Saramago’s Philosophical Heritage

Cham: Springer Verlag (2018)
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Abstract

The past decades have seen a growing “philosophical” interest in a number of authors, but strangely enough Saramago’s oeuvre has been left somewhat aside. This volume aims at filling this gap by providing a diverse range of philosophical perspectives and expositions on Saramago’s work. The chapters explore some possible issues arising from his works: from his use of Plato’s allegory of the cave to his re-readings of Biblical stories; from his critique and “reinvention” of philosophy of history to his allegorical exploration of alternative histories; from his humorous approach to our being-towards-death to the revolutionary political charge of his fiction. The essays here confront Saramago’s fiction with concepts, theories, and suggestions belonging to various philosophical traditions and philosophers including Plato, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Freud, Benjamin, Heidegger, Lacan, Foucault, Patočka, Derrida, Agamben, and Žižek.

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Chapters

Saramago’s Axiology of Gender Difference

The chapter argues for a contextual reading of female characters in relation to the resurgence of feminist activism in contemporary Portugal, from the late 1960s through the 1980s, informed as it was by broader currents of thought drawing from the avant-garde’s engagement with Marxist post-structura... see more

Female Representations in José Saramago: A Space for Oppositional Discourses from the Canonical Gospels to The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

The chapter analyzes how Saramago, in The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, shows Jesus’ utmost strengths through his representation of the women who strongly affect his life. It also argues that the attention given to the eroticized body of the women, in the novel, opposes the dualist view of the b... see more

A Contemporary Midrash: Saramago’s Re-telling of the “Sacrifice of Isaac”

The chapter addresses Saramago’s re-telling of the Biblical “Sacrifice of Isaac” in his 2009 novel Cain on account of both its narratological and philosophical implications. Consequently, the theological-metaphysical Biblical events shall not be conceived as the progressive fulfillment of divine pre... see more

Death by Representation: In Law, in Literature, and in That Space Between

The chapter reads José Saramago’s All the Names and Death at Intervals and suggests that although the symbolic order fetishizes the dead letter, works of art can resurrect inert signifiers and turn them into living, breathing, and growing bodies. The argument is that what allows Saramago’s texts to ... see more

Some Remarks on a Phenomenological Interpretation of Saramago’s Cave

José Saramago’s novel The Cave recruits the well-known Platonic image in order to describe the totalitarian power of our capitalistic society and the human efforts to fight back. This chapter compares Saramago’s novel with some of the most significant twentieth-century interpretations of the Platoni... see more

José Saramago’s “Magical” Historical Materialism

Saramago’s commitment to Marxism inserts him into an ideological frame of reference that can be considered materialist in essence. However, rather than developing a neorealist trend that renders a materialist conception of history into literature, Saramago’s novels tend to expand on the basic struct... see more

The “Dark Side” of History: Saramago, Foucault, and Synchronic History

This chapter analyzes the peculiar concept of history emerging from the joint reading of Saramago’s Baltasar and Blimunda and Foucault’s “The Life of Infamous Men.” Its aim is to show how both texts lay the foundations for the transition from a diachronic historiography, intended as an external succ... see more

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

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 reading of history and share... see more

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

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 writi... see more

Bye Bye Bartleby and Hello Seeing, or On the Silence and the Actualization to Do … Not

Herman Melvelle’s fictional character Bartleby, the New York scrivener who had the deadly habit of answering every question he received with the solemn “I would prefer not to,” has become one of the central paradigms of political philosophy. José Saramago’s novel Seeing has, recently, been portrayed... see more

Traumatic Counterfactuals

Jose Saramago’s political philosophy plays a complex, striking but mostly implicit role in much of his literature. However, by exploring the use of the fantastical counterfactual in his work, we are able to explicate, in more explicit fashion, an underlying understanding of the state, political cris... see more

Saramago’s Dogs: For an Inclusive Humanism

Saramago’s privileged relationship with his dogs goes way beyond biographical trivia and was artistically sublimated into a highly symbolic function in his writings: dogs appear in many of his novels, and in some of them, they ascend to the rank of central characters. If the dogs always play a posit... see more

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The Ethics of Cultural Heritage.Erich Hatala Matthes - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Exegesis is a Game.Jurie le Roux - 2019 - HTS Theological Studies 75 (3).

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