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-1 / 27/06/2020


José Saramago and a social indifference

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José Saramago and a social indifference

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One of José Saramago's most famous and famous works is Essay on Blindness, a novel that invites deep reflection on the human soul and on what seems invisible to our eyes.

José Saramago was the most authoritative voice in Portuguese literature. The refinement of his writing earned him the Nobel Prize, but no less important was his commitment a political and social point of view. Works like “Essay on blindness” are an exceptional means of catharsis, a starting point for philosophical reflection, a clear invitation to “wake up”.

José Saramago is often said to be a stirrer of consciences. He never gave up on denouncing injustices and always took a clear stand against the conflicts of his time. In one of his lectures, he defined himself as a passionate writer, driven by the need to lift each stone, even though he knew that real monsters could be hidden beneath.

The search for truth and the desire to stimulate the mind were the ingredients of a unique literary style. His parables, constructed with imagination, irony and compassion, draw a reality that no one can remain indifferent to.

Several years after his death, Saramago's works continue to be reprinted in different languages. And not even the new generations remain insensitive to the charm of such a multifaceted personality, a man who even thought of completing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with his Charter of Duties and Obligations. .

He was the most brilliant writer that Portugal gave us, alongside other illustrious names like Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queiroz. His provocative, magical and disturbing work invited us to analyze the present through his eyes.

"The three evils of modern man are the lack of communication, the technological revolution and a life centered on personal triumph".

-José Saramago-

Biography of José Saramago, a scholar of humble origins

José de Sousa Saramago was born on November 16, 1922 in Golegã, Portugal. His parents were José de Sousa and María da Piedade, a couple of farmers of humble origin who made their living the hard work of the land. When little José is only two, the two decide to emigrate to Lisbon in search of better luck.

In the Portuguese capital they manage to achieve a certain economic stability. The father starts working as a police officer and José has the opportunity to receive primary education. For a few years he attended a Technical Institute, but was forced to leave when his parents could no longer afford to pay him for high school.

For this reason, young José has no choice but to start working at a foundry. In carrying out this activity, with which he makes a living, he also wears other clothes: those of a scholar. In fact, he never stops reading, learning by himself and, above all, writing. Thus, in 1947, at the age of 25, he published his first novel, Terra del Peccato. That same year his daughter Violante was born, the result of the first marriage.

Maturity as a committed writer and journalist

1955, José Saramago started translating the works of Hegel and Tolstoi for the publishing house Estúdios Cor. At the same time, he strives to make his writing style more mature, and is committed to seeking new opportunities to achieve success with his novels. At the moment, in fact, despite the unquestionable talent, no editor is willing to publish his works.

After seeing the new rejected novel, Claraboia (which will only be published after his death), Saramago takes several years to decide to try again. We will have to wait until 1966, with Possible Poems and a second collection of poems, Probably Joy

Having achieved literary success, Saramago feels the need to embark on a new career in the world of journalism. He started working for the newspaper Diário de Notícias, he later returned as deputy director. Later he worked as a political commentator at Diário de Lisboa.

On April 25, 1974, the so-called Carnation Revolution exploded in Portugal and, since then, Saramago made the decision to dedicate himself exclusively to writing. Now he is a well-known and respected figure, and what he wants is to leave more works, more books to the world. Since 1976 he has published Os Apontamentos, theatrical works such as A Noite (1979) and story books as an almost object (1978).

The Nobel Prize

In the 1980s, José Saramago is now a world-famous writer. Memorial do Convento (1982) definitively enshrines him as an internationally appreciated author. A few years later, he consolidated his success with A Jangada de Pedra (1986), the controversial The Gospel according to Jesus Christ (1991) and, in particular, Essay on blindness (1995).

His style is now more in demand and his books are more engaged, so in 1998, the Stockholm (Sweden) Committee gave him the biggest prize for a writer: the Nobel Prize for Literature. At that time, José Saramago divided his life between two s lands: Lisbon and Lanzarote (Canary Islands). In this last place, he spent the last years of his life with his third wife, Maria del Pilar del Rio Sánchez, a Spanish journalist and translator.

He died on June 18, 2010 after battling leukemia for a long time. He was 87 and had just started a new novel, of which there are only the first 30 pages.

Blindness essay

"We are not blind, but we don't see." These words sum up the argumentative metaphor of one of Saramago's most disturbing works. In Blindness, we talk about the inability of human beings to recognize others. People suddenly turn into petty creatures, blind beings who need the guidance of others to understand things and to survive.

The novel is a profound reflection on the human soul. It is a dystopian tale that keeps you stuck even for the curiosity to find out why this strange form of blindness has affected the population and continues to spread like an infection. Things rush when the government decides to quarantine the sick, subjecting them to strict forms of control.

Among the protagonists of the story, one can only see: a woman who accompanies her husband in that prison, lending him, in turn, his eyes to help him in everything else. However, the whole scenario is no less oppressive. Hygiene is poor, soldiers do not hesitate to shoot those who come too close and the degradation begins to spread. Slowly, the situation takes the form of a true dictatorship. Chaos reigns and hope is consumed inexorably.

A work in which we are shown the internal blindness of the human being. This inability to recognize each other and which evokes selfishness, loss of reason, conflict and fear. A disturbing scenario, through which Saramago invites courageous moral reflection.

Essay on Blindness is a shocking book, a landmark in contemporary literature that is always worth rediscovering or discovering for the first time.

Adapted lamentemeravigliosa


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