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Description de l’éditeur
For the first time―and in the best translation ever―the complete Book of Disquiet, a masterpiece beyond comparison
The Book of Disquiet is the Portuguese modernist master Fernando Pessoa’s greatest literary achievement. An “autobiography” or “diary” containing exquisite melancholy observations, aphorisms, and ruminations, this classic work grapples with all the eternal questions. Now, for the first time the texts are presented chronologically, in a complete English edition by master translator Margaret Jull Costa. Most of the texts in The Book of Disquiet are written under the semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares, an assistant bookkeeper. This existential masterpiece was first published in Portuguese in 1982, forty-seven years after Pessoa’s death. A monumental literary event, this exciting, new, complete edition spans Fernando Pessoa’s entire writing life.
Pessoa (1888-1935), identified by Barnard professor MacAdam as Portugal's major 20th-century writer, seems to have interpreted Whitman's statement ``I contain multitudes'' as an imperative; the gifted and perfectionist poet gave voice to a variety of selves, whom he named not with pseudonyms but with what he called heteronyms. The elegant volume here is the ``diary'' of ``Bernardo Soares,'' presented as a bookkeeper, like Pessoa, who is obsessed with the role and aim of literature and tries, therefore, to become ``like a character in a book, a read life.'' No plot orders the entries, nor is there any discernible progression. Instead, Pessoa speculates on the paradoxes of art (``Only when I'm disguised am I really myself''), at times mordantly (``To speak is to have too much consideration for others. Both fish and Oscar Wilde die because they can't keep their mouths shut''), at times quixotically (``Writing is like the drug I despise but take, the vice I loathe but practice''), nearly always aphoristically. Readers with a particular interest in modernism will find this work indispensable.