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I have enough trouble as it is in trying to say what I think I know.

Samuel Beckett

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José Saramago

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...And I would be the proudest of wives, whispered his wife, slithering closer to him, as if touched by the magic wand of a rare brand of lust, a mixture of carnal desire and political enthusiasm, but her husband, conscious of the gravity of the hour and making his the harsh words of the poet, Why do you grovel before my rough boots? / Why do you loosen your perfumed hairs / and treacherously open your soft arms? / I am nothing but a man with coarse hands / and a cold heart / and if, in order to pass, / I had to trample you underfoot / then, as you well know, I would trample you underfoot, abruptly threw off the bedclothes and said, I'm going to my study to keep an eye on developments, you go back to sleep, rest.

I am wondering who "the poet" is -- is this piece taken from a poem that exists outside Seeing?

I notice that Margaret Jull Costa, translator of this book, spoke about translating Saramago at the occasion of his receiving the Nobel prize; a transcript is available online.

Later: well I sent Ms. Costa a letter c/o the publisher, inquiring about the source. Fingers crossed! I have not tried to contact a translator like this before. (Was going to ask Ms. Holbrook about the frontspiece to The White Castle, but the book ended up leaving me cold enough that I did not bother.)

posted evening of Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
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(Portuguese, FWIW, is "Porque te lanças aos pés / das minhas botas grossas? / Porque soltas agora o teu cabelo perfumado / e abres traidoramente os teus braços macios? / Eu não sou mais que um homem de mãos grossas / e coração voltado para um lado / que se for necessário / pisar-te para passar / te pisará" -- No hits for this text that are not Ensaio sobre a lucidez.)

posted evening of February 20th, 2013 by Jeremy


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