Baltasar and Blimunda

Baltasar and Blimunda (Portuguese: Memorial do Convento, 1982) is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author José Saramago.

Baltasar and Blimunda
José Saramago - Baltasar & Blimunda.jpg
First edition (Portuguese)
AuthorJosé Saramago
Original titleMemorial do Convento
TranslatorGiovanni Pontiero
Cover artistFresco from the nave of Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe[1][2]
PublisherEditorial Caminho
Publication date
Published in English
Followed byThe Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis 

It is an 18th-century love story intertwined with the construction of the Convent of Mafra, now one of Portugal's chief tourist attractions, as a background. Two young lovers interact naturally with historical characters including the composer and harpsichordist Domenico Scarlatti and the priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão, recognized today as an aviation pioneer, all in the shadow of the Inquisition. The lovers are always at center stage wrapped in Saramago's language, which ranges from short simple sentences to surrealistic, unpunctuated paragraphs that help to intensify both the action and the setting.

The book served as the basis for the opera Blimunda (1990), composed by Azio Corghi.

Critical receptionEdit

"Much reverberates in memory after reading this enchanting novel, but most of all the love story which soars over the rest of the action like a flute across a heavy orchestra. Mr. Saramago, a writer of sharp intelligence, keeps this love story under strict control, free of pathos or sentimentality. It is a love of, and on, this earth." – Irving Howe in The New York Times 1987.[3]


External linksEdit