caminho, 1984

  • Levantado do Chao: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1980

  • Memorial do Convento: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1982, Circulo de Leitores, 1984

  • ano da morte de Ricardo Reis: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1984

  • A jangada de pedra: romance – Ed. Caminho 1986, Circulo de Leitores, 1987

  • Historia do cerco de Lisboa: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1989

  • evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1991

  • Ensaio sobre a cegueira: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1995

  • Todos os nomes: romance – Ed. Caminho, 1997

  • Terra do Pecado : romance 1947. 2. ed. – Lisboa : Caminho, 1997

  • conto da Ilha Desconhecida / desenhos: Pedro Cabrita Reis. – Lisboa : Assirio & Alvim, 1997

  • A caverna : romance – Lisboa : Caminho, 2000

  • homem duplicado : romance – Lisboa : Caminho, 2002

  • Ensaio sobre a Lucidez : romance – Lisboa : Caminho, 2004

  • As intermitencias da morte : romance – Lisboa : Caminho, 2005

  • As pequenas memorias – Lisboa : Caminho, 2006


  • Deste mundo e do outro – Ed Arcadia 1971. Ed Caminho, 1985

  • A bagagem do viajante: cronicas – Ed. Futura 1973. Ed. Caminho, 1986

  • As opinioes que o DL teve – Seara Nova Ed. Futura, 1974

  • Os apontamentos: cronicas politicas – Seara Nova, 1976, Ed. Caminho, 1990

  • Viagem a Portugal. Circulo de Leitores 1981, – Ed. Caminho, 1984

  • Folhas politicas : 1976-1998 – Lisboa : Caminho, 1999

  • Discursos de Estocolmo – Lisboa : Caminho, 1999


  • A noite – Ed. Caminho 1979

  • Que farei com este livro? – Ed. Caminho 1980

  • A segunda vida de Francisco de Assis – Ed. Caminho 1987

  • In nomine Dei, 1993.

  • Don Giovanni ou O dissoluto absolvido : [teatro] – Lisboa : Caminho, 2005

  • Don Giovanni ou O dissoluto absolvido : teatro – Lisboa : Caminho, 2005


  • Cadernos de Lanzarote : diario. Vol. 1-5 – Lisboa : Caminho, 1994-1998. 5 vol.

Critical studies:

  • Lopes, O., Os sinais e os sentidos. Literatura portuguesa do seculo XX – Lisboa 1986

  • Seixo, M. Maria, O essencial sobre Jose Saramago – Imprensa Nacional 1987

  • Silva, T.C. Cerdeira da, Entre a historia e a ficcao. Uma saga de portugueses – Dom Quixote 1989

  • Losada, B., Eine iberische Stimme – Liber, 2,1, 1990,3

  • Kaufman, Helena I., Ficcao historica portuguesa da pos-revolucao – Madison 1991

  • Bastos, Baptista, Jose Saramago: Aproximacao a um retrato – Dom Quijote 1996

  • Costa, Horacio, Jose Saramago: O Periodo Formativo – Ed. Caminho 1998

  • Reis, Carlos, Dialogos com Jose Saramago – Lisboa : Caminho, 1998

  • Madruga, Maria da Conceicao, A paixao segundo Jose Saramago : a paixao do verbo e o verbo da paixao – Porto : Campos das Letras, 1998

  • Frier, David Gibson, The Novels of Jose Saramago – Cardiff : University of Wales Press, 2007

Translations into English:

  • Baltasar and Blimunda. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, cop. 1987 ; London : Cape, 1988. – Uniform Title: Memorial do convento

  • The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero – San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991 ; London : Harvill, 1992 – Uniform Title: O ano da morte de Ricardo Reis

  • The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – London : Harvill, 1993 ; New York : Harcourt Brace & Co., 1994 – Uniform Title: O Evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo

  • Manual of Painting and Calligraphy: a Novel. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero. – Manchester : Carcanet, 1994 – Uniform Title: Manual de pintura e caligrafia

  • The Stone Raft. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – London : Harvill, 1994 ; New York : Harcourt Brace, cop. 1995 – Uniform Title: Jangada de pedra

  • The History of the Siege of Lisbon. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – New York : Harcourt Brace, 1996 ; London : Harvill, 1996 – Uniform Title: Historia do cerco de Lisboa

  • Blindness. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – London : Harvill, 1997. Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1999 – Uniform Title : Ensaio sobre a cegueira

  • Baltasar & Blimunda. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero – London : Harvill, 1998 – Uniform Title: Memorial do convento. Note : The English text as originally publ. embodied a number of editorial amendments which the author requested be overruled; the labour of reinstating the text in accordance with the author’s wishes was undertaken by Giovanni Pontiero

  • All the Names. Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – New York : Harcourt, 1999 ; London : Harvill, 1999 – Uniform Title: Todos os nomes

  • The Tale of the Unknown Island. Illustrated by Peter Sis ; translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – London : Harvill, 1999 ; New York : Harcourt Brace, cop. 1999 – Uniform Title: Conto da ilha desconhecida

  • Journey to Portugal : In Pursuit of Portugal’s History and Culture. Translated from the Portuguese and with notes by Amanda Hopkinson and Nick Caistor – London : Harvill, 2000 ; New York : Harcourt, 2000 – Uniform Title: Viagem a Portugal

  • The Cave. Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – London : Harvill, 2002 ; New York : Harcourt, cop. 2002 – Uniform Title: A Caverna

  • The Double. Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – London : Harvill, 2004 ; Orlando : Harcourt, cop. 2004 – Uniform Title: O Homem duplicado

  • Seeing / translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – Orlando : Harcourt, 2006 – Uniform Title: Ensaio sobre a lucidez

  • Death at Intervals / translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa – London : Harvill Secker, 2008


1998: Nobel Prize in Literature.


Excerpt from Baltasar and Blimunda

Now they are ready for takeoff. Father Bartolomeu Lourenco look straight up at the cloud-free sky, the sun looks like a golden Monstrance, then he looks at Baltasar taking a firm grip on the rope with which they must tear the sails, then Blimunda, ack on her eyes could see what to happen, we give ourselves to the Lord if he is, mumlade him, and then smothered voice, Pull Baltasar, but Baltasar was not immediately, his hand shaking, this is like saying Fiat, they say it and then it is, how is it possible, just to draw and so we find ourselves in a completely different place, but where. Blimunda came to him and holding both of his hands over his and with one stroke, as if it could just go to just like this, they withdrew both the rope. The whole sail was down on one side, the sun called for full of amber balls and now, how will this go. It took a tremor through the machine, the waved as if it searched to find the balance that it suddenly had lost, over all, crack and grinded it, the sound came from the iron plates and the braided willow branches, and suddenly it was as if the machine had sucked up in a glorious whirlpool , Twice, gently rotate the round while the step, but as soon as it had been above the wall was restored the balance, lifted his mashuvud and rose as an arrow into the air. Baltasar and Blimunda have been thrown down by the sharp caste and ended up on the machine BOARDED FLOOR, but Father Bartolomeu Lourenco has addressed in one of Loden, which maintains the sails and, therefore, he can see how the earth moves away with incredible speed, it is already difficult to discern goods between the hills, and what it might be over there, Lisbon course, and river and sea, this sea that I, Bartolomeu Lourenco they Gusmao, have crossed on the way from Brazil, the sea as I sailed over on his way to Holland, to which new continents on earth and in the air, you bring me, machinery, the wind howl in the ears, never has any bird risen so high, if the king still saw me now, if there Tomas Pinto Brandao saw me, as he was getting silly of me in his poems, about Sanctum Officium saw me, then everyone would understand that I am God’s chosen son, Just me, I now rising into the sky in the force of my genius, and also thanks to Blimundas eyes, there is crying her eyes in the sky , And thanks to Baltasars RIGHT HAND, God, here I come to you with one who does not have any left hand, Blimunda, Baltasar, res at you and come and watch, was not afraid. They were not afraid, they were just horrified his own audacity. The priest laughed, cried out loud, he had already released one of Lodet and ran back and forth across the flight deck machine to treat the earth in all the four winds, as it was now they were far away from it, finally went Baltasar and Blimunda up while the fearful took hold of the mooring and then in the tackle, mixed light and wind, and soon not afraid anymore, Oh, Baltasar cried, and we succeeded, he ranging Blimunda and suddenly burst into tears, he was like a child who has lost, imagine a soldier who has been absent in the war, which killed a man with his little dig in Pegoes, and now he was sobbing with happiness while he embraces Blimunda to kiss his dirty face, there, now, there, now. The priest came to them and embrace them, suddenly concerned about an analogy that the Italian would have made him aware of, he himself is God, Baltasar his son, Blimunda the Holy Spirit, and where the three were in heaven, there is only one God , He yelled, but the wind took the words from the mouth on him. Then said Blimunda, if we do not cut out sail, we will continue to rise and was then shall we fall, perhaps in the sun. We will never ask you if there is no sense in the madness, but we like to say that we are all a bit mad. In this way, we remain on this side, we are simply mad as a pretext to demand equality in the sensible world, we are just a little crazy, a lot of reason we keep, to save our own lives, for example, , As Father Bartolomeu Lourenco do now, if we cut out to sail quickly, the machine will fall to earth like a stone, and now it is he who will manage the rope, let go after just so much to sail smoothly can open up, everything depends on care team, and sail opments out, let his shadow fall on amber balls, and machine speed slows, who could imagine that it would be this easy to be mate in the air, now we can hazard in the road and look for new India. Giant bird stops rising, it stands still in the air with widespread wings and beak to the north, it does not seem as if it were. The priest cut out sail even more, three quarters of amber balls are shaded now, and the machine lowers itself slowly, it is like being aboard a boat in a quiet lake, a kind of rudder, for a while with the honor, what more can not man come on. Slowly approaching the earth itself, one sees Lisbon as clear, Palace Square crooked rectangle, the labyrinth of streets and alleys, Barber of porches in the house where the priest lived and which now Inquisition men entering to arrest him, but too late, thinking that people who monitor on heaven’s interests are not going to the tank to look up into the sky, but at this altitude is the machine of course only a tiny dot against the blue, and how they would anyway be able to raise our eyes when they are so terrified proposed the sight of a Bible with all Pentateuch pages torn and a KORAN the wear in a thousand pieces, they are already on the way out, now goes to the Rossio and Estausplatset to announce that the priest had already fled when they came to imprison him, and they can not imagine that he is protecting of the mighty heavens where they never come up, it is indeed true that God chooses his patronage, the mad, crippled, those overly-equipped, but not the Inquisition people. Giant bird drops a little to, now you can even discern the Duke goods, it is clear that these luftfarare are beginners, they do not have sufficient experience to quickly grasp the essential contours of the landscape, watercourses, lakes, villages ustrodda who stars on the soil and the dark forests, but where is the barn four walls, the airport from where they started, Father Bartolomeu Lourenco remember that there is a telescope in the coffin, he quickly goes away and get it and set it, how wonderful it is to live and invent things, everything appears so clear, straw mattress in his corner, forge, it is only cembalon is gone, what could have happened to cembalon, as we know it will tell you, Domenico Scarlatti had traveled to the cargo and when he came closer to receiving he see how the machine suddenly rose to the skies with a very vingsus, what would he have done if it had started to turn with the wings, and when he came in he was met by the devastation after the exodus, the broken line that glenfinnan were strewn everywhere on the floor, they chopped or nerrivna Sparr and beams, there is nothing more melancholy than the vacuum left by someone’s departure, the aircraft rushes forward on the track, rise up in the sky, the only thing that remains is a dull melancholy, Domenico Scarlatti knows that he must sit at his harpsichord and play rather, there is almost nothing, only the fingers are a bit over the keys as if they are stressed over a face when every word has been said or no longer has any meaning, but because he knows very well that it is dangerous to leave cembalon here, he is lagging in the road over the uneven ground, whimpers discordant strings at the shake, now gets beat dreadfully out of order, Scarlatti lagging forward cembalon of well-wing, which fortunately is low, with great difficulty lifting him up and topple down in depth, two times, the resonance box against the wall, well, all the strings wails, in the end it falls down into the water, nobody knows the fate that harpsichord goes to the assembly, it played so beautifully and now falling on a GURGLE sounds like a drowning until it attaches itself to ro in the sludge. Top air can not see the musician, now he is already on the way back, he chooses the most popular trails, maybe he goes astray, he might look up, sight of the giant bird, tips its hat to, just once, it is best to dissimulate and pretend you know nothing, because they saw him from flying machine, who knows if they will ever meet again. The wind is south, a slight breeze that just may Blimundas hair to flutter, with the will of nowhere, it is as if they could swim across the ocean, and therefore ask Baltasar, Should I take the blowing bellows, everything has two sides, first proclaimed the priest, there is only one God, now wants Baltasar know, Should I use the blowing bellows, the first raised, then the prosaic, when God is not blowing man himself may try. But it looks as if Father Bartolomeu Lourenco suffered paralysis, he says nothing, not moving, consider only the earth’s wide circle, some rivers and seas, some are mountain and high light, if he sees far there is not foamy waves, it could be the white sail on a ship, so far there is dimsjok or smoke from a chimney, now the world has elapsed and people with, the silence hurts, the wind has mojnat, not a hair is on Blimundas head, Take, for blowing bellows, Baltasar, said the priest.

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Professor Kjell Espmark of the Swedish Academy, December 10, 1998.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen,There is one type of writer who, like a bird of prey, circles time and again over the same territory. Book succeeds book, in progress towards a coherent picture of the world. Jose Saramago belongs to the opposite category, writers who repeatedly seem to want to invent both a world and a style that is new. In his novel The Stone Raft, he makes the Iberian peninsula separate and drift out into the Atlantic, an opening that provides a wealth of possibilities for a satirical description of society. But in his next book, The History of the Siege of Lisbon, no trace of this geological catastrophe is to be found. In Blindness: a Novel, the epidemic that deprives people of their sight is confined between the covers of the work. In his next novel All the Names, at the Population Registration Office nothing has been heard of any rampant spread of blindness, nor in previous works has there been anything to suggest the existence of this chillingly all-embracing agency. It is not Saramago’s ambition to portray a coherent universe. On the contrary, he seems every time to be trying out a new model to apprehend an evasive reality, fully aware that each model is a crude approximation that could permit other approximate values, indeed one that requires them. He explicitly condemns anything that claims to be “the only version”; it is merely “another version among many”. There is no overriding truth. Saramago’s apparently contradictory images of the world have to be placed alongside each other to provide their own alternative accounts of an existence that is fundamentally protean and unfathomable.In each and every one of these versions, the rules of common sense are suspended in some way. This is not uncommon in recent fiction. But here we are dealing with something different from narrative in which anything can happen – and does so all the time. Saramago has adopted a demanding artistic discipline which allows the laws of nature or common sense to be violated in one decisive respect only, and which then follows the consequences of this irrationality with all the logical rationality and exact observation it is capable of. In his novel The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, he makes a flesh and blood character of a figure that has only existed in the imaginary world, one of the guises adopted by the poet Pessoa. But this miracle gives rise to a masterfully realistic picture of Lisbon in the 1930s. Again, the severance of the Iberian peninsula that allows it to drift off into the Atlantic is a one-off violation of the natural order; what follows is a hilariously precise description of the consequences of this absurd aberration. In The History of the Siege of Lisbon the accepted order of things is subverted more discreetly. A proof-reader introduces a “not” into a book about the war of liberation against the Moors, thus altering the course of history. As penance he is made to write an alternative history that delineates the consequences of his amendment; this is once again a version that denies any claim to be the only valid one. In the same spirit, Saramago has also published a new, wonderful version of the narrative of the gospels, a version in which the contravention of the expected order is to be found in God’s petty hunger for power so that the role of Jesus is redefined as one of defiance. Perhaps the greatest scope allowed to the fantastic is in Baltasar and Blimunda where the clairvoyant heroine gathers up the wills of the dying – energy that makes the aerial voyage in the book possible. But she too and her love are placed in an objectively described historical process, in this case the construction of the convent at Mafra that cost so much human suffering.This rich work, with its constantly shifting perspectives and constantly renewed images of the world, is held together by a narrator whose voice is with us all the time. Apparently he is a story-teller of the old-fashioned omniscient variety, a master of ceremonies standing on the stage next to his creations, commenting on them, guiding their steps and sometimes winking at us across the footlights. But Saramago uses these traditional techniques with amused distance. The narrator is also adept in the contemporary devices of the absurd and develops a modern scepticism when faced with the omniscient claim to be able to say how things stand.The result is literature characterised at one and the same time by sagacious reflection and by insight into the limitations of sagacity, by the fantastic and by precise realism, by cautious empathy and by critical acuity, by warmth and by irony. This is Saramago’s unique amalgam.Dear Jose Saramago,Anybody who tries in a few minutes to portray your work will end up articulating a series of paradoxes. You have created a cosmos that does not want to be a coherent universe. You have given us ingenious versions of a history that will not allow itself to be taken captive. You have taken the stage as the kind of narrator we feel we have long been familiar with – but with all of our contemporary liberties at your fingertips and imbued with contemporary scepticism about definite knowledge.Your distinguishing mark is irony coupled with discerning empathy, distance without distance. It is my hope that this award will attract many people to your rich and complex world. I would like to express the warm congratulations of the Swedish Academy as I now request you to receive this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature from the hands of His Majesty the King.

Nobel Lecture:

7 December 1998

How Characters Became the Masters and the Author Their Apprentice

The wisest man I have ever known could neither read nor write. The clock four in the morning, when the promise of a new day, still came from France, rose up from his straw mattress, went out and let out to pasture the half-dozen of pigs whose fertility he and his wife had their salvage. Under these circumstances scant lived my grandparents, they livnarde on pig farms on a small scale, and after weaning, the pigs were sold to neighbors in the village of Azinhaga in the Ribatejo. My grandparents named Jeronimo Melrinho and Josefa Caixinha and illiterate both. In the winter night when the cold was so severe that the water in lerkrusen in the house froze to the ice went out and picked the most pitiable piglets in pigs tian and placed them among themselves in bed. During the coarse blankets were they frozen stiff small animals cooked by the people and was saved from certain death. Although the two old had good heart, it was not the sjalsfinhet and COMMISERATION as they did so: that for them, without sentimentality or rhetoric, was to ensure their living by himself the clarity of that for a living have never learned to pay more than necessary. Many times I helped my grandfather Jeronimo in his shepherd chores, many times I dug in the garden behind the house and landen chopped wood to fire, many times I went to the well in the village and spun around the great wheel of iron that drove the pump until I got up water I then carried home on the shoulder, many times smog I also at dawn with Grandma past the men guarding the fields, we were provided with rake, canvas and ropes to go into the stump collect the loose straw to which the animals would have to be on. And a few times during the warm summer evenings after dinner grandfather said: “Jose, at night, do and I sleep under the fig tree.” There were two more fig-tree, but it was just there where the tree was the fig tree for every home, certainly because it was the largest and oldest, and that it had always been there. Perhaps it was a question of antonomasi, a scholar name as I did not until many years later would come to know and understand the meaning of the … In the night’s silence proved a star for me between high tree branches and then disappeared slowly behind a leaf, and if I looked the other way so I like a quiet river flowing across the heavens the opal shimmering light from the Milky Way, the Road to Santiago, we still called it the village. When sleep did not want to present himself befolkades night of stories and events that grandfather told me about: stories, revelations, wonderful phenomenon, sallsamma episodes, murders in the old days, clashes with pakar and stones, ancestors words, an ever-babble of memories that kept me awake while the soft lull me into complacency. I did not know if he fell silent when he realized that I had fallen asleep or if he continued to tell me to leave my question to half unanswered, that I always asked during the long pauses as he deliberately put into the story: “What happened it then? ” Perhaps he repeated the stories to himself to not forget them or to enrich them with a new unexpected turn of events. In the age I was then and during the era in which we both lived, it is clear that I imagined my grandfather Jeronimo who lord over all the world’s knowledge. When the bird song woke me in the first dawn light, he was no longer, he had gone to the bar with their animals and let me sleep on. Then I rose up, soft blanket together, and barefoot (in the village, I always went barefoot until I was 14 years old) and still with the straw in her hair I walked past the garden landen away to the other side of the farm where pigs tian low abode beside the house. Grandmother, who was on the bones before grandfather, put up a big bowl of coffee beans with bits of me and asked if I had slept well. If I told her about a scary dream after grandfather stories she reassured me: “Do not worry about that, dreams are nothing to attach itself to.” Then I thought that even if the grandmother was a very clever woman she is not up to the grandfather, who, when he was under the fig tree with barnbarnet Jose beside themselves, with only a few words prompted bring the entire universe in motion. It was only many years later, when the grandfather had already left this world and I had become a grown man, I got clear to me that eventually grandma also believed in dreams. It may not have been otherwise, because one evening, as she sat outside the door to his poor home, where she lived alone for the time, and saw the large and small stars above his head, said she should have spoken these words: “The world is so beautiful and I think it is so unfortunate to die. ” She said that she was not afraid to die, she said it was a pity to die, as if her arduous and labor-filled life now in her almost ultimate moment would have consisted in accepting the grace of a raised last farewell, consolation in the beauty revealed. She sat at the door of a home that I think unprecedented in the world, because there were living people who could sleep with pigs as if they were their own children, people who thought it was a shame to leave life because the world was beautiful, and the was my grandfather Jeronimo, shepherd and storytellers, who, when he knew that death came to fetch him, went out in the garden and took leave of trees, one by one, they embrace them and cried because he knew he would never get see them more. Many years later, when I first wrote about my grandfather and my grandmother Jeronimo Josefa (I forgot to tell her, according to all who knew her when she was a girl had been unusually beautiful), I became aware that I was going to transform these ordinary people to the poet figures and that this probably was the way to not forget them, to repeatedly take out their features with pen, which is constantly evolved memory image, and to add color and highlight the monotony of their luster solve everyday without free horizons, as is on top of memory Map a fugitive trying to re-create the supernatural unreality in a country where we have decided to stay. The same mood that, then I evoked the fascinating and enigmatic image of a great, great grandfathers who were berber, made me at approximately these words describe a portrait (now nearly eighty years old) of my parents, “says the young and beautiful; in front of the photographer, with deeply serious facial expression that is perhaps fright in front of the camera at the moment when the lens will catch them in the picture as they never will be, because tomorrow inexorably is a new day … My mother supports the right elbow with a high pillars and holding a flower in the left hand hanging along the body. Father has put the arm on the mother’s back and his callus hand comes up over the shoulder of her as a wing. They stand there timid on a carpet of flowers and leaves. On the screen, which is the portrait artificial background skymtar diffuse and odd bits of Neoclassical architecture. ” And I ended: “The day must inevitably come when I would tell these things. None of this has implications for anyone other than me. A grandfather who is berber and have come from North Africa, a grandfather who is swineherd, a wonderfully beautiful grandmother, serious, stylish parents, a flower on a portrait – what else pedigree means nothing to me? Is there a better tree to lean against? ” I wrote these words for nearly thirty years ago, with no other intention than to re-create and record the moment in the life which has generated me and stood close to me, and I never thought I would have to explain anything more for it to know where I will and of what kind of wood that could shape a person such as I was in the beginning and I gradually is becoming. But it turned out that I was wrong, biology does not decide everything, and what the genetics are concerned, have their roads have been good mystery when they could make such a big detour … On my tree (the forgiven me feel that I am PRESUMPTUOUS enough to call it that, although the strength of its sap is declining) were missing not only some of the branches that was broken by themselves next to the strain of repeated time and life lists, but it was also short someone who could help the roots to penetrate into the deepest soil layers, one that could process the fruit’s flavor and texture, no induced broaden and strengthen its crown so that it was for the protection of migratory birds and an enclosure for the birds’ nests. When I painted my parents and grandparents with literature colors and thus turned them from ordinary people of flesh and blood to the poet figures which again, and in a different way was my day rise, I was unconsciously in the process to indicate the direction of the figures which I came to later, where the other, they really were trumped up, could provide me with material and tools to the end, benefit or harm, in excess or incomplete, on the profit and loss, in which it was not good and even in what was overstated, would make me the person I consider myself today: the creator of these figures, but at the same time of their creation. In a sense, you can even say that I, letter by letter, word by word, page by page, book for book, have gradually come to incorporate the characters I created with the man I am. I do not think I could be who I am today without them, and without them my life would perhaps not have come to be more than a vague sketch, a promise that so many others who have stayed at a promise, a life where you perhaps could have been something else, but there is not really enough. Now I can see clearly what has been my champion in life, those who have given me the most intensive teaching of the harsh treatment of life, these dozen or so characters from novels and theater pieces that I at this moment looks defile past, these men and women made of paper and ink, these people who I imagined myself that I was following my tells purposes and as I thought obeyed my writers like that JUMPING JACK whose documents could not affect me more than their weight and tension in the threads that I pre-printed in order to obtain them to move. Of those champions was the first beat the mediocre portrait painter who just signed his paintings with an H, which was the main person in a story where I think it is reasonable to talk about dual authors (a portrait painter himself but also to some extent the author). In the novel the Manual Pinturas e Caligrafia (Manual of Painting and Calligraphy), I received education about the profound honesty of that without harm or feeling of failure to recognize and respect their own limits: because I neither induced or had no ambition to dare me outside the small fun as I had to grow on the left for me to dig deep, right down to the roots. My own roots, but also the world, if I could allow myself a so IMMODERATE ambition. It will not of course me to assess the impact and value of these modor, but I think it is now clear that all my work, right from that time and beyond, has followed this guideline and principle. Then came the men and women from the Alentejo, the brotherhood of the Earth condemned by my grandfather and my grandmother Jeronimo Josefa belonged, HEAVY-LIMBED farm workers who were forced to lease his arm strength in exchange for pay and working conditions as against only be described as disgraceful, farm for less than nothing tore up the bread diet in the life that we, who boasted to be cultured and civilized, as the case may like to call the precious, holy and exalted. Frequently people I got to know and who lost out by a church, just as guilty as favored by the government and the large cargo owners, people who were constantly attentive to the police and infinitely many times were the innocent victims of a deceptive right appear arbitrary. Three generations of farmers working family Mau-Tempo, from the beginning of the century and until the revolution in April 1974 when the dictatorship was disrupted, occurs in this novel that I gave the title Levantado do Chao (They went out of the dust), and it was with these men and women , Who had emerged from the dust, only the true and then the poet figures, as I learned to be patient, to trust me on time and send me about it, this time at once create and destroy us and then create us again and again to destroy us. I just do not know if I really have managed to take me there as the harsh experience made a virtue of these women and men: an obvious stoical attitude to life. I notice, however, that this lesson after more than twenty years, yet remains in my memory, that every day I feel it as an urgent call within me, and still I have not lost hope that I shall be able to make me a little more merit the great examples of dignity that was me on the vast plains of Alentejo. Time will tell that. What lessons could I get a Portuguese citizen who lived in the 1500s, which created Rimas and Lusiadas (Lusiaderna) with the glorious feat, the ship crimes and fathers of the country disappointed hopes, a man who was a perfect poetic genius, the greatest in our literature, how much this epihtet than rests heavily over Fernando Pessoa, who himself proclaimed to our Super-Camoes? No one lesson that fit my standards, not a lesson that I would be able to take to me, except the simplest of Luis Vaz the Camoes could forgive me through his true humanity, for example, the humble pride of a writer who can go around and knock on all doors to find someone who is willing to give out the book he has written, and that for the sake of face disdain from the ignorance of birth and class, the contempt full indifference of a king and his supporters of powerful men, with hanet the world in every age have received visits by poets, visionaries and dararna. At least once in their lifetime, all writers have had or will have to be the Luis Camoes, even if they do not have written the sjustaviga verses in Sobolos Rios … It is this man I see among the court nobility and Sanctum Officiums censorer, among the youth years, my dear great and the premature aging of disillusionment, the pain in my writing and the joy of having written, this man as sick and destitute returning from India, where many went for to get rich, the soldier, blind in one eye and scarred in his soul, his destitute seduce, who never again shall bring LADY-IN-WAITING emotions stirred, it is this man who I try to breathe life into the stage in plays Que farei com Este livros ? (What shall I do with this book?). At the end of the play is another issue that oaks, a very important issue that we do not know if we will ever get a satisfactory answer to: “What will you do with this book?” Stolt humility was the question of when he walked around with his masterpiece in the arm and found themselves undeserved abandoned by all. Stolt humility and even stubbornness, it is in wanting to know what the books we write today for value tomorrow, and immediately arises as to cast doubt on the reassuring arguments, which we may hear or that we assigned to ourselves, will will persist for a long time (until when?). Nobody deluding itself more thoroughly than letting itself be deceived by others … Now approaching a man who left his left hand in the war and a woman who came to the world with the mysterious gift to be able to see what is inside the skin of the people. He called Baltasar Mateus and has to name seven solar, she is known as the Blimunda and also during nicknamed Seven moons, which she got because it is written that where there is sunshine, there must be a moon, and that only the club both in harmony and love can make Earth a habitable place. Now approaching a jesuitprast named Bartolomeu and who invented a machine that could rise up in the sky and fly without fuels other than human desire, that, as alleged, capable of everything, but so far has been unable or does not have the power or did not want to be the simple godhetens or it even easier to respect the sun and moon. There are three wicked Portuguese in the 1700’s, at a time and in a country where superstitions flourished and the Inquisition pyres Flamme, where a king vanity and megalomania led to the construction of a monastery, a palace and a basilica which would have the rest of the world to be amazed if the world, which is not so likely, would have enough good eye to discover Portugal, such as eyes, we know that Blimunda had to see what was hidden … And this will also be a huge crowd of people, many thousands of men with dirty and callus DUKES and fatigued bodies after years of relentless erected the monastery walls, stone on stone, palatsets huge halls, towers and pilastrarna, the airy bell-towers, domed basilica, which hovers in nothingness. The notes that we hear coming from Domenico Scarlattis harpsichord, he does not know if he should laugh or cry … This is the story of Baltasar and Blimunda (Memorial do Convento), a book in which the apprentice writers, thanks to the teaching that he long since had their grandparents Jeronimo and Josefa, has already been able to write the following words, not without a certain poetry: ” In addition to women’s calls are the dreams that keeps the Earth in its orbit. But it is also the dreams that give it a wreath of moons, and therefore is a heaven is shimmer as contained in the human head, perhaps it is indeed human head which is the only Real heaven. ” Amen.

Already Ynglingen knew little about poetry lessons from studies of the books on vocational school in Lisbon where he prepared for the profession which he exercised at the beginning of their career, namely engineering. He also found excellent champion in the art of poetry during the long night hours he spent at the public library, where he read at random as he met at, and in catalogs, without guidance, without anyone giving him advice, with the same creative startling as a seafarer who shall imagine any place he finds. But it was in the professional school libraries as O Ano da Morte they Ricardo Reis (The year when Ricardo Reis died) started to be written … Which met the young engineer technician apprentice (he was 17 years old) a day in a journal – “Atena” was that – where there were poems signed with that name, and because he obviously was a bad master of his country’s literary cartography, he thought that it Portugal was a poet named Ricardo Reis. It was not long before he knew that the real poet had been a certain Fernando Nogueira Pessoa, who signed the poems with the name of poets who were, but had to come into his head and he called HETERONYMOUS, a word that was not in the books of ideas that time, and therefore caused the apprentice in the humanities great expense to find out what it meant. He learned many of Ricardo Reis poems, but to ( “Para look grande see inteiro / Poe quanto es no minimo que fazes” – “To be big was the whole / Add all that you are in the smallest things you do”), but despite that he was so young and ignorant, he could not agree to a superior spirit, but doubts had been able to cultivate this cruel verse: “Sabio e o que see content com o espectaculo do mundo” ( “Vis is the one who is content with the world’s spectacle” ). Many, many years later ventured apprentice, already with white hair and a little wiser for their own lessons, to write a novel to show Odesa poet something of what constituted the world’s spectacle that 1936, when he had him up to live their last days: the Nazi army occupying the Rhineland, Franco’s war against the Spanish Republic, Salazar creation of the fascist militias in Portugal. It was as if he had said to him: “Here is the world’s spectacle, you, my poet with your mild bitterness and your elegant skepticism. Enjoy, Enjoy, look, you just sit there and the way …” O Ano da Morte they Ricardo Reis ended with some melancholy words: “Aqui, onde o March see acabou ea terra Esper” – ( “Here where the ocean ends and the earth is waiting”). It would thus be no more discoveries of Portugal, but its fate would be only endless anticipation of a future which we could not even imagine: just the usual fadon, this eternal “Saudade”, and not much more … That was when the apprentice came on that perhaps there could be an additional way to get the boats in the lake, for example, putting the country on the move and get it to sail out over the sea. The immediate result of the collective Portuguese resentment over Europe’s historical contempt (more precisely the fruit of my own personal resentment …) became the novel A Jangada the Pedra (Stone fleets), which I wrote when and where I put the whole of the Iberian peninsula separated from the European continent and turned into a large floating island, which was without Arora, sails or propellers in the direction of the southern hemisphere, “a mass of stone and earth, covered with towns, villages, rivers, forests, plants, heaths, fields, with their people and their animals, “Towards a new utopia: the cultural meeting between the peoples of the peninsula and the people on the other side of the Atlantic, and thus challenged, I also, for as far stretched my strategy, the stifling dominance of the United States engaged in these areas. .. With a two-way utopian vision, one could perceive this political fiction that a much more generous and humane metaphor, namely Europe, the whole of Europe, should move southward as amortization of older and newer colonialist misdemeanors and to help create a balance in the world. That is to say, Europe to the end of ethics. The people in A Jangada the Pedra – two women, three men and a dog – traveling tirelessly across the peninsula while it is on its way across the Atlantic. The world is changing, and they know it is in themselves they must search for the new people they should be (not forgetting the dog, who is not an ordinary dog …). It is enough for them. Now the apprentice recalled that he occasionally in life had been reviewed and proof-read a few books and that, if the A Jangada the Pedra so to speak, was an examination of the suffered, it would not be so bad if he could examine the past to figure out a novel that would be named the History of the Siege of Lisbon (Historia do Cerco de Lisboa), in which a proofreader, while he was reviewing a book by this name, but it is a book about the history, enough of that notice how those History increasingly less able to surprise, and decides to reverse an affirmative duty to a negative, and thereby undermine his authority of the “historical truths”. Raimundo Silva, who proof-reader devices, is a simple, everyday man who only differs from the amount because he believes that all things have a visible and an invisible side and that we will not know anything about them until we’ve turned up and down on them. Just about this is a call that he has with the historian. So here it reads: “Remember, the proofreaders have seen most of the literature and life, I wish to reiterate that my book is about history, I do not intend to make further objections, in my humble opinion, everything literature unless it is life, too, history, above all the story, if you will excuse, and painting and music, music has been resistance right from birth, the commute back and forth, it wants to get rid of the word jealous, I think, but to finally joins the always, and painting, but painting is nothing more than literature expressed by brush, you re not forget that people began painting long before they could write, That the saying, I am aware, in the absence of hens take the fox crows, who can not write, he paints signs or in other words, just like kids, you want to say that literature existed even before it had been born, Right, just like humans, who also was before she became, I believe that you have chosen the wrong profession, you should have been a historian, I have no skills, what can be a simple person, without qualification, I may be happy that I was fortunate to get to the world genetically well-equipped, but as raw material, so to speak, and then, I have not had more polish than a basic education, you could introduce you to autodidacts, your own creation of your own power, there is nothing to be ashamed of, sooner in the world community was proud of its autodidacts, So it is no longer, progress has been made out of it, now look down on autodidacts, only those who write the verses and stories that are pure entertainment are permitted to be autodidacts, but my inclination has never been to literary creation, Go in for philosophy, I know, you has a sense of humor, you cultivate the irony, I wonder why you devote yourself to history, there is a serious and profound science, I am just ironic, in reality, I do not think the story is the reality, it is the only literature that is, But the story was a reality in an era when we still could not call it history, you therefore believe that history is reality, yes I do, the story was reality, I should say, That is not the slightest doubt, how would it go if not deleaturtecknet was, sighed proof-reader. ” It need not be added to the apprentice got a lesson in doubt, along with Raimundo Silva. It was about time. It was probably these doctrines of particleboard doubt that made him two years later to write the Gospel according to Jesus Christ (O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo). It is true, and he himself said it, the title words appeared in front of him as an optical illusion, but it is legitimate to ask whether he could not have been influenced by the clear and calm by example as proof-reader when he was at this time, helped to prepare the ground where the new novel would sprout. This time, there was no question about that drill in the New Testament and look for opponents but with flowing light illuminate the book, as it does on a painting to emphasize the elevation makers, transitions and the deepest underlying parties. It was so apprentice, now surrounded by the Gospel characters, read as if it were for the first time, the description of how the innocent children of Bethlehem killed, and when he had read understood he was not. He did not realize that it already could be martyrs in a religion that would have to wait another thirty years on its founder would pronounce the first word about it, he did not understand that the only person who could save the lives of children in Bethlehem did not, he did not understand that Joseph had not the slightest sense of responsibility, remorse, guilt or even curiosity since he had returned from Egypt with his family. It is also not possible to the defense say that the children of Bethlehem to die for Jesus’ life could be saved: common sense, which should be the guiding principle in all circumstances, human and divine, reminds us that God would not send his son to Earth with the first task to redeem the sin full humanity, that he would die at two years old, throat cut by one of Herod’s soldiers … in this gospel, written by the apprentice with the respect that they deserve great dramas, Josef becomes aware of their guilt, he accepts the repentance as punishment for Providence relations, which he has committed and sounds almost without resistance led to death, as if it was this that taken to make up the bill with the world. Apprentice gospel is not another edifying legend of blind people and gods, but a story about some human beings, subject to a power that they are fighting against, but fail to defeat. Jesus who will inherit sandals with which his father had traveled on the dusty gravel roads of him will also inherit the tragic sense of responsibility and guilt that is never leave him, not even when he is leasing its voice on the cross: “People, forgive him because he knows not what he has done, “certainly aimed at the God who had brought him here, but who knows if he continues in this last moment of agony remember his real father, who, in flesh and blood, in people’s way had indulgences him . As you see, the apprentice had already made a long trip when he was in his heretical gospel wrote the last words of the temple dialogue between Jesus and the scribes: “The debt is a wolf who eats up his son after having absorbed father, said the scribes, the wolf you are talking about has already eaten up my father, said Jesus, then made it just that he devours you, and you, in your life, have you ever been eaten or swallow, not just eaten and devour, I have been vomited so, replied the scribes. ” If Karl the Great in northern Germany had built a monastery, if this monastery had been the source of the Munsters founder, on Munster had not wanted to celebrate their ten hundred two hundred years with an opera about the terrible war that anabaptistiska Protestants and Catholics in the 1500s ran into in, the apprentice would not have written the piece he gave the name In Nomine Dei (In the Name of God). Once again, was the apprentice without assistance other than reason little light penetrate the dark labyrinth of religious faith, this faith that so easily drives people to kill and be killed. And he was looking at repercussions into fearsome tiger mask, an intolerance which in Munster reached a vanvettets Paroxysm, an intolerance to insult the very thing that both camps proclaimed that they defended. Because it was not on a war in two hostile gods name but a war in a single God’s name. Blind because of their faith could Anabaptist and Catholics in Munster not realize the most obvious of all things, that at the ruling today, when both parties will show up and get the reward or punishment for their deeds on earth, God must, if he in their decision to comply with something similar to the human logic, in paradise receive two sides in the war for the simple reason that both parties believe in him. The horrific carnage in Munster was the apprentice to realize that religions, as opposed to what they promise, never serve to align people to each other and that the most absurd of all wars are religious war, given that God, although he would like, can not explain war against himself … Blind. Apprentice thought, “We are blind, and set out to write Blind (Ensaio sobre a Cegueira) to remind the reader of the future that we use common sense in a perverse way, when we humiliate life, that human dignity insult daily by the powerful in world, that the universal lie has taken the truth reproduce the location, the man ceased to respect herself when she lost the respect she owes her next. As if the apprentice wanted to try to conjure monsters that had been bred by reason blindness, he began then write the simplest of stories about a man who begins looking for other people just because she has understood that this is the greatest life asks of us. The book called All the names (Todos os Nomes). Although they are not printed at all of our names there. The names of those who live and the names of those who are dead. I quit now. The voice who has read up on these pages would be the echo of all my poems gestalters votes. I myself have not actually vote more than they might have. Forgive me if it seemed you call, this is for me everything.


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