20,000 People, and No Presidents, Attend José Saramago’s Funeral


Here's something American politicians don't spend much time worrying about: catching flack for snubbing giants of literature. This past weekend, 20,000 mourners paid their respects to José Saramago, the Nobel Prize–winning Portuguese novelist who died on Friday. Portugal's president, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, who was prime minister when the Portuguese government kept Saramago's Vatican-disdained novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ out of contention for a literary prize, did not attend the funeral on Sunday, though his more left-leaning colleagues did. Silva has been roundly criticized for missing it and released a statement saying he did not attend because he "had never had the privilege to know him," which has not stopped any politician ever before. [ArtsBeat/NYT]