literature meme — five poets [1/5]

Fernando Pessoa (1888 - 1935)

Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He also wrote in and translated from English and French.

His father, Joaquim de Seabra Pessoa, died of tuberculosis when Pessoa was young. At the age of five or six Pessoa began to address letters to an imaginary companion, named Le Chevalier de Pas, the precursor of his other imaginary figures. Maria Madalena Nogueira Pessoa, his mother, married the Portuguese consul in Durban in South Africa, where the family lived from 1896. During these years Pessoa became fluent in English and developed an early love for such authors as William Shakespeare and John Milton. He also composed his early poems in English. In a letter to the editor of the British Journal of Astrology, Pessoa confessed that English education had been a factor of supreme importance in his life. However, his best poems he wrote in Portuguese. Pessoa was educated in Cape Town.

He studied briefly at the University of Lisbon, and began to publish criticism, prose, and poetry soon thereafter while working as a commercial translator.

During his life, most of Pessoa’s considerable creative output appeared only in journals, and he published just three collections of poetry in English—Antinous (1918), Sonnets (1918), and English Poems (1921)—and one collection in Portuguese, Mensagem (1933).

In 1914, the year his first poem was published, Pessoa found the three main literary personas, or heteronyms, as he called them, which he would return to throughout his career: Alberto Caeiro, a rural, uneducated poet of great ideas who wrote in free verse; Ricardo Reis, a physician who composed formal odes influenced by Horace; and Álvaro de Campos, an adventurous London-based naval engineer influenced by poet Walt Whitman and the Italian Futurists. Pessoa published under his own name as well, but considered that work the product of an “orthonym,” another literary persona. While other notable writers of his generation used literary personas, such as Pound’s Mauberley and Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge, Pessoa alone gave his heteronyms a full life separate from his own, assigning and adopting in turn each persona’s psychology, aesthetics, and politics. Pessoa’s insistence on identity as a flexible, dynamic construction, and his consequent rejection of traditional notions of authorship and individuality, anticipated the concerns of the post-Modernist movement.

Later in life, Pessoa created the “semi-heteronym” Bernardo Soares, whose expansive, unbound fictional journal written over a period of 20 years (and assembled with little guidance after Pessoa’s death) became The Book of Disquiet, as well as philosopher and sociologist António Mora, essayist Baron of Teive, critic and Caeiro scholar Thomas Crosse and his brother/collaborator I.I. Crosse, poet Coelho Pacheco, astrologer Raphael Baldaya, and many others, for a total of at least 72 heteronyms.

Pessoa died in Lisbon in 1935 of cirrhosis of the liver [although that is being disputed nowadays], and only after his death did his work gain widespread publication and acclaim. In The Western Canon, critic Harold Bloom included Pessoa as one of just 26 writers responsible for establishing the parameters of western literature.

His last words were written in English, one day before his death: "I know not what tomorrow will bring."

[x] [x] [x]

(via allinablur:)

"My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddle strings and harps, drums and tambourines I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony."

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(via bookmania)

"I am the shipwreck of my own wanderings."

Fernando Pessoa

(via philo-sofia)

(Source: inmilkwood)

"I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me."

Fernando Pessoa

(via seabois)

"It’s so hard to describe what I feel when I feel I really exist and my soul is a real entity that I don’t know what human words could define it. I don’t know if I have a fever, as I feel I do, or if I’ve stopped having the fever of sleeping through life. Yes, I repeat, I’m like a traveller who suddenly finds himself in a strange town, without knowing how he got there, which makes me think of those people who lose their memory and for a long time are not themselves but someone else. I was someone else for a long time - since birth and consciousness - and suddenly I’ve woken up in the middle of a bridge, leaning over the river and knowing that I exist more solidly than the person I was up till now. But the city is unknown to me, the streets are new, and the trouble has no cure. And so, leaning over the bridge, I wait for the truth to go away and let me return to being fictitious and non-existent, intelligent and natural."

The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa

(via twinfawn)

(Source: radiumangel)

Favourite Writers:
Fernando Pessoa
My ideal would be to live everything through novels and to use real life for resting up - to read my emotions and to live my disdain of them. For someone with a keen and sensitive imagination, the adventures of a fictional protagonist are genuine emotion enough, and more, since they are experienced by us as well as the protagonist. No greater romantic adventure exists than to have loved Lady Macbeth with true and directly felt love. After a love like that, what can one do but take a rest, not loving anyone in the real world?
(via the-library-and-step-on-it:)

Favourite Writers:

Fernando Pessoa

My ideal would be to live everything through novels and to use real life for resting up - to read my emotions and to live my disdain of them. For someone with a keen and sensitive imagination, the adventures of a fictional protagonist are genuine emotion enough, and more, since they are experienced by us as well as the protagonist. No greater romantic adventure exists than to have loved Lady Macbeth with true and directly felt love. After a love like that, what can one do but take a rest, not loving anyone in the real world?

(via the-library-and-step-on-it:)

"The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are."

Fernando Pessoa

(via thesearchforsanctuary)

Fernando Pessoa strolling down Chiado Square (Lisbon), with his friend, journalist Augusto Ferreira Gomes
c. 1925
(via hinted-by-the-winter: / cafeparaacordarosmortos:)

Fernando Pessoa strolling down Chiado Square (Lisbon), with his friend, journalist Augusto Ferreira Gomes

c. 1925

(via hinted-by-the-winter: / cafeparaacordarosmortos:)

(Source: ttrincea)

"To kill our dream life would be to kill ourselves, to mutilate our soul. Dreaming is the one thing we have that’s really ours, invulnerably and inalterably ours."

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(via divine-despair)

"I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist. I’m the space between what I’d like to be and what others made of me. Just let me be at ease and all by myself in my room."

Fernando Pessoa 

(via usagai)

(Source: rabbitinthemoon)

"My humble attempt to say at least who I am, to record like a machine of nerves the slightest impressions of my subjective and ultra-sensitive life - this was all emptied like a bucket that got knocked over, and it poured across the ground like the water of everything. I fashioned myself out of false colours, and the result is an attic made out to be an empire. My heart, out of which I spun the great events of prose I lived, seems to me today - in these pages written long ago and reread now with a different soul - like a water pump on a homestead, instinctively installed and pressed into service. I shipwrecked on an unstormy sea where my feet could have touched bottom."

Fernando Pessoa - The Book of Disquiet

(via fernandopessoa-is-not-for-you)

(Source: )

"My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony."

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(via wattsthought)

"One of my constant preoccupations is to understand how other people can exist, how there can be souls that aren’t mine, consciousness that have nothing to do with my own, which - because it’s a consciousness - seems to me like the only one. I accept that the man standing before me, who speaks with words like mine and gesticulates as I do or could do, is in some sense my fellow creature. But so are figures from illustrations that fill my imagination, the characters I meet in novels, and the dramatic personae that move on stage through the actors who represent them.
No one, I suppose, genuinely admits the real existence of another person. We may concede that the person is alive and that he thinks and feels as we do, but there will always be an unnamed element of difference, a materialized inequality. There are figures from the past and living images from books that are more real to us than the incarnate indifferences that talk to us over shop counters, or happen to glance at us in the trams, or brush against us in the dead happenstance of the streets. Most people are no more for us than scenery, generally the invisible scenery of a street we know by heart."

The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa

(via this-new-romantic-way)

“It arrived, wrapped in brown paper. A Penguin Classics edition. The book stunned me with its beauty. Rabih was correct, of course: it was one of the great books of our times. I had not read anything quite like it before. It was like opening Joyce’s back door and finding another genius there in the garden. The Book of Disquiet. To try to describe it would be to diminish it.”

— Colum McCann, on Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet in The Millions

(via classicpenguin:)

"I’d woken up early, & I took a long time getting ready to exist."

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(via serialstranger)