By Pessoa, Fernando; Lisboa, Eugénio; Taylor, Len Clive
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Additional info for A centenary Pessoa
The book is a gallery of historic and legendary personages, displaced from their traditional reality and transformed into allegories of another tradition and another reality. Perhaps without entire awareness of what he did, Pessoa vaporizes the history of Portugal and presents another in its place, one purely spiritual that is a negation of what it replaces. The esoteric nature of Mensagem prohibits us from reading it as a simple patriotic poem, as some official critics would like. It has to be added that its symbolism does not redeem it.
The astonishing thing is the appearance of the group, well ahead of its time and its society. What was being written in Spain and Latin America in those years? The following period is one of relative obscurity. Pessoa publishes two booklets of English poetry, 35 Sonnets and Antinous, which The Times and the Glasgow Herald review very courteously but without enthusiasm. In 1922 appears Pessoa’s first contribution to Contemporanea, a new literary magazine: ‘The Anarchist Banker’. From those years also date his political whims: eulogies of nationalism and of the authoritarian regime.
But this awkward exclusion, an embarrassment in everyday living, this disability that amounts at times to a disease, can prove a fertile dis-ease. Unable to integrate with the habitual, forbidden from happy absorption, unable to see evidence as evident and the obvious as obvious, gazing in always from outside, wondering about ‘facts’ and ‘things’ that others accept at once without question – such an affliction can lead to a productive amazement. It is this which permeates Pessoa’s work: nor do we need to find texts to prove it implicitly, for Pessoa himself draws our attention to his odd disease explicitly: for him, ‘poetry is astonishment, admiration, as of a thing fallen from the skies taking full consciousness of his fall, astonished by things’.
A centenary Pessoa by Pessoa, Fernando; Lisboa, Eugénio; Taylor, Len Clive
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