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‘A Goldsmith of Words’-“Life” in the Words of Amadeu de Prado

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DE ALMEIDA PRADO, AMADEU INÁCIO (1920-1973). Featuring in Pascal Mercier‘s philosophical novel Night Train to Lisbon (later adapted into a film starring Jeremy Irons), Amadeu de Prado was born a judge’s son in the Portugal of Salazar. He heavily criticized Salazar’s dictature in his speech given upon graduating as a doctor. His only book was self-published posthumously in 1975, entitled Um ourives des palavras (Portuguese for “A Goldsmith of Words”, a phrase alluding to Friedrich Nietzsche).

‘A Goldsmith of Words’-“Life” in the Words of Amadeu de Prado from Ashok Kumar Taduri on Vimeo.

Night Train to Lisbon, in which the story of Gregorius and quotes from de Prado’s book are woven together, can be considered a literary reflection of Peter Bieri’s philosophical works (the man behind the Mercier pseudonym). The art of life and authenticity are important themes in his works.

Wonderful Quotes of Amadeu de Prado:

“We live here and now, Everything before and in other places is past and mostly forgotten”.

“What could – what should be done, with all the time that lies ahead of us? Open and unshaped, feather light in its freedom and lead-heavy in its uncertainty? Is it a wish, dreamlike and nostalgic, to stand once again at that point in life, and be able to take a completely different direction to the one which has made us who we are?”

“We leave something of ourselves behind, only leave a place, we stay there even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We travel to ourselves when we go to a place though we have covered a stretch of our life, no matter how brief it may have been. But by travelling to ourselves|we must confront our own loneliness. And isn’t it so everything we do is done out of fear of loneliness? Isn’t that why we renounce all the things we will regret at the end of our lives?”

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty”.

“Is it ultimately a question of self-image that determining idea one has made for oneselve of what has to be accomplished and experienced so that one can approve the life one has lived? If this is the case, the fear of death might be described as the fear of not been able to become whom one planned to be. If the certainty befalls us that it will never be achieved… this homeness, you suddenly don’t know how to live the time, that can no longer be part of a whole life”.

“The real director of life is accident, a director full of cruelty compassion and bewitching charm.”

“The decisive moments of life, when its direction changes forever, are not always marked by large and shown dramatics. In truth, the dramatic moments of a life determining experience, are often unbelieveable low key. When it unfolds its revolutionary effects and insures that a  life is revealed in a brand new light, it does that silently. And in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”

“In youth, we live as if we were immortal, Knowledge of mortality dances around us like a brittle paper ribbon that barely touches our skin. When, in life does that change? When does the ribbon tighten, until finally it strangles us?”

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Amadeu de Prado died in 1973 of the rupture of an aneurysm in his brain, of which he’d been long aware.