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Abstract

In his article "Rhetoric and Context in Saramago's Levantado do Chão" David Frier analyses the 1980 novel by Nobel in Literature 1998 José Saramago. The novel, as-of-yet not translated to English, Risen from the Ground, achieves its success as a key text of the Portuguese post-Revolutionary period in part through its resourceful rhetorical development of textual conventions and echoes derived from a wide range of high- and popular cultural contexts, ranging from the epic poetry of Camões's Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads) of 1578, through glamorized medieval battle-scenes to popular stories and beliefs and to the Fado music of Amália Rodrigues. In each case, the material cited or alluded to is adapted and revisited from new angles, satirized, or re-appropriated from the traditionally hegemonic culture of the privileged (with what are presented here as their false claims to be representing the real interests of the Portuguese nation), to suit instead the interests and perspectives of the peasant workers of the Alentejo region who form the principal focus of the core narrative of the novel. By exploiting these wide-ranging cultural resources, Saramago's novel widens its frame of reference to effectively claim the April Revolution as a natural continuation of centuries-old Portuguese cultural traditions, while also enriching the substance of the text with a variety of voices, as opposed to the traditionally monologic practice of those Marxist-inspired texts of the classical neo-realist period under the dictatorship.

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