Years ago I read my first book by José Saramago, “Blindness”. I was hooked from that point on. His characters leapt off the pages into my mind’s eye and elicited real empathy in me as they experienced extraordinary circumstances. I didn’t stop reading Saramago, I have read everything he wrote that has been translated into English and I have never been disappointed.
Unique Writing Style
If you choose to read a Saramago novel you will quickly realize his use of punctuation is sparse. You may at first be a bit flummoxed by this, however after a few pages in you will wonder why writers choose to use so many interruptions in the form of punctuation. In his case a dialogue can become a page and a half. Just commas and little else. No need for “He said” or “She said” because the characters are distinctive and realistic.
Confronting the Surreal In a Real World
“Saramago’s novels often use the supernatural, allegorical, paradoxical and irrational to address questions of faith and existence.” – The New York Times
In most of his novels average people are confronted with surreal experiences they are unprepared to deal with and yet they must cope with them in realistic ways.
Saramago clearly rejected the idea that his work was related to Latin American ''Magical Realism”. I agree with Saramago. His work is straightforward, compassionate, and relatable to all of our human concerns and condition without attempting to be magical.
His work for me is a word collage of ideas and mental images in the form of a story. He was an artist using words and concepts to impact our view of our own experiences and beliefs and to inspire us to a greater understanding of ourselves. His writing is like no other.
Noble Prize in Literature
Saramago won the Noble Prize for Literature in 1998
The Swedish Academy praised Mr. Saramago ''who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality.''
By Jed Rasula
Excellent read on the beginning of Dadaism. Rasula truly brings the individuals to life in ways I have never read in any other book concerning Dadaism. Characteristics of both the human element as well as the surroundings in which things occurred are clearly explored.
A must read for those interested in this art movement that can speak to even our time.
Jed Rasula is Helen S. Lanier Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century, Modernism and Poetic Inspiration: The Shadow Mouth, and Syncopations: The Stress of Innovation in Contemporary American Poetry, among others.
We had a primary mission in visiting Zurich, Switzerland, to visit the Cabaret Voltaire.
Founded in 1916 by Hugo Ball, Cabaret Voltaire was literally the birthplace of Dada, the art movement, or more accurately, the anti-art movement that turned into a crucial statement and artistic outcry predicated on a protest against the horrors of World War II. The world was stunned at the carnage of the war and the Dadaists responded.
"”The war is founded on a glaring mistake, men have been confused with machines."
Other founding members were, Tristan Tzara, Richard Huelsenbeck, Marcel Janco, Sophie Tauber, and Hans Arp.
Dada was art, performance, politics, poetry, happenings, and so much more. Its impact is still being seen in the art world and Neo Dadaism is alive and well.
Cabaret Voltaire is still there and still pushing the boundaries of art, music and performance.
On a September night Mari (also an art lover) and I sat drinking beer listening to music that fit perfectly with the atmosphere in this important landmark of art. The crowd was a mixture of older and younger people. All appeared to know just how important the place they were in was. For me it was a visit that checked off an important life-list activity. Being a part-time artist who occasionally creates Dada related work, this visit was truly thrilling. The history enveloped us and it glowed in a magical way. Dada!
The exhibit at the time we were there was by Mexican artist, Carlos Amorales, a multidisciplinary artist who studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
Learn more about Dada
List of Dadaists - Go Here
Cabaret Voltaire Video
Art, Books, Inspirations and a few psychological and philosophical musings.