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The Illustrious House of Ramires by Eca de…
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The Illustrious House of Ramires (1900)

by Eca de Queiros

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Magnífico. Eça de Queirós, em "A Ilustre Casa de Ramires", faz um delicioso retrato do Portugal novecentista, decadente e submisso, ao descrever a vida, os sonhos, desejos e frustrações do último herdeiro - Gonçalo Mendes Ramires - duma das mais antigas, senão a mais antiga, Casas do Reíno - a Casa dos Ramires.
Eça desenvolve a narrativa tomando como mote, como fio condutor, o processo de amadurecimento do Fidalgo da Torre que, de jovem vaidoso, fútil, covarde e tremendamente inconstante nas suas deliberações, transforma-se, pouco a pouco, em pessoa respeitável, firme, consciente da tradição multimilenar que carrega em seu sangue e à qual deve prestar o devido tributo da honra.
A história desenvolve-se em dois planos, o plano da vida, pequena e desimportante, de Gonçalo Ramires, decadente representante duma fidalguia, duma nobreza da terra igualmente decadente, sem qualquer influência política e econômica, e, de outro lado, o plano da tradição, da rica história dos Ramires, bravos e altivos senhores feudais que, com sua bravura e inquebrantável senso de honra, edificaram o Reino em meio a batalhas e confrontos militares de todo o tipo.
O lance capital se dá quando Gonçalo, esmagado pelas constantes humilhações, pela fraqueza sua, física, moral e política, sonha com seus antepassados ilustres, recebendo destes, num gesto de amor e carinho pelo distante descendente, as armas com que conquistaram a imorredoura fama. Gonçalo, num momento de luminosa autoconsciência, se dá conta de que o grande mal de sua vida, a raiz de seus problemas é a vontade, a vontade fraca e inconstante, que faz com que seja, a todo o momento, arrastado pelas circunstâncias em torno. Logo no dia seguinte, no violento entrevero com o valentão de Nacejas, Ernesto de Nacejos, Gonçalo redescobre a força, o ímpeto, a bravura indômita, tanto tempo represada, de seus avós ilustres - e, meditando sobre ocorrido, pôde dizer, com indisfarçada satisfação, que "enfim era um homem!".
Romance de transformação, de conquista da maturidade que, em larga medida, se realiza na tomada de consciência duma antiquíssima tradição familiar de honra viril - Gonçalo transforma-se no que verdadeiramente é - senhor de terras sobranceiro, altivo e bondoso - quando aceita, de uma vez por todas, o legado heróico de seus antepassados ilustres que construíram "Torre mais velha que o reino, Torre de Santa Irenéia!". ( )
  Fernandosfjr | Aug 11, 2016 |
Before picking up this book this author was totally unknown to me despite his renown (in Portugal at least)where he is seen as one of their greatest authors.

Written in the very late 19th century the book centres around Goncalo Mendes Ramires the last descendant of perhaps the oldest and most noble family in Portugal living in and off the last relics of this once great family estates. Goncalo clings to many of the chivalric norms of the past but in reality is effete and his life aimless lacking any real influence. He is encouraged by an old university acquaintance to write a book describing his ancient forefathers bravery in an effort to be noticed in a country where patronage is still seen as important.However, when an untimely death occurs, Goncalo is given an opening into politics and perhaps real authority he abandons many of his previous scruples to grasp this opportunity culminating in a outbreak of violence with a local bully and piece of self-realisation. He is actually popular and well liked by his neighbours. Thus Goncalo comes to represent Portugal itself. A country which in many ways is living off its past with its colonies in Africa etc but although generally well liked has little real influence on the world stage. Personally I have no real experience of life in Portugal but feel that this analogy could also count for many of the old world empires, Britain, France, Spain, Italy etc.

I initially found the book rather dull and slow and some of the names a little difficult to get a handle on but it is worth persevering with. The prose is beautiful and there is a very subtle touch of irony running throughout. This is an author of real quality and I feel that he should be much more well read than he is. I will certainly keep an eye out for some of his other works. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Aug 21, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eca de Queirosprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stevens, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Desde as quatro horas da tarde, no calor e silêncio do domingo de Junho, o fidalgo da Torre, em chinelos, com uma quinzena de linho envergada sobre a camisa de chita cor-de-rosa, trabalhava.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811212645, Paperback)

Eca de Queiros, Illustrious House of Ramires. Ironic comedy from the master of Portuguese realism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:35 -0400)

Goncalo Ramires, last heir to the most noble house of Portugal, is writing a book on his ancestors in the hope some of the glory will rub off on him. In counter-pointing Goncalo's cowardice with the valor of his ancestors, Queiroz (1845-1900) was identifying him with Portugal itself. Queiroz has been called the Dickens of Portugal.… (more)

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