By Pessoa, Fernando; Lisboa, Eugénio; Taylor, Len Clive
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Extra info for A centenary Pessoa
Educated at a Jesuit College, a physician by profession, a monarchist, exiled to Brazil since 1919, pagan and sceptic by conviction, Latinist by education, Reis lives outside time. He seems, but is not, a man of the past: he has chosen to live in a timeless sagesse. Cioran recently pointed out that our century, which has invented so many things, has not created the one thing we most lack. It is not surprising therefore that some seek it in the Eastern tradition: Taoism, Zen Buddhism; in fact those doctrines fulfil the same function as the moral philosophies of the end of the ancient world.
Exile is deprivation…’. Fernando Pessoa felt that ‘sense of banishment’ all the time, and in every kind of human experience. But if exile is deprivation, it may also be a bizarre form of wealth, to the extent that it makes a mind powerfully inquisitive and subversively creative. Such was the case with Pessoa, as the poetry and prose in this collection will show. 1 The Western Canon by Harold Bloom. Harcourt Bruce, New York 1994; Macmillan, London 1995. Bloom describes his ‘canonical’ authors as ‘authoritative in our culture’ and ‘selected both for their sublimity and their representative nature’.
Casais Monteiro answered such critics in these terms: ‘The work of Pessoa really is a negative work. It does not serve as a model, it teaches neither to govern nor to be governed. ’ Campos does not set out, like Caeiro, to be everything but to be everyone and to be in all places. The fall into plurality is paid for by the loss of identity. Ricardo Reis chooses the other possibility latent in his master’s work3. Reis is a recluse as Campos is a vagabond. His hermitage is a philosophy and a form.