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The Manual of Painting and Calligraphy
Translated by Giovanni Pontiero
RRP: GBP£ 14.95
You Save: GBP£ 1.50
Price: GBP£ 13.45
Out of Print
ISBN: 978 1 857540 43 7
Imprint: Aspects of Portugal
Published: March 1995
222 x 141 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback
José Saramago, award-winning author of Baltasar and Blimunda, The Stone Raft and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, and incontestably the greatest Portuguese novelist since Eça de Queiros, began his career with an extraordinary little book which set the agenda for all that followed.
The last years of Salazar's dictatorship provide a backdrop for The
Manual of Painting and Calligraphy. The story is told by H, a second-rate
artist commissioned by a wealthy client to paint a family portrait. As he
works, he reflects on his struggleto survive in a bourgeois world obsessed
with status and affluence. His portrait focuses animosity, his sitters are
left uncomfortably exposed. The novel explores wider issues: the functions
of art and literature; the critic's role; and, in H's tour of Italian
galleries, a meditation on the influences shaping western culture. Back in
Portugal, H is embroiled in political fear and mistrust when a friend is
arrested by the secret police. He falls in love, too, and by the end of the
story defines his objectives and achieves an inner freedom. This coincides
with the Portuguese Revolution of 1974 and Salazar's overthrow.
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