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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

"I have moved inside the stone..."

I found a wonderful interview with José Saramago, published in the Spring 2002 issue of Mass Humanities. The interviewer is Anna Klobucka of U. Massachussets Dartmouth.

AK: The mainly historical novels you wrote in the 1980s, from Baltasar and Blimunda to The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (published in 1991), form the first grand narrative cycle in your work. Many of your readers perceive a clear dividing line between these narratives and your subsequent works, the three allegorical novels from the 1990s: Blindness, All the Names, and A Caverna. How do you describe the balance of continuity and change in your writing in the last two decades?

JS: The first narrative cycle you mention includes also, as a starting point, Levantado do Chão, the novel in which I articulated for the first time the distinct “narrative voice” that from then on became the hallmark of my work. And in the novels of the second cycle there are clear echoes of my earlier volume of short stories, Objecto Quase. Furthermore, we must not forget my still earlier collections of newspaper columns, Deste Mundo e do Outro [From This World and the Other] (1971) and A Bagagem do Viajante [The Traveler’s Baggage] (1973). In my view, everything I have written in later years is rooted in those texts. As for the definition of the “dividing line” that separates the two novel cycles, I explain it through the metaphor of a statue and a stone: up to and including The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, I was describing statues, insofar as a statue is the external surface of a stone; with Blindness and later novels, I have moved inside the stone, into that space where the stone does not know whether on the outside it is a statue or, for example, a doorsill.

posted morning of October 19th, 2010: Respond
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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Liberty

Today's post at Saramago's Other Notebooks quotes one of his oldest novels.

La libertad no es mujer que ande por los caminos, no se sienta en una piedra esperando que la inviten a cenar o a dormir en nuestra cama el resto de la vida.

-- Levantado del suelo, Alfaguara, 2003, p. 422

Liberty is not a woman walking the streets, she is not sitting on a bench outside waiting for an invitation to dinner, to come sleep in our bed for the rest of her life.

-- Raised up from the soil, 1980

posted evening of October 26th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Saramago's Notebook

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