Bloom's Modern Critical Views African American Poets: Wheatley– Tolson African American Poets: Hayden– Dove Edward Albe. But the 3 José Saramago pavements were crammed with vehicles, they could not find a space to park and were obliged to look for a spot in one of the side. From the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, a “brilliant enchanting novel” (New York Times Book Review) of romance, deceit, religion, and magic.
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In , José Saramago published one of his greatest works, Blindness, known as A Portuguese and I chose to read it in English due to Saramago's complex. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Ross Elledge and others published Blindness by José Saramago. PDF | On Jan 1, , Mark Sabine and others published Introduction: of O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis, José Saramago s most brilliantly.
Rather than them all trudging up to the cave where adam and eve were living, they sent an advance guard of three men who had the authority to negotiate any work contracts, they, however, took pity on the luckless pair and made room for them on the donkeys they were riding.
The leader of the caravan would decide what to do with them. Despite this uncertainty, adam, like someone closing a door as he says goodbye, put out the fire. They were accepted into the caravan despite their evident lack of labouring skills and were not required to give too many explanations about who they were and where they came from.
They had got lost, they said, and that, after all, was the truth of the matter. Apart from the fact that they were the children of the lord, the work of his own divine hands, something which no one there could possibly know, there were no obvious physio-gnomic differences between them and their providential hosts, you would even think they belonged to the same race, black hair, olive skin, dark eyes, striking eyebrows.
When cain is born, all the neighbours will be surprised by the pale rosy complexion with which he comes into the world, as if he were the son of an angel, or an archangel, or even, perish the thought, the son of one of the cherubim. They never lacked for a dish of lentils, and it was not long before adam and eve began to earn a wage, nothing much, a purely symbolic amount really, but it nevertheless represented a start in life. Not only adam, but eve as well, who had not been born to be a duchess, were gradually being initiated into the mysteries of manual labour, into operations as simple as making a slip knot in 20 a rope or as complex as handling a needle without pricking your fingers too often.
When the caravan arrived at the settlement from which it had set out some weeks before, adam and eve were given a tent and some mats to sleep on and it was thanks to that and to other periods of stability in their lives that adam could, at last, learn to dig and delve, to sow seed in a furrow, and even to perfect the sublime art of pruning, which no lord and no god had thought to invent.
He began to work with the tools that others lent him, then slowly acquired his own and, after only a few years, was considered by his neighbours to be a good farmer. The days spent in the garden of eden and in the cave in the desert, the days of thorns and thistles and muddy streams, faded from his memory until sometimes they seemed like gratuitous inventions that had never actually been experienced or even dreamed, but, rather, intuited as if they came from a life, a self, a destiny that might have been.
Then came the day when adam could download a piece of land, call it his own and build, at the foot of a hill, a rough adobe house, and there his three sons were born, cain, abel and seth, all of whom, at some point in their lives, crawled between kitchen and living room. And between the kitchen and the fields as well, because the two oldest boys, as soon as they were big enough, and with all the ingenuous guile of their few years, used every pretext, valid or not, to get their father to take them with him, 21 mounted on the family mule, to wherever he was working.
It became clear early on that they had very different vocations. It has to be said that the division of labour in the household could not have been better, given than it covered the two most important sectors of the economy at the time. Everyone agreed that it was a family with a future. And so it would prove, as would shortly be shown, with the invaluable help of the lord, of course, for that is what he is there for. Ever since they were but tender infants, cain and abel had been the best of friends, to the degree that they did not even seem like brothers, where one went, the other followed, and they did everything by mutual agreement.
Those the lord loves, he preserves, said jealous mothers in the village, and so it seemed. Then one day, the future decided that it was about time it put in an appearance. Abel had his livestock, cain his fields, and in accordance with tradition and religious obligation, they offered to the lord the first fruits of their labours, with abel burning the delicate flesh of a lamb and cain the products of the earth, a few ears of wheat and some seeds.
Then something happened that has still not been explained. Concerned and perplexed, cain suggested to abel that they change places, perhaps it was the wind causing the problem, but when they did change places, the result was the same. It was clear that the lord held cain in contempt. It was then that abel revealed his true nature.
Poor cain had no alternative but to swallow the insult and go back to work. The same scene was repeated unvaryingly over a whole week, with one plume of smoke rising up to the heavens and one rising only as high as a man could reach before it dispersed.
And abel always reacted with the same lack of compassion, the same disdainful remarks, the same scorn. One day, cain asked his brother to go with him to a nearby valley where it was said that a fox had its lair, and there, with his own hands, he slew him with the jaw-bone of an ass that he had previously hidden, with treacherous intent, in a bramble patch. At that very moment, that is, after the event, the voice of the lord rang out, indeed, he appeared to cain in person.
He was clothed from head to foot in a richly woven robe, on his head the triple crown and in his right hand the sceptre. Where is your brother, he asked, and cain responded with another question. There was nothing more to be said. The lord disappeared before cain had even taken his first step. Poor abel, deceived by god. The lord had made some very bad choices when it came to inaugurating the garden of eden, in this particular game of roulette everyone had lost, in this target practice for the blind no one had scored.
Of course, eve and adam could always have another child to make up for the loss of their murdered son, but how sad to be someone with no other goal in life than to keep making children without knowing why or for what purpose. Cain has already given his answer by killing abel because he could not kill the lord.
Things do not augur well for the future life of this man. Just ask his mother, who would often find him sitting on the damp ground in their vegetable patch, staring at a small, newly planted tree, waiting for it to grow.
He was four or five years old and he wanted to see trees grow. That night, when adam returned from work, eve, laughing, told him what had happened, and her husband replied, That boy will go far. And perhaps he would have done if the lord had not crossed his path. And yet, he has already gone quite far, although not in the sense that his father had meant.
Dragging weary feet, he was now tramping through a desolate 27 landscape without so much as a ruined shack in sight or any other sign of life, a terrifying wilderness made more menacing still by the blank sky and the threat of an imminent downpour. There was no shelter anywhere, apart from under one of the few trees, which, as he walked, were beginning to show their tops above the horizon.
The branches, usually only sparsely covered with leaves, did not guarantee any protection worthy of the name. It was then, as the first drops fell, that cain realised that his tunic was stained with blood. He thought perhaps the rain would wash it away, but then thought better of it and tried to disguise the stain with earth, no one would ever suspect what lay beneath, especially since there was no shortage in such places of people with grubby, grimy tunics.
Yes, he said out loud, but abel was no lamb, he was my brother, and I killed him. Thinking while getting soaked to the skin is not the most comfortable thing in the world and that is perhaps why, from one moment to the next, the rain stopped, so that cain could think at his leisure and freely follow the course of his thoughts until he found out where they would lead him.
Neither he nor we will ever know, for the sudden appearance, out of nowhere, of a dilapidated hut distracted him from his ponderings and from his griefs. There were signs that the land behind the house had once been worked, the inhabitants had clearly long ago abandoned it, although perhaps not so very long ago if we bear in mind the intrinsic fragility, the precarious cohesion of the materials used to build such humble dwellings, which require constant repairs if they are not to collapse in a single season.
With no careful hand to watch over it, such a house will have little chance of withstanding the corrosive effect of the elements, especially the drenching rain and the rough winds that rasp away at it like sandpaper.
Some of the interior walls had crumbled, most of the roof had fallen in, and all that remained was a relatively sheltered corner where the exhausted traveller could collapse.
He could barely stand, not just because of the distance he had walked, but also because hunger was beginning to bite. Evening was coming on, soon it would be night. He reckons that by taking it off he would kill two birds with one stone, firstly, because then he would stop feeling cold and, secondly, because the tunic, being made of fairly thin fabric, would soon dry. And so he took off the tunic and immediately felt better.
This thought provoked another shiver, although not of the same sort, not of the kind he had felt from contact with his wet tunic, but a kind of tremor in the genital region, a slight stiffening that quickly went away, as if ashamed of itself. Cain knew what this was, but, despite his youth, either paid it little heed or else feared that more evil than good would come of it.
He curled up in his corner, knees to chest, and fell asleep. The cold of dawn woke him. He reached out to touch the tunic, noticed that it was still a little damp, but decided to put it on anyway and let it dry on his body. He had had no dreams or nightmares, he had slept as one imagines a stone must sleep, without consciousness, without responsibility, without guilt, however, his first words when he woke were, I killed my brother. In a different age, he might perhaps have wept, he might perhaps have despaired, he might perhaps have beaten his chest or his head, but things being what they are, with the world so recently begun, we still lack many of the words with which 30 we can begin to try and say who we are and cannot always find those that will best explain it, and so he contented himself with repeating what he had said until the words ceased to mean anything and were just a series of incoherent sounds, meaningless babblings.
He realised then that he had, in fact, had a dream, well, not a dream exactly, but an image of himself returning home and finding his brother standing in the doorway, waiting for him.
That is how he will remember him for the rest of his life, as if he had made peace with his crime and had no further need for his feelings of remorse. He left the hut and took a deep breath of cold air. The sun had not yet risen, but the sky was lit with delicate colours, enough for the arid, monotonous landscape before him to appear transfigured in that early morning light, a kind of garden of eden with no prohibitions.
Cain had no reason to set off in any particular direction, but he instinctively sought the footsteps he had left behind him before he had departed from his route to investigate the hut where he had spent the night. It was simple enough, he just had to walk towards the sun, which would soon be appearing above the horizon.
He had to find something to eat, if not, he would die in that desert and, within a matter of days, be nothing but a skeleton, because the carnivorous birds or the occasional pack of wild dogs that had not as yet appeared would make short work of him.
The news came from below, from his weary feet, which had taken a while to realise that the ground they were walking on had changed, there was now no vegetation, no scrub or thistles to hinder his steps, in short, cain, without knowing how or when, had found a path.
The poor wanderer was thrilled because it is a wellknown fact that a road, path or track will lead sooner or later, nearer or farther, to an inhabited place where it might be possible to find work, a roof and a crust of bread to assuage his hunger. Encouraged by this sudden discovery, and, as they say, putting a good face on a bad business, he dredged up some energy from nowhere and quickened his pace, expecting at any moment to see a house, signs of life, a man mounted on a donkey or a woman carrying a pitcher on her head.
He still had to walk a long way though. The old man who finally appeared was on foot and leading two sheep along on a rope. Cain greeted him as warmly as his vocabulary allowed, but the man did not reciprocate.
In this particular case, as a result of weighing up the pros and cons, after three days, the king went, in person, to the door for favors to find out what he wanted, this troublemaker who had refused to allow his request to go through the proper bureaucratic channels. Open the door, said the king to the cleaning woman, and she said, Wide open, or just a little bit. The king hesitated for a moment, the fact was that he did not much care to expose himself to the air of the streets, but then, he reflected, it would look bad, unworthy of his majestic self, to speak to one of his subjects through a crack in the door, as if he were afraid of him, especially with someone else listening in to the conversation, a cleaning woman who would immediately go and tell all and sundry who knows what, Wide open, he ordered.
The moment he heard the bolts being drawn back, the man who wanted a boat got up from the step by the door, folded his blanket and waited. These signs that someone was finally going to deal with the matter, which meant that the space by the door would therefore soon be free, brought together a number of other aspiring recipients of the king's generosity who were hanging about nearby ready to claim the place as soon as it became vacant.
The unexpected arrival of the king such a thing had never happened for as long as he had worn the crown provoked enormous surprise, not only among the aforementioned candidates, but also among the people living on the other side of the street who, attracted by the sudden commotion, were leaning out of their windows.
The only person who was not particularly surprised was the man who had come to ask for a boat. He had calculated, and his prediction was proving correct, that the king, even if it took him three days, was bound to be curious to see the face of the person who, for no apparent reason and with extraordinary boldness, had demanded to speak to him. Thus, torn between his own irresistible curiosity and his displeasure at seeing so many people gathered together all at once, the king very ungraciously fired off three questions one after the other, What do you want, Why didn't you say what you wanted straightaway, Do you imagine I have nothing better to do, but the man only answered the first question, Give me a boat, he said.
The king was so taken aback that the cleaning woman hurriedly offered him the chair with the straw seat that she herself used to sit on when she had some needlework to do, for, as well as cleaning, she was also responsible for minor sewing chores in the palace, for example, darning the pages' socks.
When they heard these words, uttered with such calm confidence, the would-be supplicants at the door for favors, whose impatience had been growing steadily since this conversation had begun, decided to intervene in the man's favor, more out of a desire to get rid of him than out of any sense of solidarity, and so they started shouting, Give him the boat, give him the boat.
The king opened his mouth to tell the cleaning woman to call the palace guard to come and reestablish public order and impose discipline, but, at that moment, the people watching from the windows of the houses opposite enthusiastically joined in the chorus, shouting along with the others, Give him the boat, give him the boat.
Faced by such an unequivocal expression of the popular will and worried about what he might have missed meanwhile at the door for favors, the king raised his right hand to command silence and said, I'm going to give you a boat, but you'll have to find your own crew, I need all my sailors for the known islands.
The cheers from the crowd drowned out the man's words of thanks, besides, judging from the movements of his lips, he might just as easily have been saying, Thank you, my lord, as Don't worry, I'll manage, but everyone clearly heard what the king said next, Go down to the docks, ask to speak to the harbormaster, tell him I sent you, and that he is to give you a boat, take my card with you.
The man who was to be given a boat read the visiting card, which bore the word King underneath the king's name, and these were the words the king had written as he rested the card on the cleaning woman's shoulder, Give the bearer a boat, it doesn't have to be a large boat, but it should be a safe, seaworthy boat, I don't want to have him on my conscience if things should go wrong.
When the man looked up, this time, one imagines, in order to say thank you for the gift, the king had already withdrawn, and only the cleaning woman was there, looking at him thoughtfully.
The man moved away from the door, a signal for the other supplicants finally to approach, there is little point in describing the ensuing confusion, with everyone trying to get to the door first, but alas, the door was once more closed. They banged the bronze doorknocker again to summon the cleaning woman, but the cleaning woman wasn't there, she had turned and left, with her bucket and her broom, by another door, the door of decisions, which is rarely used, but when it is used, it decidedly is.
Now one can understand the thoughtful look on the cleaning woman's face, for it was at that precise moment that she had decided to go after the man as he set off to the port to take possession of the boat. She decided that she had had enough of a life spent cleaning and scrubbing palaces, that it was time to change jobs, that cleaning and scrubbing boats was her true vocation, at least she would never lack for water at sea.
The man has no idea that, even though he has not yet started recruiting crew members, he is already being followed by the person who will be in charge of swabbing down the decks and of other such cleaning tasks, indeed, this is the way fate usually treats us, it's there right behind us, it has already reached out a hand to touch us on the shoulder while we're still muttering to ourselves, It's all over, that's it, who cares anyhow.
After walking quite a way, the man reached the harbor, went down to the dock, asked for the harbormaster and, while he was waiting for him, set to wondering which of the boats moored there would be his, he knew it wouldn't be large, the king's visiting card was very clear on that point, that excluded the steamships, cargo ships and warships, nor could it be so small that it would not withstand the battering winds or the rigors of the sea, the king had been categorical on that point too, It should be a safe, seaworthy boat, those had been his actual words, thus implicitly excluding rowboats, barges and dinghies, which, although entirely seaworthy and safe, each in its own way, were not made to plough the oceans, which is where one finds unknown islands.
A short way away, hidden behind some barrels, the cleaning woman ran her eyes over the moored boats, I fancy that one, she thought, not that her opinion counted, she hadn't even been hired, but first, let's hear what the harbormaster has to say. The harbormaster came, read the card, looked the man up and down, and asked the question the king had neglected to ask, Do you know how to sail, have you got a master's ticket, to which the man replied, I'll learn at sea.
The harbormaster said, I wouldn't recommend it, I'm a sea captain myself and I certainly wouldn't venture out to sea in just any old boat, Then give me one I could venture out in, no, not one like that, give me a boat I can respect and that will respect me, That's sailor's talk, yet you're not a sailor, If I talk like a sailor, then I must be one.
The harbormaster reread the king's visiting card, then asked, Can you tell me why you want the boat, To go in search of the unknown island, There are no unknown islands left, That's just what the king said to me, He learned everything he knows about islands from me, It's odd that you, a man of the sea, should say to me that there are no unknown islands left, I'm a man of the land and yet I know that even known islands remain unknown until we set foot on them, But, if I understood you right, you're going in search of one that no one has set foot on, Yes, I'll know it when I get there, If you get there, Well, boats do get wrecked along the way, but if that should happen to me, you must write in the harbor records that I reached such and such a point, You mean that you always reach somewhere, You wouldn't be the man you are if you didn't know that.
The harbormaster said, I'm going to give you the boat you need, Which one, It's a very experienced boat, dating from the days when everyone was off searching for unknown islands, Which one, Indeed it may even have found some, Which is it, That one.
As soon as the cleaning woman saw where the harbormaster was pointing, she emerged from behind the barrels, shouting, That's my boat, that's my boat, one must forgive her unusual and entirely unjustifiable claim of ownership, the boat just happened to be the one she had liked too.
It looks like a caravel, said the man, It is more or less, agreed the harbormaster, it started life as a caravel, then underwent various repairs and modifications that altered it a bit, But it's still a caravel, Yes, it's pretty much kept its original character, And it's got masts and sails, That's what you need when you go in search of unknown islands. The cleaning woman could contain herself no longer, As far as I'm concerned, that's the boat for me, And who are you, asked the man, Don't you remember me, No, I don't, I'm the cleaning woman, Cleaning what, The king's palace, The woman who opened the door for petitions, The very same, And why aren't you back at the king's palace cleaning and opening doors, Because the doors I really wanted to open have already been opened and because, from now on, I will only clean boats, So you want to go with me in search of the unknown island, I left the palace by the door of decisions, In that case, go and have a look at the caravel, after all this time, it must be in need of a good wash, but watch out for the seagulls, they're not to be trusted, Don't you want to come with me and see what your boat is like inside, You said it was your boat, Sorry about that, I only said it because I liked it, Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.
The harbormaster interrupted their conversation, I have to hand over the keys to the owner of the ship, which of you is it to be, it's up to you, I don't care either way, Do boats have keys, asked the man, Not to get in with, no, but there are store cupboards and lockers, and the captain's desk with the logbook, I'll leave it all up to her, I'm going to find a crew, said the man and walked off.
The cleaning woman went to the harbormaster's office to collect the keys, then she boarded the boat, where two things proved useful to her, the palace broom and the warning about the seagulls, she was only halfway up the gangplank joining the side of the ship to the quay when the wretches hurled themselves upon her, screaming furiously, beaks open, as if they wanted to devour her on the spot. Sabine As a rainy day dawns, prospects are not much brighter for the four remaining protagonists than for the Iberianist opponents of US and EEC intervention.
Neither of the two couples is completely reconciled following discussion of the paternity of the unborn children, and there is no certainty as to what they will do with their lives now that they have no dog to guide them. Will they perpetuate their journey and the new values of communality and sexual equality, or will they dissolve their ad-hoc marriages and resume their former existences? The only intimations of social change are the wholly ambivalent symbols of renewal: Then again, it might not.
The only certainty, in Portugal, Spain or elsewhere, is that the actions of the common people must be added to the rhetoric of politicians and novelists, if a better society is to be built out of a humanity fragmented by economic, ethnic and generic divisions. Hilary Owen, of the University of Manchester, in reading, commenting on, and where appropriate, querying aspects of several successive drafts of this article.
All other translations of quoted material are my own. Switzerland has been neutral since By the mids, Basque, Breton and Corsican separatist political parties were still outlawed in France and many of their leaders still imprisoned Gordon — In the same book, his observations on contemporary Portugal indicate that for him the latter facet is an attitude restricted to, or lost in, the Portuguese past: See Unamuno on Portuguese fatalism 38—39 and suicidal tendencies: Two detailed contemporary accounts of the post-revolutionary housing struggles are Downs and Ponte.
This initiative must have provoked resentment among the indigenous population, and almost bankrupted the post-revolutionary Portuguese state.
Concern for the welfare of the retornados did not, however, extend to allowing them to stay on in the hotels once tourists could be coaxed back Morrison 51— Saramago advances the following argument regarding Portuguese and Spanish relations with former colonial communities: Kundera in makes a distinction between two quite separate European civilizations: As a concept of cultural history, Eastern Europe is Russia, with its quite specific history anchored in the Byzantine world.
From the very beginning they have taken part in the great adventure of Western civilisation The post-war annexation of Central Europe Due to considerable popular opposition, it was not until that evictions took place on a large scale.
The US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, apparently favoured subjecting Portugal to total isolation in order to suffocate any attempts at revolution Morrison 26— The association of the elm tree with dignity is discussed by Roig Following legislation in , abortion is legal in Portugal only in certain extenuating circumstances.
Prior to , abortion was expressly banned in any circumstances. However, in the period immediately prior to 25 April , an estimated , illegal, and often very unprofessional, abortions were carried out annually. These resulted each year in around 2, recorded fatalities Salgado 8. You have found your way into my soul, or perhaps you were always rooted in its depths?
There, in the highlands— where the Duero traces its crossbow curve around Soria, amid lead-coloured hills and the smudges of ragged oak groves my heart is wandering in dreams The author would like very gratefully to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. On its way to burial, the coffin of Bishop later Saint Zenobio of Florence accidentally struck a dead elm tree, which burst immediately into leaf. Pedro Orce, it would appear, is no St. Imagined Communities: Revised and extended.
Verso, Battye, Adrian, and Marie-Anne Hintze. The French Language Today. Routledge, Lisboa Filme, Ceccucci, Pedro. Bulzoni, Daniel, Mary L. Downs, Charles. Unpublished, c. Gordon, David C. The French Language and National Identity, — The Hague: Mouton, Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism. Jenkins, Keith. Re-thinking History. Postrevolutionary Portuguese Fiction.
Twenty Years of Portuguese Literature — Helena Kaufman and Anna Klobucka. Bucknell UP, Kundera, Milan. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Afterword by Kundera and Philip Roth. Henry Michael Heim. Penguin, Machado, Manuel and Antonio. Obras Completas.
Heliodoro Carpintero. Plenitud, Macherey, Pierre. A Theory of Literary Production. Geoffrey Wall. Routledge and Kegan Paul, Maxwell, Kenneth. The Making of Portuguese Democracy.
Cambridge UP, Morrison, Rodney. Revolutionary Change in an Open Economy. Auburn House, New Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Pessoa, Fernando. FTD, Ponte, Bruno da. Housing Struggles in Portugal. Livros do Brasil, s. Roig, J. Juan Flors, Rosas, Fernando, and J. Venda Nova: Bertrand, Iniciativas Editoriais, The Stone Raft. Harvill, A Thousand Days: John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the White House.
Unamuno, Miguel de. Everything from official history and canonized literature to historical documentation, local histories, urban planning, and many strands of contemporary popular culture, both national and international are invoked, in jumbled and a-chronistic fashion, in such titles as Memorial do Convento English trans.: Baltasar and Blimunda.
His long-standing public adherence to the Portuguese Communist Party doubtlessly adds to that low regard which perhaps in turn underpins his preference to make his home in neighboring, and rival, Spain. Sousa claiming a considerable operativity for themselves within that symbolic realm. This essay intends to explore such aspects of that diffuse but simultaneously blatant operativity as touch on the Portuguese colonialist imaginary.
It is a truism in Portuguese cultural criticism to observe that over the past two decades the nation has been, and continues to be, interrogated and symbolically reconstructed through reference to the twin poles of national history and colonialism—because those were key areas within which the inherited concept of the nation was principally constructed. Less regularly mentioned is the fact that as the ensuing pages will evidence national history and colonialism come so interwoven that reconstruction often has to be directed to both at once.
Or, rather, it deals with the complex interaction between that past event and an obscure present-day Lisbon copyeditor named Raimundo Silva. That projection displays a number of features characteristic of the modern Portuguese colonial outlook. Viewed as the selfexpression of Portugueseness, colonialism envisioned Africa as a space upon which the national problematic could be projected, expressed, and even 98 Ronald W.
Sousa worked on. A part of that outlook had it, in effect, that there was no content in Africa itself. Ilustre Casa is especially revealing in this regard in the easy conflation—if not equation—that it simply presumes of prospective modernity in Portugal and colonialism by Portugal.
He replays the hierarchical social relations that have both characterized his own life and also provided the basis for Portuguese colonialism, as well as the accompanying colonialist agricultural indeed monocultural practices: In short, his practice is one that, in its overall outline, is merely characteristic of European colonialism.
Within the logic of the novel, however, that activity perhaps sarcastically2 is equated to the achieving of modernity. At the same time, it is telling that modernity-seen-through-colonialism can be achieved only in a scenario symbolically less proximate to what is understood to be cultural modernity than Portugal itself, as though, for Portugal, modernity can come into being not in relation to models of modernity but only in relation to something even-less-modern and only in a secluded space.
At the moment it is subjected to symbolization, however, it must stay very general e. This internally contradictory set of impulses doubtless expresses in its own way the set of contradictions within which Portugal has existed.
The fascist regime that held power in the country from the early s up to the revolution thematized this internal contradiction and sought to legitimate it in the following terms: Those tenets anchored a cultural isolat that gradually grew throughout the period from the end of World War II to , until it became the dominant theme of state discourse on national identity.
In sum, the Portuguese colonial imaginary, to which Ilustre Casa contributed in its own time and has continued to contribute through reading and re- interpretation thereafter, has it that the colonies represent the necessary presence through which Portugal can become modern.
Simultaneously, however, that modernity, by the very nature of its supposed core features—its self-actuation and reflexivity—must necessarily be achieved by Portugal acting solely upon itself. Clearly, the two conditions are irreconcilable. That divergence has long represented a key problem within the Portuguese cultural symbolic.
Sousa as he works as a contract copyeditor for a large Lisbon publishing house. It is a book of history about that key moment in consecrated Portuguese history, an event and date that every Portuguese schoolchild memorizes in the same way that an American schoolchild memorizes and the battles of Lexington and Concord. The title becomes, then, multiply ambivalent: Thus are we able to see how history is used and reused, how the historical imagination works.
By contrast, Raimundo has set for himself an almost logical problem: When history is looked at as Raimundo Silva is forced, by the logic of his project, to look at it, many questions about the nature and function of historiography are posed and set in motion. It is quite clear as Raimundo and Maria Sara conceive the project and he begins to carry it out, that at stake are what are appropriately understood as a set of probabilities: Raimundo has to ask himself how Lisbon can still be taken without the manpower and military expertise that the crusaders represent.
He literally has to calculate military odds and plan strategy. Raimundo comes to think of that scene as a large chessboard — . By now it is clear that, despite his unremarkable character, there is a sense in which Raimundo is aptly named: Portugal is hardly the home of advanced computer culture; no Ronald W. Nor does it take foresight to imagine that that phenomenon will represent a cyber-pairing with Raimundo and Maria Sara.
Indeed, such is the case to the point that the developing narrative in which Maria Sara reads along as Raimundo writes structures their lovemaking and their developing relationship and, inversely, their lovemaking and relationship become a source of material and motives for the eventual Crusader-less conquest of Lisbon.
For example, Raimundo conspicuously kills off a Germanic knight in order to open the way for the relationship between Mogueime and Ouroana to develop — [—] , in a blatant transferential relationship to his own developing intimacy with Maria Sara.
It should be received as a bundle of information variably narratizable and differentially meaningful across whatever diversity describes the receivership and, conversely, its formative impact on the receiver should be recognized in reception.
The contrast with Ilustre Casa de Ramires functions to put that suggestion in strong relief: This is my way at this moment. One of the fascinating things about cyber-technology is its multiple interrogation of subjecthood. The relationship between computer-generated worlds and narration has been studied by Janet Murray , their implication for subject constitution by Sherry Turkle , both of MIT.
As should be expected, the question of the colonial comes as part and parcel of this review of history. It comes to the fore in several different passages or sequences of passages. Haggard is thus slyly replaced with Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the romantic is satirized through its trivializing exaggeration.
Second, early in the historical portion of the text, Raimundo observes that over time many people have judged the proto-Portuguese besiegers of Lisbon to be the lesser of the two combatants in terms of cultural achievement.
But such implications are not what is important; what is important is the obviousness of the selection of that particular, unlikely adjective in that particular context. In effect, then, the principal point being made is that a point is being made. A third, and highly complex, set of allusions come as the siege of Lisbon, as Raimundo re-writes it, nears its successful outcome.
It is not that the allusions to the colonial wars e. It is rather that they—along with the other thematizations of Africa in the text— suggest that there has been all along a relationship with Africa other than one merely of projection upon it from Portugal and that that relationship has involved very tangible matters, not some abstract logic of ideal and accident.
The suggestion, of course, is that this is an integral, though heretofore occulted, part of the historical imagination. It is also the space in which subjecthood is constituted. It is therefore variously read. It is quite defensible to read it as widely ironic and to interpret the tone as one of a sarcasm that suggests the improbability of the escape. The only reading of the novel that might complicate my argument is one that would see Ilustre Casa as satirizing the very notion of seeing colonialism as modernity—in which case it would pointing out what, in the terms of n.
The English translator apparently did not see that connection, or chose not to render it, and as a result, the translation partially obfuscates it. A Ilustre Casa de Ramires. Livros do Brasil, n. The Illustrious House of Ramires.
Ann Stevens. Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP, Hopkins, Terence K. World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage, Mignolo, Walter D.
Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledge, and Border Thinking. Princeton, NJ: Murray, Janet H. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Free Press, Rorty, Richard. Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1. O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis. Ballantine, History of the Siege of Lisbon. San Diego: Harvest, Memorial do Convento. The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Sousa, Ronald W.
Caminho, forthcoming. Turkle, Sherry. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Touchstone, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit.
Simon and Schuster, Already extremely rich, Portuguese literature after the revolution of April 25, , has been dynamized by the appearance of a number of great writers. The last quarter of this century, far from indicating decline, as one could expect from its millenary quality, will be marked by the impetus brought on by varied writers, some of them present here today, who have renewed Portuguese literature and made it one of the most vibrant in the West.
If the Salazar regime had forced an image of Portugal standing alone against all, certain of its historical greatness, and imagining that fighting a devastating colonial war was the inevitable expression of its national destiny, the effect was almost its opposite. Immobilized by the awe its historical feats provoked and by the resentment of no longer occupying that position in the world, for many Portuguese, Portugal became rather a sign of shame, the Portuguese language a prison rather than a home, and only what was foreign was appreciated.
Certainly these sentiments did not originate in and have other roots. Yet, the blinds forced on the Portuguese nation by the dictatorship greatly intensified and generalized them. One of the achievements, not the only one, but one of the most important, of contemporary Portuguese literature, is the partial reversal of such fatalistic notions.
By this I do not mean at all that recent Portuguese literature has embarked on a simple celebration of being Portuguese. Instead, it has been through a sometimes merciless reexamination and criticism of Portuguese history and society that current literature has been able to redirect and reshape the image of Portugal.
There is still much to be done, of course, but two decades after the revolution the innovative force of Portuguese letters has already done much to give the Portuguese new and different reasons to identify with and to be proud of their name.
As such, the Iberian peninsula becomes a trope of tropes, a metaphor for travel, and itself a traveling metaphor of the nation, imagined not along political lines but cultural ones.
Saramago, however, has been active in all genres, from poetry to drama, including the short essay or chronicle, and from these Viagem a Portugal clearly stands out by its scope and theme. This is not the nationalist and populist spirit of the nation invented by demagogues for their own consumption and to blind the people, but rather the spirit of the land and of the people who have lived in it for centuries and for whose achievements, whose lives, Saramago searches.
Through his search these achievements are revealed for all of us, and we are invited, in turn, to initiate such a search for ourselves. The short preface is used by Saramago to spell out certain key aspects of genre, starting with the affirmation that his book is not a guide or travelogue and that, although full of personal opinions, these are not meant as advice In the preface Saramago also fuses travel and narrative, indicating how in his perspective and in this literary tradition certainly bears him out , writing is also always a trope for travel, and the two are indissociable.
By classifying his narrative as a story Saramago is not merely defending himself against any claims of lack of objectivity, or proclaiming the evident subjective nature of the experiences narrated, but also and foremost claiming for his text a literary quality and inserting it into a genre and a tradition. This might seem a simple game, and yet it is also crucial for an understanding of why Saramago asked that his book be taken as an example and not as a model, why he, in effect, does not claim to present more than a perspective on Portugal which, if in its richness does serve to represent to many a hidden facet of the nation, cannot be confused with a representation of the nation.
One problem that the preface raises has to do with the claims of transparency. That such a sandwiching is not without difficulties becomes evident in the narrative itself, for as much as Saramago offers a critique of representation, he also cannot completely avoid it.
Before turning to that question, however, I still want to pursue the issue of borders. If, in the preface, the borders invoked only to be dissolved are those between inside and outside, the real and the imagined, the subject and the object of consciousness, the very beginning of the narrative in itself posits another questioning of borders, this time focused on the geographical and political borders.
This is the opening scene narrated by Saramago: But what is striking is the fact that Saramago, by doing so, also conditions his narrative in several ways.
First, by deciding to start his voyage through the north of the country, Saramago Invitation to the Voyage could be said to approximate, in a sense, historical developments as Portugal expanded southwards. At the same time, Saramago also de-centers his narrative by not starting from Lisbon, for long his place of residence before he went to Lanzarote. Indeed, Lisbon will also be one of the places visited, but in no way does it constitute a center or place of origin.
By starting his travels from Spain, Saramago already gives an alternative perspective to the whole of the narrative, since in order to initiate his travels in his country he decides to do so from another country. And, at the same time, by creating the scene where his initial motion is temporarily suspended in the precise but imaginary liminal space of the frontier between the two countries, Saramago, in effect, not only questions the very existence of borders but also calls for their relativization.
Towards the end of the narrative, there is this same questioning of borders. Saramago starts by questioning the validity of representation, as I have noted, even if he still slips into traditional notions of representation as transparency. Indeed, it is such a slippage that is interesting. Throughout the narrative Saramago has occasion to repeatedly question the validity of verbal representation.
The following passage gives an example in which, after listing a series of places he has not visited, Saramago notes: On the other hand, it is also a critique of representation, for the writer is not here advocating a medium that would be capable of better approximating reality, does not claim that a movie, for instance, would be capable of doing what writing cannot, because what is in question is the very nature of representation itself.
Saramago does not go into the extreme of denying all value to representation, or of thinking that somehow it would be possible to avoid the representational, but he is very consciously alerting the reader to the need to always bear in mind how any project to represent reality must always assume its own limitations, in other words, that there can be no transparency.
One word Saramago uses to refer to his narrative, just mentioned in the passage cited, is that of register. This is a concern that is also not without its problems. Although many other points concerning representation could be raised, I would like to bring up only one more because of the direct way in which it involves history, memory, and representation.
Indeed, what Saramago focuses on in his description of Lisbon, even though it still remains somewhat attached to the sights a tourist would not want to miss, avoids romanticizing the city and does, indeed, focus on its people, either those of Alfama or those of Bairro Alto, as well as on the historic vicissitudes of a people who, even though they had to pay for the Invitation to the Voyage construction of the monumental aqueduct built to bring fresh water into the city, saw the record of such payment annulled by the governmental effacement of the original inscription — By emphasizing the need for collective memory to preserve the material records of the sufferings of the past, Saramago is also very consistent with his attempt throughout the narrative to de-center traditional history, to present indeed another perspective on the nation that, at the same time that it serves to ground pride on being Portuguese, avoids falling into the traps of nationalistic mythologies.
And yet, one cannot but wonder why there are so few instances in which the traveler questions the role assumed by Portugal as imperial power, as a colonizing nation, why indeed they have to be concentrated in such few passages, such as the one mentioned. Viagem a Portugal is also a text that Saramago uses to put forward some notions about what travel means, and it is to these that I would like to turn as a form of conclusion. Travel is both internal and external, as has been mentioned.
But beyond that, Saramago makes two fundamental distinctions. One involves the radical demarcation he would like to establish between himself and tourists, conscious as he is that to some, if not many, of the people he encounters he will be seen precisely as a tourist. This is a tempting demarcation but also a difficult one to establish.
If Saramago is traveling with other intentions than those of the normal tourist, that is, if his principal aim is epistemological, as he himself remarks, he also notes that he falls short of his ideal of travel.
In his words, to travel is to stay: Olhar e passar, passar e olhar. This observation is not as paradoxical as it seems, for what the traveler misses is the possibility of coming to know the people in the places he passes through, that is, coming to the point of empathy with them. At the conclusion of the narrative, Saramago still inserts a double negative, which attempts to pass for an affirmative statement.
Twenty Years of Portuguese Literature, — See After the Revolution: Twenty Years of Portuguese Literature, —, op. Identidade, a thematic issue of Discursos 13 Further references in the text will be to this, the 11th edition of the text without the photographs. Questions of Travel: The story of Memorial do Convento , known to English readers as Baltasar and Blimunda, is set in the early s, but its sermonizing narrator implicitly addresses us from the plateau of a communist utopia, as conceived by quite contemporary lights.
Speculation and spectacular fantasy again converge in Jangada De Pedra , or The Stone Raft, which also employed an iconic scenario: The issue of vision itself—or lack of it—is more acutely explored in Ensaio sobre a cegueira , another dystopic novel by Saramago about the spread of blindness as a contagious disease.
The title Essay on Blindness signals that this work is something more than a dark fantasy. This intractability hints at a greater philosophical depth: From Arion, vol. The main characters are an old man, Cipriano Algor, a traditional potter whose business is in decline, his daughter Marta Isasca, and her husband, Marcial Gacho.
Marcial is employed as a security guard in the Center, a new model city within a city, in which people both live and work. Shopping, recreational, residential, and entertainment facilities are all provided within the Center so that its members have no need to leave.
He tries to persuade his fatherin-law, who is relatively content with his life and with his trade in pottery, to apply to move into the Center with him and Marta. However, Cipriano Algor is told by the Center that they do not want to market his pottery because the demand for such items is already met by the manufacture of plates and cups from synthetic materials.
Moreover, he is compelled to collect and destroy his work because the rules of the Center prohibit him from selling it anywhere else. The three members of the family move to the Center but shortly afterwards the news spreads of a sinister occurrence which is being kept secret. Something very serious has been found underneath the Center.
As a security guard, Marcial Gacho is aware of what it is, but he is bound by his job not to reveal anything to his wife and father-in-law. At the bottom, there are six human corpses, tied by their legs and necks to a stone bench so that they are facing a wall. The bodies are still distinguishable as three men and three women but their eyes have completely rotted away.
He senses that the scenario is a kind of call from the future: Cipriano explains the whole situation to his daughter and announces to his family that he is determined to leave the Center immediately, no matter how uncertain the prospects outside might be. The father and daughter who are both illiterate ask Marcial what it said.
Nor are they are real for us as readers. But is their nonreality for us the same as their non-reality for Cipriano Algor? Socrates applies these words to the prisoner who has escaped from the Cave to the world above at d: This quotation is apt because Achilles in making that remark was contrasting the world of shadows skiai in Hades with the world of human life.
Socrates famously comments on the same Homeric passage earlier, when he expounded on censorship of poetry, at the beginning of book 3 of the Republic: We shall start by wiping out of the epic all the lines like these: I would rather be a slave working for someone else Someone without property, who had a small livelihood Than to rule over all the dead that have perished.
The conception of the Cave as domain of death—in opposition to the super-terranean realm of vision—is soon reinforced by a second Homeric echo at e. This expression recalls diction used on numerous occasions for characters who die in the Iliad. Those Homeric expressions about the blindness of death are frequently, and not that surprisingly, accompanied by the falling, or downward movement of the character in demise: Iliad 4. And down to the ground poured all his guts, and darkness enfolded his eyes.
Iliad 5. He fell with a thud and darkness covered his eyes. Iliad The association between the Cave and Hades is underlined by the invitation later made by Socrates to Glaucon to discuss the education of the Philosopher Kings at c: It is not difficult to see a political allegory in A Caverna: Or rather, the Center might be said to depict such excesses directly. After all, a North American entrepreneur, by the name of Norm Nixon, is currently fanfaring the imminent launching of the so-called Freedom Ship from the coast of Florida.
This will be the largest ocean-going vessel ever built, containing helipads, shopping precincts, and multi-million dollar apartments. The workshop represents a way of life which is less and less under our control, as plant and animal species become extinct, professions become redundant, languages lose their speakers, and traditions lose their meaning.
But, as is always the case with atrocities and catastrophic phases in human history, it is unwise to try too rapidly to identify the heroes and villains of any scenario before apportioning blame. Onlookers, witnesses, apparently neutral parties, not to mention captives themselves, tend to collude with the captors. The association is not made explicit, but it does not need to be: Marcial Gacho is not the only collaborator; his father-in-law himself is responsible for fashioning, like a demiurge, the very models that come to represent the predicament he and his family end up seeking to escape.
The Cave is conventionally regarded as helping to set out the metaphysical and epistemological foundations which underlie the discussions of moral and social issues in surrounding parts of the dialogue.
Even appreciation of that point alone seems fairly limited: These illustrations are in fact seamlessly integrated into the whole as numerous passages serve to show, and as C.
The basic idea is in the Preface: If in all ideology men and their relations appear upside down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process. Image, Text, Ideology by W. Mitchell Chicago That chapter indicates the suggestive richness of these metaphors, and attempts, by drawing from Raymond Williams, Fredric Jameson, and E.
Mitchell remarks: This is an affinity which could be explored in greater depth. The model of dialectic in The German Ideology radically diverges from the Platonic one: Yet at the same time, the convergence between the pictorial vehicles of their respective systems is further exposed in the following paragraph from the The German Ideology: In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, we ascend from earth to heaven.
The possibility of such unexpected liberation which is initially unpleasant for the individual concerned is obviously comparable to the liberation Socrates conceives for the prisoner who is forced out of the Cave in Republic — Yet once Socrates embarks on encouraging Glaucon to imagine the inhabitants of the Cave being freed from their physical bonds, his diction is peppered with terms conveying force and control.
At c6, for instance, he verges on oxymoron: The irony of this is delicately enhanced by words Plato uses for two subsequent affirmative answers Glaucon gives to Socrates.
Yet the deployment of such diction of coercion and its rhetorical effect in the Cave seems to have gone unnoticed in all the literature on this part of the Republic. Overall, this diction draws attention to the involvement of an external agent in the liberation of the captive from the Cave. Empedocles sees our world as a dark place of punishment compared with the realm of the gods. For him, according to Porphyry and Proclus at least, that whole world in which we live is a cavern—and mortals can have no part as captors in constructing or maintaining it: And in Empedocles the powers that escort souls say: Later still in book 9, Socrates endows the notion of captivity with a new and rather unexpected political spin, as he outlines the unhappy lot of the tyrant at b: Marx and Engels, as noted above, inherited this vehicle to attack the proposition that ideas can change or shape reality, and to argue that all ideas are socially determined.
However, the formulations of Geertz and Foucault show that the potential for slippage between ideas and theories of ideas is always there. But only God knows if it happens to be true. But the impression I have is that apparently the last thing to be seen— and it is hardly seen—is the idea of the good And a similar sentiment is articulated again after the next occasion on which Socrates rehearses the illustration of the Cave.
You will no longer be able to follow—though there is no lack of enthusiasm on my part—and you would no longer see an image of what we are talking about, but the truth itself, what at any rate appears as the truth to me. Whether it really is or not, this is not any longer worth insisting on, but to see something like this is to be insisted upon.
When all is said and done, epistemology falls into phenomenology, knowledge becomes a matter of insistence or affirmation, and truth, even with its image discarded, can only be something apparent to the viewer. Maybe there is nothing particularly wrong with calling the Cave an allegory. Socrates heralds the whole scene at the beginning of book 7 as follows: However, Aristophanes uses the term to signify a similitude or comparison: Here the scene of the Cave is presented effectively as the vehicle of a simile.
The trouble is that for the tenor of the simile we are asked to go a bit further back in the dialogue. This recursiveness is fascinating but it is also rather annoying. Basically, if it had been the case that at any point in the account of the Cave the illusory shadows of objects surveyed by its inhabitants had been called eikones—if that had happened just once—life would have been easier.
That last instance involving memory must have some relation to the link between eikones in Plato and the recollection of Forms which we apprehended before birth.