Fernando Pessoa

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Fernando Pessoa
photographed in 1914
photographed in 1914
Born(1888-06-13)June 13, 1888
Lisbon, Portugal
DiedNovember 30, 1935(1935-11-30) (aged 47)
Lisbon, Portugal
OccupationPoet, writer and translator
LanguagePortuguese, English (bilingual)
Notable awards
  • Queen Victoria Prize (1903)
  • Antero de Quental Award (1934)


Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (Lisbon, 13 June 1888 - Lisbon, 30 November 1935), also known as Fernando Pessoa, was a Portuguese poet and writer.

Pessoa is considered one of the greatest Portuguese poets. He has been compared to Luís Vaz de Camões.[1]

He was born in Lisbon. His father and younger brother died when he was five years old. When he was seven, he moved with his mother to Durban, South Africa. His writing would be influenced by the English language which he learned there. He lived there until he was seventeen.[2][3]

Pessoa wrote poems and other things as if they were written by persons who are not himself in any way. Each person had his own life story, physical qualities, relationship to the others, poetic voice, and point of view.[1][3] These are called "heteronyms." Pessoa invented at least 72 of these other persons. His three main poets, for example, are described like this: "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."[2]

Pessoa died of liver disease at age 47 in Lisbon.[2] His last written words were in English: "I know not what tomorrow will bring".[3]

Works[change | change source]

  • Antinous: a poem, Lisbon: Monteiro & Co., 1918.
  • 35 Sonnets, Lisbon: Monteiro & Co., 1918.
  • English Poems, Lisbon: Olisipo, 1921.
  • Selected Poems, tr. Edwin Honig, Swallow Press, 1971.
  • Selected Poems, tr. Peter Rickard, University of Texas Press, 1972.
  • The Book of Disquiet, (first published in Portugese in 1982; see below).
  • Always Astonished: Selected Prose, tr. Edwin Honig, San Francisco, USA: City Lights Books, 1988.
  • Fernando Pessoa: Self-Analysis and Thirty Other Poems, tr. George Monteiro, Gavea-Brown Publications, 1989.
  • Message, tr. Jonathan Griffin, Menard Press, 1992.
  • The anarchist banker and other Portuguese stories, Carcanet Press, 1996.
  • The Keeper of Sheep, tr. Edwin Honig & Susan M. Brown, Sheep Meadow, 1997.
  • Poems of Fernando Pessoa, tr. Edwin Honig & Susan Brown, San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1998.
  • Fernando Pessoa & Co: Selected Poems, tr. Richard Zenith, Grove Press, 1999.
  • Selected Poems: with New Supplement, tr. Jonathan Griffin, Penguin Classics; 2nd edition, 2000.
  • The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa ,tr. by Richard Zenith, New York, USA: Grove Press, 2001.
  • Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person: A Translation of Alberto Caeiro/Fernando Pessoa, tr. Erin Moure, House of Anansi, 2001.
  • The Education of the Stoic, tr. Richard Zenith, Exact Change, 2004.
  • A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems, tr. Richard Zenith, Penguin Classics, 2006.
  • A Centenary Pessoa, tr. Keith Bosley & L. C. Taylor, Carcanet Press, 2006.
  • Selected English Poems, Exeter, UK: Shearsman Books, 2007.
  • The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro, tr. Chris Daniels, Exeter, UK: Shearsman Books, 2007.
  • Collected Later Poems of Álvaro de Campos, 1928–1935 tr. Chris Daniels, Exeter, UK: Shearsman Books, 2009.
  • Forever Someone Else: Selected poems, tr. Richard Zenith, Lisbon, Portugal: Assírio & Alvim, 2010.
  • Philosophical Essays: A Critical Edition, New York: Contra Mundum Press, 2012.
  • The Transformation Book—or Book of Tasks, New York: Contra Mundum Press, 2014.
  • The Complete Works of Alberto Caeiro, tr. Margaret Jull Costa and Patricio Ferrari. New Directions, 2020.
  • The Complete Works of Álvaro de Campos, tr. Patricio Ferrari and Margaret Jull Costa. New Directions, 2023.

The Book of Disquiet in English[change | change source]

  • The Book of Disquiet, tr. Alfred Mac Adam (New York: Pantheon Books, 1991.)
  • The Book of Disquiet, tr. Margaret Jull Costa (London, New York: Serpent's Tail, 1991.)
  • The Book of Disquiet, tr. Richard Zenith (London: Allen Lane, 2001.)
  • The Book of Disquiet: A Selection, tr. Iain Watson (London: Quartet Books, 1991.)
  • The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition, tr. Margaret Jull Costa (New York: New Directions, 2017.)
  • The Book of Disquietude, tr. Richard Zenith (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1991.)

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Zenith, Richard (1993). "Fernando Pessoa and the Theatre of His Self". Performing Arts Journal. 15 (2): 47–49. doi:10.2307/3245710. ISSN 0735-8393.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Fernando Pessoa". Poetry Foundation. 2023-03-05. Retrieved 2023-03-05.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Fernando Pessoa & His Heteronyms". Poetry Society of America. Retrieved 2023-03-05.