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Tod des Dichters by Ludwig Tieck
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Tod des Dichters

by Ludwig Tieck

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A historical novel set in Lisbon, it describes the last days of the poet Luís de Camões, which coincide with the last days of Portugal as an independent nation: King Sebastian engaged on a fatal campaign in Africa, got himself killed, and Philip of Spain took over the kingdom.
I am tempted to say that it is typical of what we expect from the Romantics; everything is larger than life, people more beautiful, feelings more intense, faith more fervent, fates more desperate. Death and the futility of life loom large. There's also the parallel between the nation's ingratitude towards its greatest poet and the decline of Portugal as a great colonial empire, and this was an aspect I found hard to swallow. This fervent nationalism, coupled as it is with the firm belief in white peoples' superiority, is very much a product of its time, a fact I was constantly reminded of by the author's quaint, old-fashioned style. It's so odd that I went to look at a digitised copy of an original printing just to reassure myself that he had actually written it like this. ( )
  MissWatson | May 4, 2016 |
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