José Saramago quotes

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José Saramago

Birthdate: 16. November 1922
Date of death: 18. June 2010

José de Sousa Saramago, GColSE , was a Portuguese writer and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the theopoetic human factor. In 2003 Harold Bloom described Saramago as "the most gifted novelist alive in the world today" and in 2010 said he considers Saramago to be "a permanent part of the Western canon", while James Wood praises "the distinctive tone to his fiction because he narrates his novels as if he were someone both wise and ignorant."More than two million copies of Saramago's books have been sold in Portugal alone and his work has been translated into 25 languages. A proponent of libertarian communism, Saramago criticized institutions such as the Catholic Church, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. An atheist, he defended love as an instrument to improve the human condition. In 1992, the Government of Portugal under Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva ordered the removal of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ from the Aristeion Prize's shortlist, claiming the work was religiously offensive. Disheartened by this political censorship of his work, Saramago went into exile on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, upon which he resided until his death in 2010.Saramago was a founding member of the National Front for the Defense of Culture in Lisbon in 1992, and co-founder with Orhan Pamuk, of the European Writers' Parliament .

Works

The Cave
The Cave
José Saramago
All the Names
All the Names
José Saramago
Blindness
Blindness
José Saramago

„Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.“

—  José Saramago, book Blindness

Dentro de nós há uma coisa que não tem nome, essa coisa é o que somos.
Source: Blindness (1995), p. 276

„God is the silence of the universe, and man is the cry that gives meaning to that silence.“

—  José Saramago

Deus é o silêncio do universo, e o homem o grito que dá um sentido a esse silêncio.
Lanzarote Notebooks (1990), quoted in The Notebook, entry for 9 October 2008.

„Besides the conversation of women, it is dreams that keep the world in orbit.“

—  José Saramago, book Baltasar and Blimunda

Source: Baltasar and Blimunda (1982), p. 107
Context: Besides the conversation of women, it is dreams that keep the world in orbit. But dreams also form a diadem of moons, therefore the sky is that splendour inside a man's head, if his head is not, in fact, his own unique sky.

„Men, forgive Him, for He knows not what He has done.“

—  José Saramago, book The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

Source: The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991), p. 347; Jesus' last words from the cross.
Context: Jesus then realized he had been brought here under false pretences, as the lamb is led to sacrifice and that his life had been planned for death since the very beginning. Remembering the river of blood and suffering that would flow from his side and flood the entire earth, he called out to the open sky where God could be seen smiling, Men, forgive Him, for He knows not what He has done.

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„The man changed position, turned his back on the wardrobe blocking the door and let his right arm slide down toward the side on which the dog is lying. A minute later, he was awake. He was thirsty. He turned on his bedside light, got up, shuffled his feet into the slippers which were, as always, providing a pillow for the dog's head, and went into the kitchen. Death followed him. The man filled a glass with water and drank it. At this point, the dog appeared, slaked his thirst in the water-dish next to the back door and then looked up at his master. I suppose you want to go out, said the cellist. He opened the door and waited until the animal came back. A little water remained in his glass. Death looked at it and made an effort to imagine what it must be like to feel thirsty, but failed. She would have been equally incapable of imagining it when she'd had to make people die of thirst in the desert, but at the time she hadn't even tried. The dog returned, wagging his tail. Let's go back to sleep, said the man. They went into the bedroom again, the dog turned around twice, then curled up into a ball. The man drew the sheet up to his neck, coughed twice and soon afterward was asleep again. Sitting in her corner, death was watching. Much later, the dog got up from the carpet and jumped onto the sofa. For the first time in her life, death knew what it felt like to have a dog on her lap.“

—  José Saramago, book Death with Interruptions

Source: Death with Interruptions (2005), p. 172

„It is not pornography that is obscene, it is hunger that is obscene.“

—  José Saramago

Não é a pornografia que é obscena, é a fome que é obscena
Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuohB_arwRE&lr=1 Programa Jô Soares, 1997.

„Fate [is] the supreme order to which even gods are subject. And what of men, what is their function. To challenge order, to change fate. For the better. For better or for worse, it makes no difference, the point is to keep fate from being fate.“

—  José Saramago, book The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis

O destino é a ordem suprema, a que os próprios deuses aspiram, E os homens, que papel vem a ser o dos homens, Perturbar a ordem, corrigir o destino, Para melhor, Para melhor ou para pior, tanto faz, o que é preciso é impedir que o destino seja destino.
Source: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1993), p. 288

„a waiting, stagnant darkness, thick and silent as the ocean deeps“

—  José Saramago, book All the Names

uma escuridão parada à espera, espessa e silenciosa como o fundo do mar
Source: All the Names (1997), p. 107

„Age carries with it a double load of guilt“

—  José Saramago, book The Cave

Source: The Cave (2000), p. 69 (Vintage 2003)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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