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The History of the Siege of Lisbon by Jose…

The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1989)

by Jose Saramago

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (11)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  All (17)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The History of the Siege of Lisbonstarts off slow, but those who persevere through Saramago's wordy prose are well-rewarded. Raimundo Silva is a proof-reader for a Lisbon publisher. One night, while reading over the final draft of a non-fiction work called The History of the Siege of Lisbon, is suddenly inspired to insert a "not" into the text where it does not belong, so that the text reads that the Crusaders did not stop and help King Alfonso defeat the Moors and capture Lisbon. Even when called out 13 days later by his bosses, he cannot explain his sudden impulse. Although he is not fired, the firm hires a manager to stand over the proof-readers and keep them in line, Dr. Maria Sara. She has a strange request for poor Raimundo: she wants him to write his own history of the Siege of Lisbon, where the Crusaders follow his edit and don't stop. And for some reason, Raimondo can't bear to disappoint her. The result will be a voyage of discovery, both for King Alfonso and for Raimundo himself.

An enjoyable book about books and the writing of books. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth the effort. ( )
  inge87 | Feb 24, 2014 |
I enjoy this novel, written in a dictatorship, and discussing what effect an attempt to rewrite the past by literally changing just a word in a text, can have. All dictatorships rewrite their pasts, and living in Canada, under our Conservative Government, I am watching that actually occur. I enjoyed the novel, and abhor the process. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 18, 2014 |
Saramago's novel I like best ( )
  Eliyahu | Aug 16, 2013 |
A wonderful, eccentric, playful and unpredictable novel, in which Saramago explores the ways history and fiction interact in our imagination, challenges one of the central stories in the making of Portuguese national identity, and - not least - affirms once again his enormous affection for the city of Lisbon. As so often in Saramago, one little element in the “real world” is reversed to act as the grain of sand on which the narrative can nucleate, in this case it develops into a pair of parallel, intersecting stories, medieval and contemporary. It's a book-within-a-book novel, but you can't easily decide which book is inside which: each of the two stories is effectively writing the other as it develops.

Giovanni Pontiero’s English translation, as usual, feels natural and unobtrusive. ( )
  thorold | Apr 18, 2013 |
Dies Buch ist ein Spiel mit vielen Spielen: ein Spiel mit den historischen Gegebenheiten, mit der Zeit, mit der Wirklichkeit, mit Schicksalen von Tod und Liebe, mit dem Schreiben selbst, und vor allem mit der Sprache, die alle diese Spiele zusammenfügt zu einem wunderbaren Mosaik. Hier auch eine der schönsten Liebesszene, der ich je in einem Roman begegnet bin.
Leider lassen sich in der deutschen Übersetzung die außerordentlich häßlichen Worte für ‘mamilo‘ und ‘aréola‘ (: Warze, Brustwarzenhof) nicht vermeiden: Was sagt das über die historische deutsche Einstellung zur Erotik und Sexualität?

Aber wenn du mit Saramagos Sprache nicht zurecht kommst, dann lies nicht weiter, denn dann ist dieses Buch nicht für dich bestimmt. (VII-12) ***** ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Jul 25, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jose Saramagoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lemmens, HarrieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pontiero, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Until you attain the truth,
you will not be able to amend it.
But if you do not amend it,
you will not attain it. Meanwhile,
do not resign yourself.

- from The Book of Exhortations
For Pilar
First words
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Sí, va dir el corrector, el nom d'aquest signe és deleàtur, l'usem quan hem de suprimir i esborrar, la mateixa paraula ho diu, i tant serveix per a lletres com per a paraules completes.
Ha detto il revisore, Sì, il nome di questo segno è deleatur, lo usiamo quando abbiamo bisogno di sopprimere e cancellare, la parola stessa lo dice, e vale sia per lettere singole che per parole intere,
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Il ricordo della notte stupenda distrae Raimundo Silva, la sorpresa di risvegliarsi al mattino e vedere e sentire un corpo nudo accanto, il piacere inesprimibile di toccarlo, qui, lì, dolcemente, come se fosse una rosa, dire fra sé e sé, Piano piano, non la svegliare, fatti conoscere, rosa, corpo, fiore, poi la premura delle mani, la carezza prolungata e insistente, fino a che Maria Sara apre gli occhi e sorride, hanno detto contemporaneamente, Amore mio, e si sono abbracciati.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156006243, Paperback)

"If proofreaders were given their freedom and did not have their hands and feet tied by a mass of prohibitions more binding than the penal code, they would soon transform the face of the world, establish the kingdom of universal happiness, giving drink to the thirsty, food to the famished, peace to those who live in turmoil, joy to the sorrowful ... for they would be able to do all these things simply by changing the words ..." The power of the word is evident in Portuguese author José Saramago's novel, The History of the Siege of Lisbon. His protagonist, a proofreader named Raimundo Silva, adds a key word to a history of Portugal and thus rewrites not only the past, but also his own life.

Brilliantly translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero, The History of the Siege of Lisbon is a meditation on the differences between historiography, historical fiction, and "stories inserted into history." The novel is really two stories in one: the reimagined history of the 1147 siege of Lisbon that Raimundo feels compelled to write and the story of Raimundo's life, including his unexpected love affair with the editor, Maria Sara. In Saramago's masterful hands, the strands of this complex tale weave together to create a satisfying whole.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A proofreader in a publishing house changes a word in a manuscript to make a history book read that a 12th Century battle was strictly a Portuguese victory, rather than a joint victory with the Crusaders. Instead of being fired the proofreader is commissioned to develop the idea into a novel. A study in historical revisionism.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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