The Centaur Historical Context

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Saramago wrote and first published “The Centaur” in Portuguese in his short story collection Objecto Quase (Almost an Object) in 1978. At that time, Portugal had just emerged from nearly fifty years of fascist rule. On April 25, 1974, a triumphant revolution ended the dictatorships of António de Oliveira Salazar and his successor Marcelo Caetano. During the fascist rule of these dictators, Portuguese writers experienced repression and censorship and witnessed the effects of Portugal's colonial wars in Africa during the 1960s and early 1970s. The ill effects of those wars on Portuguese citizens led to the military coup of 1974 known as the Revolution of the Carnations, which resulted in democratic rule in Portugal and independence for Portugal's former African colonies.

Saramago wrote this story and most of his other works during this post-revolutionary period in Portugal, which was initially marked by zealous revolutionary ideals and later characterized...

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