Owlseyes's Reviews > Peregrinação

Peregrinação by Fernão Mendes Pinto
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A book first published in 1614.

-Fact or fiction? truth or part of it? what to say of a 16th century Portuguese man who travelled over large areas of Africa and Asia (Gulf of Siam,Japan,India,China...) as merchant, as warrior,...in company of the Jesuits...imprisoned turned into slave...occasional physician,ambassador,a pirate in the China seas,...soldier,business agent and... 20 years later in Portugal recalled his trips?

I think Mendes Pinto has the stature of Da Gama, the only diference is that a few noticed that,so far.

(Portuguese Traveler Mendes Pinto, carver Yomeisai, 19th century, ivory, height 132 mm)

He's the Unrecognized Hero of Portugal.

Back in 1987 the Portuguese writer Miguel Torga visited Macao; reflecting on the Discoveries time he said:" this land has got something of disturbing and of opium-quality";"Macao is like a confusing dream of Portugal". Torga wrote in his Diary:"it's our destiny not to fit in the birth's cradle"... since the early days we are emigrants; the pre-historical Portuguese already was an adventurer, a missioner, a sower of culture"..."... "to be a complete Portuguese is to be (Camões)a pioneer, a banner holder, an apostle, a visionary,a boyfriend and a poet ". All the enunciated qualities fit so well into Mendes Pinto.

On the 2004 edition of "Peregrinação" the Portuguese writer José António Saraiva wrote in the Introduction: "Being an auto-biographical book, what's most interesting about the character is his anti-hero side. FMP is a poor devil....he refers to himself as "poor me"...he exposes himself to the reader to be laughed at". Saraiva compared FMP to Charlot of Charlie Chaplin or certain characters of Woody Allen.

Saraiva added: "the episode when FMP portrays himself killing time laying down on a sea beach, watching hours roll by, ending up being bought by a merchant for a ridiculous price, may be symbolical: it shows us a man reduced to his tiniest condition-the human merchandise in its simplest form".

"He could have died a twenty times but he always saved himself"

Quoting FMP:"...God always saved me....for twenty one years,thirteen times I was held captive and for seventeen I was sold,in those parts of India,Ethiopia,Arabia Félix,China,Tartária,Macáçar,Samatra and many other provinces of that oriental archipelago of the far east Asia, one the chin,siam,"guéus" and "léquios" writers call in their geographies the "lid of the world"..."


Had I been a Historian; had I had the chance to write a doctoral dissertation...than FMP would had been my topic.
-I'm not lying.

*Portuguese game of words/sounds (playing with name Pinto and the verb to lie=Minto=I lie):
-Fernão,do you lie?
-I do.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Interesting man. Never heard of him before.

Owlseyes Yes,indeed,...interesting. Maybe he'd been in the Philippines; many of the geographical names he uses are hard to correspond to present-day locations.

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