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Saramago, Jose (Translated by Giovanni Pontiero) . THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS CHRIST. New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1994. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 377 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's third novel to be translated into English. Now widely considered Jose Saramago's greatest novel. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a very small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now very scarce. Presents Jose Saramago's masterpiece, "O evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo", in a felicitous English translation. Perhaps the most irreverent yet at the same time, also the most moving re-telling of the story of Jesus, Saramago's irony is deployed in a novel that amounts to a "re-write" of The Gospels, the latter being, in his view, invented works of fiction after all (they were all written hundreds of years after Jesus of Nazareth died). Saramago's novel provoked an outcry in Roman Catholic Portugal. It was debated in Parliament and withdrawn from consideration for the European Literature Prize. The controversy hurt Saramago deeply. He moved to the island of Lanzarote permanently, which explains why he was absent on the world stage at the peak of his fame (and signed copies of his books are among the rarest of all). Saramago's Gospel is closely linked with all of his oeuvre, acutely so with his late, post-Nobel Prize work. Often described as a satirist, Saramago's work goes much deeper, and he is perhaps the greatest modern literary ironist since Franz Kafka. Saramago's novel is infinitely superior to say, Norman Mailer's "The Gospel According To The Son" (1999) partly because he writes as someone steeped in Catholic culture, and also because he is a much greater writer than Mailer could ever be. "Arguably the greatest writer of our time. He throws a dazzling flash of lightning on his subjects" (The Chicago Tribune). Saramago was an anomaly who came out of nowhere, seemingly born a genius. Every single page of every single book he has ever written makes the reader feel that he or she is in the hands of an unsurpassable Master. An absolute "must-have" title for Jose Saramago collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Jose Saramago. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. This title is a great book. This is one of very few signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Among the Nobel Laureates and other great writers of our time, Saramago's signature was probably the most difficult to get because he rarely left Lanzarote, the island he moved to at the height of his fame. Now that he is dead, he isn't signing any more copies. And yet, signed copies of his books, while not exactly cheap, remain under-priced as compared to those of say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Cormac McCarthy. While they are great writers, Saramago will be regarded by posterity as a greater writer than both of them, and there is no British or American novelist of the last fifty years, living or dead, who comes close to Saramago's achievement (except, according to Harold Bloom, for Philip Roth at his best). A rare signed copy thus. Regarded by Harold Bloom as one of the two greatest novelists of our time (the other being Philip Roth), Jose Saramago will be read as probably the greatest European novelist of the last fifty years. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER JOSE SARAMAGO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0151367000. $900.00

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