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The Creation of the World

Miguel Torga

Translated by Ivana Carlsen

  • Description
  • Translator
  • The Creation of the World is the autobiography of one of Portugal's most celebrated modern writers, Miguel Torga. Of the six days which comprise The Creation, the present volume contains the two which recall his childhood spent in the wilderness of the Tres-os-Montes province, as the son of an illiterate peasant family scraping a living off the rocky flanks of 'The Mountain'; and a boyhood of near servitude to his uncle in Brazil, on a remote estate carved out of the serto, a lush and alarming setting for an anxious adolescence. But The Creation is more than narrative: 'I do not write a chronicle of my life, but a parable.'

    Returning to Portugal at last, Torga resumed an education curtailed at primary school by poverty. He finally qualified as a doctor and returned to practice in his native village, where his celebrated Tales (Contos and Novos Contos da Montanha) are set. Always willing to be controversial, Torga experienced the banning of his books and imprisonment by the Salazar regime. 'To be a writer in Portugal,' he confided to his journal, 'is like being buried alive and constantly scratching at the lid of one's coffin.'

    Even after the Revolution in 1974 Torga remained sceptical and disabused. He was feted and translated into most of the languages of Europe, but he remained temperamentally a man of the Tres-os-Montes, committed to his people and opposed to the inequalities that persisted. His work -- over fifty books by the time he died in 1995 -- possesses a rare, exemplary integrity. In his obituary in the Independent, James Kirkup described the author as 'that great fighter for human dignity and individuality, the poet Miguel Torga'.

    His classic autobiographical account is here translated for the first time into English.
    Ivana Carlsen
    ... read more
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