Introduction: Proteus the Philosopher, or Reading Saramago as a Lover of Wisdom

  • Carlo Salzani
  • Kristof K. P. Vanhoutte


The introduction explores Saramago’s explicit and implicit relationship with philosophy, construing thereby a sort of framework that contextualizes the philosophical readings to be found in the chapters. It presents the few explicit references to philosophers or philosophies to be found in his writings, diaries, conferences and interviews, to show how his fictional writing rests on constant and firm philosophical foundations. More importantly, however, it shows how this “penchant” for philosophy also affects Saramago’s writing itself, the very “form” of his fiction, with what he himself calls the “essayistic temptation” of his novels: this “temptation” dissolves the divisions and separations between literary genres and transforms the novel into a “literary space,” which, as such, admits everything into his realm: essay, science, historiography, poetry—and also philosophy.


José Saramago Philosophy Allegorical turn Essayistic novel 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Salzani
    • 1
  • Kristof K. P. Vanhoutte
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Independent ScholarMunsterGermany
  2. 2.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  3. 3.Pontifical University AntonianumRomeItaly

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