Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) - a poet who lived most his life in Lisbon, Portugal, and who died in obscurity there - has in recent years gained international recognition as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Now Richard Zenith has collected in a single volume all the major poetry of one of the most extraordinary poetic talents the century has produced (Microsoft Network's Reading Forum). Fernando Pessoa was as much a creator of personas as he was of poetry, prose, and criticism. He wrote under numerous heteronyms, literary alter egos with fully fleshed identities and writing styles, who supported and criticized each other's work in the margins of his drafts and in the literary journals of the time. From spare minimalism to a revolutionary exuberance that recalls Leaves of Grass, Pessoa's oeuvre was radically new and anticipated contemporary literary concerns to an unnerving degree. The first comprehensive edition of Pessoa's poetry in the English language, Fernando Pessoa & Co. is a work of extraordinary depth and poetic precision. Zenith's selection of Pessoa is a beautiful one-volume course in the soul of the twentieth century. — Booklist
A selection of prose by “Portugal’s greatest writer of the twentieth century . . . as addictive, and endearing, as Borges and Calvino” (The Washington Post Book World). Building on the wonderful Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems, which was acclaimed by Booklist as “a beautiful one-volume course in the soul of the twentieth century,” translator Richard Zenith has now edited and translated selections from Pessoa’s prose, offering a second volume of this forgotten master’s flights of imagination and melancholy wit. Though known primarily as a poet, Pessoa wrote prose in several languages and every genre—the novel, short stories, letters, and essays. The pieces collected here span intellectual inquiry, Platonic dialogue, and literary rivalries between Pessoa’s many alter egos—a diverse cast of literary voices he called ‘heteronyms’—who launch movements and write manifestos. There are appreciations of Shakespeare, Dickens, Wilde, and Joyce; critical essays in which one heteronym derides the work of another; experiments with automatic writing; and works that toy with the occult. Also included is a generous selection from Pessoa’s masterpiece, The Book of Disquiet, freshly translated by Richard Zenith from newly discovered materials. Fernando Pessoa was one of the greatest exponents of modernism. The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa is an important contribution to literature that brings back to life a forgotten but crucial part of the canon.
This is the largest and richest volume of poetry by Pessoa available in English. It includes generous selections from the three poetic alter egos that the Portuguese writer dubbed "heteronyms" - Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos - and from the vast and varied work he wrote under his own name.
Portugese poet FERNANDO PESSOA (1888-1935) has been included by Harold Bloom in an elite group of authors, with Dante, Shakespeare, Kafka, and Joyce. He was the first poet to have elaborated at any length on the fact that art need not be a mirror to gaze into, but a mirror to peer out from. This is the first selection of Pessoa's work to concentrate on the meanings of the various heteronymns, the different people he created who in turn wrote some poems (but not Pesssoa's). In his introduction David Butler outlines the reason for the selection and concentrates on the different heteronymns Pessoa used, and includes samples of each of the characters. This is a dual-language edition in the Poetry Europe series.
The writing of Fernando Pessoa reveals a mind shaken by intense inner suffering. In these poems he adopted four separate personae: Alberto Caeiro, Alvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis and himself, using them to express 'great swarms of thought and feeling'. While each personae has its own poetic identity, together they convey a sense of ambivalence and consolidate a striving for completeness. Dramatic, lyrical, Christian, pagan, old and modern, Pessoa's poets and poetry contribute to the 'mysterious importance of existence'.
Fernando Pessoa was many writers in one. The Portuguese author attributed his work to literary alter egos that he called "heteronyms," each of which had a fully developed identity. When Pessoa died, he left behind a trunk filled with disorderly scraps of unpublished poems and unfinished works, among which was The Book of Disquiet. Published for the first time some fifty years after his death, this unique collection of short, aphoristic paragraphs comprises the "autobiography" of Bernardo Soares, one of Pessoa's alternate selves. Part intimate diary, part prose poetry, part descriptive narrative, captivatingly translated by Richard Zenith, The Book of Disquietis one of the greatest works of the twentieth century. Edited and Translated with an Introduction by Richard Zenith
Pessoa wrote a large number of poems in English, some of them in the guise of early heteronyms (such as Alexander Search and Charles Robert Anon) which prove to be fascinating precursors of the later, modernist work in Portuguese. While not the equal of the masterly Caeiro, Campos, Reis or Pessoa-himself, these poems deserve to be better known and at least available in the English-speaking world. Pessoa was educated in English in Durban, as the stepson of a Portuguese diplomat, and was completely bilingual. He translated several books from English for Portuguese publishing houses. The sometimes startlingly frank content of the earlier English poems - published privately in Lisbon - may well have prevented their wider dissemination in more prudish British circles. What is not so well-known is that Pessoa continued to write poetry in a bookish form of English throughout his life and this volume is an attempt to show the nature of that work to its originally intended audience - an anglophone readership.
Like Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce, Richard Zenith’s Pessoa immortalizes the life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. Eighty-five years after his wrenching death in a cramped Lisbon apartment, where he left more than 25,000 manuscript sheets in a wooden trunk, Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) remains one of the most enigmatic and underappreciated poets of the twentieth century. Celebrated for writing in dozens of different poetic voices, known as heteronyms, Pessoa has finally found his definitive biographer in renowned translator Richard Zenith. Setting the story of Pessoa’s life against the nationalistic currents of early twentieth-century European history, Zenith charts the depths of Pessoa’s explosive imagination and literary genius. Much as José Saramago brought one of Pessoa’s heteronyms to life in The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, Zenith traces the backstories of virtually all of Pessoa’s imagined personalities, demonstrating how they were projections, spin-offs, or metamorphoses of Pessoa himself. Nothing less than a literary masterpiece, Zenith’s monumental work confirms the power of Pessoa’s words to speak prophetically to the disconnectedness of modern life.
For many thousands of readers Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet is almost a way of life. Ironic, haunting and melancholy, this completely unclassifiable work is the masterpiece of one of the twentieth century's most enigmatic writers. Richard Zenith's Pessoa at last allows us to understand this extraordinary figure. Some eighty-five years after his premature death in Lisbon, where he left over 25,000 manuscript sheets in a wooden trunk, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) can now be celebrated as one of the great modern poets. Setting the story of his life against the nationalistic currents of European history, Zenith charts the heights of Pessoa's explosive imagination and literary genius. Much of Pessoa's charm and strangeness came from his writing under a variety of names that he used not only to conceal his identity but also to write in wildly varied styles with different imagined personalities. Zenith traces the back stories of virtually all of these invented others, called 'heteronyms', demonstrating how they were projections, spin-offs or metamorphoses of Pessoa himself. Zenith's monumental work confirms the power of Pessoa's words to speak prophetically to the disconnectedness of modern life. It is also a wonderful book about Lisbon, the city which Pessoa reinvented and through which his different selves wandered.