Eca de Queiros, Illustrious House of Ramires. Ironic comedy from the master of Portuguese realism.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklySlyly funny and richly detailed, this reissue of Quieros's long out-of-print book makes for a delicious introduction to Portugal's greatest novelist. First published in 1900, the year of Quieros's death, it portrays Goncalo Mendes Ramires, the latest in an aristocratic family that predates even the kings of Portugal. In the isolation of the gloomy ancient tower of Santa Ireneia, Goncalo rehearses the feats of derring-do of an uninterrupted line of ancestors whose most recent contribution is himself, ``a graduate who had failed his third year examinations at university.'' Hoping to win some small scholarly reputation and thus secure a political future in the capital, Goncalo sets out to portray (a la Walter Scott), the adventures of one such ancestor. Installments recording the haughty courage and cruelty of his medieval forefather, Tructesindo Ramires, contrast with Goncalo's rather banausic existence, his cowardice, his small acts of noblesse oblige and his questionable apotheosis. Quieros's luxurious prose lends itself well to both the subtle irony of his morality play and the beauty of a decrepit Portuguese estate with its autumn sun, wilting flowers, faded portraits and other reminders of a bloody and powerful past. (May)
Library JournalDe Queiroz (1845-1900) ranks among Portugal's greatest novelists. Published toward the end of his life, this novel uses the title character, Gonalo Mendes Ramires, to portray the ins and outs of 19th-century Portuguese society. For large foreign fiction collections.
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