The enigma underlying José Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey: writing of a dislocation or symbolic death interruption?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The voyage is a topic that pervades Saramago's literary work in its various cycles, having assumed a wide range of meanings in his skilful and refined exercises of inter- and intratextuality. The voyage can, thus, be considered a crucial element in the Portuguese Nobel laureate's narrative fabric as Maria Alzira Seixo's books and essays have widely demonstrated (1997; 1998; 2000). Viagem a Portugal (Journey to Portugal), published in 1981, considered as a volume of travel writing on the site ofFundação José Saramago, is a book that fails to be categorized within the framework of a specific genre, and that brings relevant cues to Saramago's view of Portugal; to the writer's role; to what would become Saramago's bibliographic hoaxes. This book, thus, can be considered as a fundamental reference in the archaeology of Saramago's writing in general and of the novel, in particular. This chapter analyses Journey to Portugal and A Viagem do Elefante (The Elephant's Journey, 2008) from a comparative perspective to examine how Saramago puts both texts into dialogue, and to what extent the text published in 2008, in its echoing of the 1981 volume, challenges the social, ethical, and political stance of Saramago as a writer almost three decades after the publication of J ourney to Portugal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSaramago after the Nobel
Subtitle of host publicationcontemporary readings of José Saramago’s late works
EditorsPaulo de Medeiros, José N. Ornelas
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781787078970
ISBN (Print)9781787079106
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameReconfiguring Identities in the Portuguese-Speaking World
PublisherPeter Lang-Oxford


  • José Saramago
  • The elephant’s journey
  • Dislocation
  • Symbolic death


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