On the occasion of the 134th anniversary of the birth of Fernando Pessoa, born in Lisbon on June 13, 1888
Born in Lisbon on June 13, 1888 and educated in Durban, South Africa, Fernando Pessoa is one of the most intriguing literary personalities of the last century and one of the greatest poets in Portuguese. This year is also the 86th anniversary of his death in Lisbon in 1935.
As a prolific writer he created more than seventy different characters who had their different personalities and different ways of writing. They had an independent life, so Pessoa preferred to call them heteronyms rather than pseudonyms. One of these heteronyms was Álvaro de Campos, born in Tavira, Portugal, on October 15, 1890 where he had studied mechanical engineering and finally graduated in naval engineering in Glasgow. With this name Pessoa had published collections of poems in Portuguese, some of which were published in translation on this blog.
Under his own name, Pessoa wrote various poems and some of them in English and French. He proposed some collections of poems to publishers outside Portugal, but these were not well received. Curiously, probably because of Pessoa’s educational background, a reviewer of the Times Litreary Supplement commented that “the author’s mastery of English is less remarkable than his knowledge of Elizabethan English”.
From his collection “35 English Sonnets”, self-published by Pessoa in Lisbon in 1918, I have selected some poems and published them in this blog in the last two years, with original text in English in front and translations into Italian:
- As to a chid, I talked my heart asleep
- How can I think
- How many masks wear we, and undermasks
- If that apparent part of life’s delight
- Like to a ship
- Oh to be idle loving idleness
- Thy words are torture to me
- When I do think my meanest line
- When I should be asleep
- Whether we write or speak or do but look
Other poems published in Portuguese in loose form and directly signed as Fernando Pessoa, translated into English:
Poems published in Portuguese with the heteronymous Álvaro de Campos and translated into English and Italian:
Poems published in Portuguese with the henonym Alberto Caeiro and translated into English and Italian:
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