The Illustrious House of Ramires

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The Illustrious House of Ramires, presented here in a sparkling new translation by Margaret Jull Costa, is the favorite novel of many Eca de Queiros aficionados. This late masterpiece, wickedly funny and yet profoundly tender, centers on Goncalo Ramires, heir to a family so aristocratic that it predates even the kings of Portugal. Goncalo--charming but disastrously effete, idealistic but hopelessly weak--muddles through his pampered life, burdened by a grand ambition. He is determined to write a great historical novel based on the heroic deeds of his fierce medieval ancestors. But "the record of their valor," as The London Spectator remarked, "is ironically counterpointed by his own chicanery. A combination of Don Quixote and Walter Mitty, Ramires is continually humiliated but at the same time kindhearted. Ironic comedy is the keynote of the novel. Eca de Queiros has justly been compared with Flaubert and Stendhal."
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