The Illustrious House of Ramires, presented here in a sparkling new translation by Margaret Jull Costa, is the favorite novel of many EÃ§a de QueirÃ³s aficionados. This late masterpiece, wickedly funny and yet profoundly tender, centers on GonÃ§alo Ramires, heir to a family so aristocratic that it predates even the kings of Portugal. GonÃ§alo—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. Â But “the record of their valor,” asThe 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. EÃ§a de QueirÃ³s has justly been compared with Flaubert and Stendhal."