José Saramago, the “poor boy” who won the Nobel Prize for Literature

November 16, 1922 was born in the district of Azinhaga, Portugal, Jose Saramago, son of a low-income family, future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His name must have been José de Sousa, but the person in charge of the civil registry considered it funny to change his last name for the derogatory nickname for his maternal family: “Saramago”, whose allusion was “poor and uneducated”.

Saramago is the name of a wild plant, vegetables known to grow spontaneously, without human control or intervention, considered of low value. The wild term is used to refer to people without academic training.

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He came to sleep among piglets to avoid the cold

Saramago’s grandparents were illiterate farmers, who raised pigs and tended trees, while her parents, also illiterate, worked as policemen and housewives respectively.

Jose Saramago he spent the first years of his life in the countryside, barefoot, in the company of his grandparents. Jerónimo Melrinho had the habit of telling his grandson stories under a fig tree and, on cold nights, when the inhabitants of the house slept in the company of the piglets to avoid their deaths due to the low temperatures, andhe boy listened to his grandfather’s words and dreamed about them.

In 1936, At the age of 14, Saramago moved from the country to the city to live with his parents, where he entered a vocational school. to learn the trade of locksmith mechanic. One of his compulsory subjects was literature, from there and with his grandfather’s fables still in his mind, the young Saramago begins to go to the public library of his city.

No formal study guide in the field of letters, Saramago begins to read all the works that arouse his interest. Nobody guides him, nobody can advise him which authors are better than others. The years go by the young man works exhausting days as a locksmith, but at night he continues to go to the library and begins to write. His first publication is a publishing failure.

From being ignored to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature: the story of a writer

During the decade of the forties and beginning of the fifties, José Saramago finished his second novel with the name of “Skylight”. He submits the typewritten original, the only copy of his work, to a publisher for publication. It is 1953 and the author is 31 years old. Time passes and you don’t get an answer.

Saramago opts for silence and puts his career as a writer on pause, doing other jobs instead: spublic servant, editorial production manager, translator and journalist. In 1976, without work, he returns to the initiative of the letters. From there he begins to publish his most famous novels, among which are: “Essay on blindness” Y “The gospel according to Jesus Christ.

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in 1989 finally receives a response from the publisher where I send the manuscript of his novel “Claraboya”, The letter says that it would be an honor for them to publish Saramago, but the author is already 67 years old, with a consolidated career and a leading publisher, so he declines the offer. Nine years later, in 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Saramago ceased to be synonymous with mockery and discrimination

In his Nobel acceptance speech, the author shows how he recognized his own limits, he had no money or a university education. Faced with the inability to extend his domain to the horizon, he began to dig where he was, underground, towards the roots, with patience, humility and respect for all people, especially for those whose human rights have been violated.

The author continued writing until the end of his life, publishing works such as: “The flashes of death”, “The duplicated man”, “Essay on lucidity” Y “Cain”. From that moment and, to date, name “Saramago” was never used again to make fun of people’s harsh living conditions.

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The June 18, 2010, at the age of 87, José Saramago died, who one day was a poor child, from an illiterate family and a stutterer, who was mocked by his own neighbors. Three days later, on June 21, the official Portuguese soccer team, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa came out on the pitch, in their match against North Korea, wearing black armbands in memory of his Nobel Prize for Literaturewho has been translated into more than 40 languages.

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José Saramago, the “poor boy” who won the Nobel Prize for Literature