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Fernando Pessoa


Fernando Pessoa was a poet and did not write a single novel. So what is he doing here? Though his book Livro do desassossego (The Book of Disquiet) is clearly not a novel, it is difficult to classify. There are other books here that clearly extend the definition of novel – think W G Sebald – and there is no doubt, as in other art forms, the definition of novel is changing and is going to continue to change. Because Pessoa is such an interesting person and because he did write an interesting prose work, he is here.

He was born in Lisbon in 1888. His father died of tuberculosis when he was five. When he was seven, he wrote his first poem and his mother married the Portuguese consul in Durban. Pessoa accompanied his mother to Durban. Growing up in Durban, Pessoa became fluent in English. He was reading the great English poets and started writing poetry in English. In 1902, the family returned to Lisbon but Pessoa soon returned to South Africa where he started studying at the University of the Cape of Good Hope. However, the following year he returned to Lisbon where he lived with an aunt. After a further trip to South Africa he returned to Lisbon and lived with his grandmother. When she died, she left him a small inheritance. He started working as a foreign correspondent. Meanwhile, he was writing poetry in English, Portuguese and French and adopting some of his many pseudonyms, complete with their own biographies, writing styles and characters. He continued to write poetry, much of which was published in magazines, as well as working at odd commercial jobs. Meanwhile, he was drinking heavily and this eventually killed him in 1935. His reputation has been mainly posthumous.

Other links

Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa and the multiple faces we show on the net
Pessoa’s Trunk
Fernando PessoaA man of many parts
Fernando Pessoa (in Portuguese)
Fernando Pessoa Obra Poética (in Portuguese)
MultiPessoa (in Portuguese)
Arquivo Pessoa (in Portuguese)


1918 35 sonnets
1918 Antinous
1921 English Poems I-II
1934 English Poems III
1942 Poesias de Fernando Pessoa
1944 Poesias de Álvaro de Campos
1945 Mensagem (Message)
1946 Poemas de Alberto Caeiro
1946 Odes de Ricardo Reis
1952 Poemas Dramáticos
1955 Poesias Inéditas de Fernando Pessoa (1930-1935)
1956 Poesias inéditas de Fernando Pessoa (1919-1935)
1965 Quadras ao Gosto Popular (Quatrains in the Popular Style)
1971 Fernando Pessoa I-IV
1973 Novas Poesias Inéditas
1974 Obras em prosa
1974 Poemas Ingleses
1974 Selected Poems
1976 Ficções do interlúdio
1976 The Ancient Rhythm
1982 Livro do desassossego (The Book of Disquiet; The Book of Disquietude)
1985 Fernando Pessoa: A Galaxy of Poets, 1888-1935
1986 Obra Poética de Fernando Pessoa
1986 O Guardador de Rebanhos (The Keeper of Sheep; Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person)
1986 Primeiro Fausto
1986 The Poems of Fernando Pessoa
1988 Always Astonished: Selected Prose
1988 Self-analysis and Thirty Other Poems
1988 O louco rabequista (The Mad Fiddler)
1992 Lisboa: o que o turista deve ver (Lisbon: What The Tourist Should See)
1995 A Centenary Pessoa
1996 Fernando Pessoa: Selected Poems
1998 Fernando Pessoa and Co: Selected Poems
1999 A educação do estóico (The Education Of The Stoic: The Only Manuscript of the Baron of Teive)
2001 The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa
2003 A Centenary Pessoa
2007 Selected English Poems
2006 A Little Larger than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems
2007 The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro
2008 Forever Someone Else: Selected Poems
2009 Collected Poems of Álvaro de Campos