Edmund White, escritor norte-americano, publicou a crítica literária, à tradução da obra "História do Cerco de Lisboa", sob o título "O revisor subversivo", alusão directa a Raimundo Silva.
Este aparece mencionado como "um humilde empregado de escritório celibatário, discreto e indeciso, neste caso um revisor que um dia quebra todas as regras da sua profissão e comete um lunático acto criativo".
João Céu e Silva, faz alusão a esta informação, em "Uma longa viagem com José Saramago" - Porto Editora, página 111.
Aqui, via Wikipédia, link para consulta dos dados do referido escritor,
"Edmund Valentine White III (13 de Janeiro de 1940) é um romancista, escritor de contos e crítico literário, nascido em Cincinnati, Ohio, nos Estados Unidos da América.
A sua obra mais conhecida é, provavelmente, A vida privada de um rapaz, o primeiro volume de uma trilogia autobiográfica que tem continuação com Um belo quarto vazio e Sinfonia a despedida."
Aqui link, directo para consulta do artigo, na página do "The New York Times",
"The Subversive Proofreader", by Edmund White
The story of a humble clerk who decides to rewrite Portuguese history
"The History of the Siege of Lisbon", by Jose Saramago
Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. 314 pp.
New York: Harcourt Brace & Company
"Like his near contemporaries Franz Kafka and Constantine Cavafy, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a writer and a clerk, but he encapsulated many different literary personalities. He lived in Lisbon most of his adult life, though he'd been brought up in Durban, South Africa, and his first poems were in English. Pessoa made his living by translating business letters into Portuguese, but in his spare time he wrote poems and prose pieces under many different names and in many styles. For instance, his most famous prose work, ''The Book of Disquiet,'' was written under the name Bernardo Soares.
Although Pessoa is mentioned only once in ''The History of the Siege of Lisbon,'' by Jose Saramago, he is present everywhere in this cryptic, ingenious novel (now translated by Giovanni Pontiero). Here is the single direct reference: ''Raimundo Silva thought to himself, in the manner of Fernando Pessoa, If I smoked, I should now light a cigarette, watching the river, thinking how vague and uncertain everything is, but, not smoking, I should simply think that everything is truly uncertain and vague, without a cigarette, even though the cigarette, were I to smoke it, would in itself express the uncertainty and vagueness of things, like smoke itself, were I to smoke.'' (It should be pointed out that Pessoa smoked 80 cigarettes a day.)
The serpentine whimsicality of this passage establishes the link between Saramago and Pessoa (Saramago's novel ''The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis'' is named after another one of Pessoa's literary ''heteronyms''; the hero of this earlier novel takes long walks and talks to the dead Pessoa). Like Bernardo Soares, like Pessoa himself, Raimundo Silva is a humble, celibate clerk, described as withdrawn, indecisive, in this case a proofreader who one day breaks with all the rules of his profession and commits a lunatic creative act. While correcting the proofs of a standard history of Portugal, he inserts a single word, ''not,'' which totally derails the national saga. As amended by Silva, the text now reads that the crusaders did not come to the aid of the 12th-century Portuguese King who was laying siege to Lisbon, aiming to expel the Moors from the kingdom.
Only 12 days later does his publishing house discover this grave folly. Now the editors above him no longer trust him, but out of consideration for his many years of faithful service, they decide to give him another chance. And his new boss, Maria Sara, who is in charge of all proofreaders, indicates she is fascinated by his subversiveness. Indeed, she even suggests that he write a new history of Portugal based on the false supposition that all but a few crusaders refused to help the King, who was now outnumbered by the Moors, though still capable of laying siege to the city and starving his enemies into submission."
(Pintura de Alfredo Roque Gameiro, "A Conquista de Lisboa", 1917)
"Raimundo Silva is haunted by her suggestion -- and by her. He writes the new, fictitious history while keeping up his proofreading. And he indulges his obsession with Maria Sara night and day. Saramago's text becomes an ever-shifting blend of straightforward narrative about Silva and Maria Sara in the present, passages from Silva's fanciful history of the past, and Silva's thoughts, which seamlessly slide between present and past, reality and fiction, between himself and Maria Sara and their counterparts in the 12th century, a Portuguese hero, Mogueime, and a concubine, Ouroana. We deduce that the fertility of Silva's historical imagination is prefigured by his long-dormant but now fully awakened feelings for a woman. He writes the happy ending that he and his lover are about to experience.
I found the verbal pierce and parry of the two proofreaders' courtship the most persuasive and vivid aspect of the novel. Saramago has a sure sense of the pleasurable danger of seduction, the fear of offending, the wild hope of wooing, and he renders the lovers' dialogue in long, virtually unpunctuated paragraphs (in which the reader is often not certain who is speaking) that superbly reproduce the delirium of desire: ''My problem in this situation is to know whether I should have blushed before or if I should be blushing now, I can recall having seen you blush once, When, When I touched the rose in your office, Women blush more easily than men, we're the weaker sex, Both sexes are weak, I was also blushing, How come you know so much about the weakness of the sexes, I know my own weakness, and something about the weakness of others.''
The rest of the writing can sometimes seem to be nothing but digressions, although the author scatters plenty of clues that he fully intends his periphrases and divagations. At some point he tells us that a story can be 10 words long or 100 or 100,000 -- that every story, in fact, is infinitely extensible. He jokingly refers to his own long-windedness -- which differs from real pomposity in that it is never dull or humorless.
If Pessoa provides Saramago with the ur-example in Portuguese of heteronymic writing (the assumption of one mask after another), then the blending of past and present and of Islam and Roman Catholicism can be traced to the influence of another living Iberian modernist, Juan Goytisolo, Spain's greatest avant-garde novelist. In book after book (''Marks of Identity,'' ''Landscapes After the Battle'') Goytisolo has played with time and imagined a Europe that embraced rather than rejected its Muslim heritage. Saramago is more a game player than Goytisolo, closer than he to the intertextual vivacity of the Borges of ''Pierre Menard,'' a story about a 20th-century dandy who reinvents ''Don Quixote,'' much as Silva has reinvented the founding myth of Portugal. Word has it that Saramago is overdue for a Nobel Prize; no candidate has a better claim to lasting recognition than this novelist who was born in 1922 but was in his mid-50's before he began to publish the fiction that has won him an international reputation."