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

  • Carlo Salzani


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.


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

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Salzani
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarMunsterGermany

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