Jose Saramago

Many famous and recognized writers have been born in Portugal , José Saramago was one of them and in fact he has been considered one of the most important voices in all world literature. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, he was recognized internationally not only for his great literary work but also for his political position .

Personal information

  • When was he born: 11/16/1922
  • Where he was born: Azinhaga, Portugal
  • When he died: 06/18/2010
  • Where he died: Tías, Spain

Who was José Saramago?

José Saramago was a renowned Portuguese novelist , writer , journalist , poet and also playwright who managed to win the Nobel Prize for Literature who focused on the use of parables full of imagination, compassion and irony.

  • Biography of José Saramago
  • Death
  • Personal life of José Saramago
  • Style
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Acknowledgments
  • Plays
  • Books
  • Phrases
  • Importance
  • Presence in popular culture
  • Curiosities about José Saramago

Biography of José Saramago

José Saramago was born in the Portuguese parish of Azinhaga , a town that was very close to the Tagus River in the northern part of Lisbon . His father was called José de Sousa and his mother, María de Piedade , both were peasants who did not own land and who were also poor. This situation was the one that influenced the thoughts of this author mainly in his political ideals. In 1925 , his family moved to Lisbon and his father began working as a policeman.

When he was 12 years old, he entered an industrial school and received humanistic studies there , it was the place where he had contact with the classics, however, he did not manage to finish his studies because his parents could not pay for his school so he went to work in a mechanical smithy . Shortly thereafter, he started working in an insurance company and worked as a journalist for Diário de Notícias, a renowned national newspaper, however he was expelled for political reasons .

He also worked for Seara Nova magazine and worked as a cultural commentator . He was part of the first management of the Association of Writers of Portugal, he also worked as deputy editor of the aforementioned newspaper. It was a period in which it suffered persecution and censorship due to the Salazar dictatorship . His first great novel was called Levantado do chão . In which he narrated the living conditions of the Lavre workers and through this work he showed his incomparable and almost poetic style that distinguished him throughout his life.


The author died when he was 87 years old, on June 18, 2010 at his home. The reason for his death was chronic leukemia that caused failure of all his organs. His ashes were placed at the foot of a centenary olive tree that had been brought from his hometown and that had later been transplanted in Campo das Cebolas , in front of the José Saramago Casa dos Bicos Foundation on the first anniversary of his death.

Personal life of José Saramago

In 1944 he married Hilda Reis and with her he had a daughter named Violante . He divorced his wife to dedicate himself completely to writing and when he turned 63 he met who would be his wife again and who would be with him until his last days, Pilar del Río.


Regarding his literary style, the author made use of long sentences and was not used to using exclamation marks or question marks , a situation for which he was sometimes criticized. He also made use of different characters within the same sentence, which tended to cause a certain degree of confusion . Another interesting fact of their writings was that they used capital letters after placing the comma within the same sentence.

However, his style had a structure quite solid and well documented , a style humorous and somewhat sarcastic because it drew the attention of readers. He used a peasant language which made him create an original and dense style mainly within the field of science fiction and surrealism . His characters were characterized by not having names but by having a characteristic that made them peculiar , these characters also did not have physical characteristics and did not use dialogueInstead he used as to be able to divide the conversations.

Physical characteristics

José Saramago was a strong man , tall and quite thin . He wore glasses and his eyes were honey colored.


As a child , he had a very quiet , discreet , melancholic and sad personality . The personality of its author was quite complex , full of anguish and unique . He had a great dichotomy , he was also a very humble man and despite not having been able to study, he became an excellent writer.


Among his main recognitions and tributes are the following:

  • José Saramago Foundation one of his novels in 2011.
  • In 2009, a Cultural Center with his name was inaugurated in Albacete , known as the José Saramago House of Culture.


There were several works written by this author in various genres, some examples are mentioned below.


  • Land of sin
  • Lifted off the ground
  • Convent memorial
  • The year of the death of Ricardo Reis
  • The stone raft
  • The duplicate man


  • The tale of the unknown island
  • Almost an object


  • The notebook
  • Notebooks from Lanzarote
  • The last notebook
  • The Nobel year notebook


  • The little memories


  • Probably joy
  • The year 1993


  • The silence of the water
  • the biggest flower in the world
  • The alligator


  • Traveler’s suitcases
  • The five senses
  • Moby Dick in Lisbon
  • Political sheets


  • The second life of Francis of Assisi
  • In Nomine Dei
  • Don Giovanni or the dissolute acquitted


  • Stockholm speeches
  • Here I am a Zapatista
  • The name and the thing
  • Democracy and university
  • Andrea Mantegna. An ethic, an aesthetic
  • Saramago in his words


  • Cain : it was the last book published by the author in 2009 and tells the life of Cain after being condemned to roam the earth.
  • The cave: shows a vision of the current world and human society through the life of a traditional family.
  • The Gospel according to Jesus Christ : a book that caused great controversy and was seen as blasphemous by the Catholic religion . It shows an alternate history of the life of Jesus.
  • Essay on blindness : a conscience note through 6 anonymous characters.


Among the most important phrases of José Saramago are the following:

  • The world is turning into a cave just like Plato’s : everyone looking at images and believing they are reality ”.
  • “The defeat has something positive , it is never final. On the other hand, victory has something negative, it is never final ”.
  • “I am a hormonal communist .”
  • “Within us there is something that has no name and that is what we really are.”
  • “What is the use of repentance , if that does not erase anything that has happened. The best regret is simply to change .
  • “The wisest man I have ever met in my entire life could neither read nor write.”
  • “I will enter into nothingness and dissolve myself in it .”


José Saramago considered one of the most notable voices , his excellence in writing earned him the Nobel Prize and his works were full of catharsis and philosophical reflection that invited readers to wake up. He was known as an agitator of consciences because he never tired of denouncing injustices writing passionately and always searching for the truth . The new generations continue to discover his style and his political personality today , since it is the most recognized writer that Portugal has offered.

Presence in popular culture

In popular culture it is possible to find several of his books and works captured in films , some of them are the following:

  • George Sluizer’s Stone Raft
  • Blind by Fernando Meirelles
  • Embargo of Antonio Ferreira
  • Enemy by Denis Villeneuve

Curiosities about José Saramago

Some curiosities of this author are mentioned below

  • When his parents went to register him after his birth, the Civil Registry made a mistake and instead of putting the name José Sousa they wrote José Saramago .
  • His father wanted him to be a locksmith , however in the place where he was studying he decided to take a literature course .
  • The first work he wrote was not very successful.
  • The first Portuguese writer was the Nobel Prize for literature.

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