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The Book of Disquietude
Translated by Richard Zenith
Categories: 20th Century, Portuguese
Imprint: Aspects of Portugal
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (320 pages)
(Pub. Jan 1997)
Anglomaniac, myopic, courteous, evasive, dressed darkly, reticent and agreeable, a cosmopolitan who preaches nationalism, 'solemn investigator of futile things', humorist who never smiles but chills our blood, inventor of other poets and destroyer of himself, author of paradoxes as clear as water and, as water, dizzying: 'to pretend is to know yourself', mysterious man who does not cultivate mystery, mysterious as the mid-day moon, taciturn phantom of the Portuguese mid-day-who is Pessoa?
The Book of Disquietude is the 'factless autobiography' of Bernardo Soares, one of the 72 literary personae with which Fernando Pessoa created the theatre of himself. Conceived in 1916, Soares is, Pessoa declares, 'a mutilation' of his own personality.
This is the first, and only complete, English edition. Other versions are abridgements. The translator and scholar Richard Zenith includes all the 'fragments' which made up the 1982 edition, 48 additional fragments and some from the Pessoa archive never previously published. He provides a full introduction and notes.
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