Advertisement

Correcting History: Apocalypticism, Messianism and Saramago’s Philosophy of History

  • Carlo Salzani
Chapter

Abstract

The novels that gave fame to Saramago in the 1980s are often deemed “historical novels” and read and interpreted by critics as “postmodernist” metafiction. This chapter argues instead that Saramago’s trajectory inserts itself within a certain tradition of an emancipative (re)reading of history and shares some fundamental traits—the view of history as catastrophe, the anti-utopianism, the vindication of the history of the vanquished, the simultaneist perspective, the feeling of living on the verge of an epochal change—with a vision of history that spans from Walter Benjamin to Giorgio Agamben and is known as “messianic.” Against this background, the essay reads the clash of different historical perspectives and visions in Saramago’s work, with a particular attention to the play In Nomine Dei.

Keywords

José Saramago Walter Benjamin Giorgio Agamben Philosophy of history Postmodernism Messianism Marxism 

Works Cited

  1. Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans. Trans. Patricia Dailey. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 2012. The Church and the Kingdom. Trans. Leland de la Durantaye. London: Seagull Books.Google Scholar
  3. Amorim, Silvia. 2010. José Saramago. Art, théorie et éthique du roman. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  4. Atkin, Rhian. 2014. Lisbon Revisited: Urban Masculinities in Twentieth-Century Portuguese Fiction. Cambridge: Legenda.Google Scholar
  5. Baltrusch, Burghard, ed. 2014. “O que transforma o mundo é a necessidade e não a utopia”: Estudos sobre a utopia e a ficção em José Saramago. Berlin: Frank & Timme.Google Scholar
  6. Benjamin, Walter. 1999. The Arcades Project. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2003. “On the Concept of History” and “Prolegomena to ‘On the Concept of History’”. In Selected Writings. Volume 4, 1938–1940, ed. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings, 389–400 and 401–411. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  8. Blissett, Luther. 2003 (2000). Q. Trans. Shaun Whiteside. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  9. Bloch, Ernst. 1969 (1921). Thomas Münzer als Theologe der Revolution. In Gesamtausgabe: Band 2. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  10. Céu e Silva, João. 2009. Uma longa viagem com José Saramago. Oporto: Porto Editora.Google Scholar
  11. Croce, Benedetto. 1941. History as the Story of Liberty. Trans. Sylvia Sprigge. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  12. Duby, Georges. 1984. L’Europe au Moyen Âge. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  13. Dürrenmatt, Friedrich. 1998a (1947). Es steht geschrieben /Der Blinde. Frühe Stücke. Zürich: Diogenes.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1998b (1967). Die Wiedertäufer. Eine Komödie in zwei Teilen. Zürich: Diogenes.Google Scholar
  15. Engels, Friedrich. 1978 (1850). The Peasant War in Germany. In The Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Vol. 10, 397–482. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Forrest, Gene Steven. 2005. The Dialectics of History in Two Dramas of José Saramago. In José Saramago, ed. Harold Bloom, 25–34. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.Google Scholar
  17. Frier, David. 2007. The Novels of José Saramago. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Gómez Aguilera, Fernando, ed. 2010. José Saramago. Nas Suas Palavras. Lisbon: Caminho.Google Scholar
  19. Grossegesse, Orlando. 1999. Saramago lesen: Werk, Leben, Bibliographie. Berlin: Tranvía Verlag.Google Scholar
  20. Kautsky, Karl. 1897. Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation. Trans. J.L and E.G. Mulliken. London: Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  21. Lopes, Óscar. 1996. A busca de sentido: questões de literatura portuguesa. 2nd ed. Lisboa: Caminho.Google Scholar
  22. Löwith, Karl. 1949. Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History. Trans. Mario Vukić. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Martins, Adriana Alves de Paula. 2001. José Saramago’s Historical Fiction. Trans. Elena Zagar Galvão. Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies 6, pp. 49–72.Google Scholar
  24. Oliveira Lopes, João de. 1998. O crepúsculo de deus nas guerras dos homens. Uma leitura do In Nomine Dei de José Saramago. Humanitas 50: 1025–1040.Google Scholar
  25. Orejudo, Antonio. 2005. Reconstrucción. Barcelona: Tusquets.Google Scholar
  26. Ornelas, José N. 2007. Articulações da História na Obra de José Saramago. In Da Possibilidade do Impossível: Leituras de Saramago, ed. Paulo de Medeiros and José N. Ornelas, 211–230. Utrecht: Portuguese Studies Center.Google Scholar
  27. Reis, Carlos. 1998. Diálogos com José Saramago. Lisbon: Caminho.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2002. En nombre de Divara. Insula: Revista de letras y ciencias humanas 663: 32–34.Google Scholar
  29. Sabine, Mark J.L. 2005. ‘Once but no longer the prow of Europe’: National Identity and Portuguese Destiny in José Saramago’s The Stone Raft. In José Saramago, ed. Harold Bloom, 75–94. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2016. José Saramago: History, Utopia, and the Necessity of Error. Cambridge: Legenda.Google Scholar
  31. Saramago, José. 1990. História e ficção. Journal de Letras, Artes & Ideias, ano X 400: 17–19.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2005. “Pensar, pensar y pensar”: An Event with José Saramago in the Che Guevara Room of the Casa de las Américas, La Habana, Cuba, June 18, 2006. http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/noticias/2005/06/18/pensar-pensar-y-pensar/. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.
  33. ———. 2013. Da Estátua à Pedra e Discursos de Estocolmo. Belém: ed.ufpa.Google Scholar
  34. Schneider, Robert. 2004. Kristus: Das unerhörte Leben des Jan Beukels. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.Google Scholar
  35. Sousa, Ronald W. 2007. José Saramago and the Modalities of History, or Dragging Their Telos Behind Him. In Da Possibilidade do Impossível: Leituras de Saramago, ed. Paulo de Medeiros and José N. Ornelas, 315–323. Portuguese Studies Center: Utrecht.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 2014. On Emerging From Hyper-Nation: Saramago’s “Historical” Trilogy. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Yourcenar, Marguerite. 1981 (1968). The Abyss. Trans. Grace Frick. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  38. Žižek, Slavoj. 2010. Living in the End Times. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Salzani
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarMunsterGermany

Personalised recommendations