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Saramago's Gospel and the poetics of prototypical rewriting

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Abstract:

Abstract

Saramago's novel O Evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo is a paradigmatic example of successful prototypical rewriting: a retelling of a known story in such a way that the resulting text, the rewrite, is simultaneously an original composition and a recognizable rendition, involving a critical rereading of the source. Grounded in cognitive and pragmatic approaches to reading and interpretation, the article presents a detailed analysis of the relationship between the novel and the Gospels, focusing on Saramago's treatment of Mary Magdalene and of the ‘temptation in the desert’. Newspaper reviews and publishers' blurbs supply the empirical data for evaluating the success of Saramago's novel as a rewrite. The article ends with a brief comparison with Jim Crace's Quarantine, in order to illustrate the difference between a prototypical rewrite and a global allusion.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/147335303782369349

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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