Pessoa 1888 - 1935 (47)

We worship perfection because we can't have it; if we had it, we would reject it. Perfection is inhuman, because humanity is imperfect.”


Love is

Love is essential.
Sex, mere accident.
Can be equal
Or different.
A man's not an animal:
Is a flesh intelligent,
Although sometimes ill.

Fernando Pessoa, ( Fernando Antonio Nogueira de Seabra Pessoa his full name, 1888 – 1935), was one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language; he was also a writer, literary critic, translator, publisher, and philosopher. He was born in Lisbon in June 13, 1888. At a young age, his father passed away, and he was compelled to accompany his mother in South Africa, as she had remarried a diplomat posted there. While in South Africa, Fernando attended an English school and immersed himself in English literature. At the age of 15, he enrolled at the University of Cape Town, where he excelled in the English language and received an award for his performance.

Two years later, he returned to Lisbon with the intention of studying literature. However, he eventually abandoned his studies and started working for various commercial enterprises in the city while maintaining his correspondence. Although he didn't earn much money, he had free time to pursue his writing. In 1924-1925, he served as the editor of the magazine "Athena" and also contributed to other influential publications of the time, such as "Orpheus," which was associated with the modernist movement.

Throughout his life, Pessoa published a book in Portuguese, several poems in English, and various literary and political articles. Following his death, an extensive collection of 27,500 manuscripts, comprising anecdotal material, was discovered in his nearby house. It took years to study and publish these works. Pessoa had created fictional identities, known as heteronyms, under which he signed many of his works. Some of these pseudonyms included Pessoa himself, as well as the personas of the teacher Alberto Cairo, the engineer Alvaro de Campo, the composer Ricardo Reis, and Bernardo Soares. While these four were the most productive, he used a total of 27 pseudonyms to sign his writings. In addition to poetry, Pessoa also wrote plays, detective stories, horror stories, and works of political theory, including the groundbreaking "The Anarchist Banker."

Pessoa led a solitary life, remaining unmarried. He initially lived with his aunt and later with his half-sister. In 1935, he was admitted to the hospital with renal colic and passed away on November 30. The day before his death, while in the hospital bed, he wrote his final sentence in English: "I know not what tomorrow will bring."

Octavio Paz, the poet, described Pessoa as follows: "An Anglophile, moody, noble, alienated, dressed in dark attire, aloof and intimate, a cosmopolitan who preaches nationalism, a meticulous investigator of trivial matters, a man of humor who never smiles and chills our blood, the creator of other poets and the destroyer of himself, the author of paradoxical speeches as pure and infinite as water: pretense equals self-knowledge. Mysterious as the midnight moon, a silent specter of Portuguese noon — who is Pessoa?"