256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.61 in
May 1, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0547640226
ISBN - 13: 9780547640228
About the Book
An early example of Saramago's mastery, this novel takes us into the last days of Salazar's dictatorship when a second-rate artist is commissioned by a wealthy client to paint a portrait and the political and intellectual struggles that ensue.
Read from the Book
On revient de loin. La formation bourgeoise,l’orgueil intellectuel.La nécessité de se réviser à tout moment.Les liens qui subsistent.La sentimentalité.L’empoisonnement de la culture orientée.— Paul Vaillant-Couturier I shall go on painting the second picture but I know it will never be finished. I have tried without success and there is no clearer proof of my failure and frustration than this sheet of paper on which I am starting to write. Sooner or later I shall move from the first picture to the second and then turn to my writing, or I shall skip the intermediate stage or stop in the middle of a word to apply another brushstroke to the portrait commissioned by S. or to that other portrait alongside it which S. will never see. When that day comes I shall know no more than I know today (namely, that both pictures are worthless). But I shall be able to decide whether I was right to allow myself to be tempted by a form of expression which is not mine, although this same temptation may mean in the end that the form of expression I have been using as carefully as if I were following the fixed rules of some manual was not mine either. For the moment I prefer not to think about what I shall do if this writing comes to nothing; if, from now on, my white canvases and blank sheets of paper become a world orbiting thousands of light-years away where I shall not be able to leave the slightest trace. If, in a word, it was dishonest to pick up a brush or pen or if, once more in a word (th
From the Publisher
Manual of Painting and Calligraphy was José Saramago’s first novel. Written eight years before the critically acclaimed Baltasar and Blimunda, it is a story of self-discovery set against the background of the last years of Salazar’s dictatorship. A struggling young artist, commissioned to paint a portrait of an influential industrialist, learns in the process about himself and the world around him. The brilliant juxtaposition of a passionate love story and the crisis of a nation foreshadows all of Saramago’s major works. A must-have for any devotee of the great Portuguese Nobel laureate, Manual of Painting and Calligraphy is available in the United States for the first time.
About the Author
JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
"For a first novel, though, this work displays a masterly grasp of wordplay and other literary devices, and as the translator points out, it can also serve as a map to the political and social themes of Saramago’s future novels