Fernando Pessoa

I cultivate hatred of action like a greenhouse flower. I dissent from life and am proud of it.

No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it. Collective thought is stupid because it’s collective. Nothing passes into the realm of the collective without leaving at the border – like a toll – most of the intelligence it contained.

In youth we’re twofold. Our innate intelligence, which may be considerable, coexists with the stupidity of our inexperience, which forms a second, lesser intelligence. Only later on do the two unite. That’s why youth always blunders – not because of its inexperience, but because of its non-unity.

Today the only course left for the man of superior intelligence is abdication.

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6 Responses to Fernando Pessoa

  1. shinichi says:

    Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa

    by Fernando Pessoa

    The Book of Disquietude

    translated by Richard Zenith

    text 104

    No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it.

    (Não há nenhuma ideia inteligente que possa ganhar aceitação geral sem ser misturada antes com um pouco de estupidez.)

  2. shinichi says:

    Fernando Pessoa

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Pessoa

    Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (Portuguese: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃dw pɨˈsoɐ]; 13 June 1888 – 30 November 1935), commonly known as Fernando Pessoa, was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He also wrote in and translated from English and French.

    Pessoa was a prolific writer, and not only under his own name, for he dreamed up approximately seventy-five others. He did not call them pseudonyms because he felt that did not capture their true independent intellectual life and instead called them heteronyms. These imaginary figures sometimes held unpopular or extreme views.

    Early years in Durban

    Pessoa was born in Lisbon on 13 June 1888. When Pessoa was five, his father, Joaquim de Seabra Pessôa, died of tuberculosis and the following year, on 2 January, his younger brother Jorge, aged one, also died.

    After the second marriage of his mother, Maria Magdalena Pinheiro Nogueira, proxy wedding to João Miguel dos Santos Rosa, Fernando sailed with his mother for South Africa in the beginning of 1896, to join his stepfather, a military officer appointed Portuguese consul in Durban, capital of the former British Colony of Natal. Later on, in 1918, Pessoa wrote a letter in which refers:

    There is only one event in the past which has both the definiteness and the importance required for rectification by direction; this is my father’s death, which took place on 13th July, 1893. My mother’s second marriage (which took place on 30th December, 1895) is another date which I can give with preciseness and it is important for me, not in itself, but in one of its results – the circumstance that, my stepfather becoming Portuguese Consul in Durban (Natal), I was educated there, this English education being a factor of supreme importance in my life, and, whatever my fate be, indubitably shaping it.

    The dates of the voyages related to the above event are (as nearly as possible):

    1st. voyage to Africa – left Lisbon beginning January 1896.

    Return – left Durban in the afternoon of 1st. August 1901.

    2nd. voyage to Africa – left Lisbon about 20th. September 1902.

    Return – left Durban about 20th. August 1905.

    The young Pessoa received his early education at St. Joseph Convent School, a Catholic grammar school run by Irish and French nuns. He moved to the Durban High School in April 1899, becoming fluent in English and developing an appreciation for English literature. During the Matriculation Examination, held at the time by the University of the Cape of Good Hope (forerunner of the University of Cape Town), in November 1903 he was awarded the recently created Queen Victoria Memorial Prize for best paper in English. While preparing to enter university, he also attended the Durban Commercial High School during one year, in the evening shift.

    Meanwhile, Pessoa started writing short stories in English, some under the name of David Merrick, many of which he left unfinished.[2] At the age of sixteen, The Natal Mercury (edition of 6 July 1904) published his poem “Hillier did first usurp the realms of rhyme…”, under the name of C. R. Anon (anonymous), along with a brief introductory text: “I read with great amusement…”. In December, The Durban High School Magazine published his essay “Macaulay”. From February to June 1905, in the section “The Man in the Moon”, The Natal Mercury also published at least four sonnets by Fernando Pessoa: “Joseph Chamberlain”, “To England I”, “To England II” and “Liberty”. His poems often carried humorous versions of Anon as the author’s name. Pessoa started using pen names quite young. The first one, still in his childhood, was Chevalier de Pas, supposedly a French noble. In addition to Charles Robert Anon and David Merrick, the young writer also signed up, among other pen names, as Horace James Faber, Alexander Search, and other meaningful names.

    In the preface to The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa wrote about himself:

    Nothing had ever obliged him to do anything. He had spent his childhood alone. He never joined any group. He never pursued a course of study. He never belonged to a crowd. The circumstances of his life were marked by that strange but rather common phenomenon – perhaps, in fact, it’s true for all lives – of being tailored to the image and likeness of his instincts, which tended towards inertia and withdrawal.

    The young Pessoa was described by a schoolfellow as follows:

    I cannot tell you exactly how long I knew him, but the period during which I received most of my impressions of him was the whole of the year 1904 when we were at school together. How old he was at this time I don’t know, but judge him to have 15 or 16. […]

    He was pale and thin and appeared physically to be very imperfectly developed. He had a narrow and contracted chest and was inclined to stoop. He had a peculiar walk and some defect in his eyesight gave to his eyes also a peculiar appearance, the lids seemed to drop over the eyes. […]

    He was regarded as a brilliant clever boy as, in spite of the fact that he had not spoken English in his early years, he had learned it so rapidly and so well that he had a splendid style in that language. Although younger than his schoolfellows of the same class he appeared to have no difficulty in keeping up with and surpassing them in work. For one of his age, he thought much and deeply and in a letter to me once complained of “spiritual and material encumbrances of most especial adverseness”. […]

    He took no part in athletic sports of any kind and I think his spare time was spent on reading. We generally considered that he worked far too much and that he would ruin his health by so doing.

    Ten years after his arrival, he sailed for Lisbon via the Suez Canal on board the “Herzog”, leaving Durban for gor od at the age of seventeen. This journey inspired the poems “Opiário” (dedicated to his friend, the poet and writer Mário de Sá-Carneiro) published in March 1915, in Orpheu nr.1 and “Ode Marítima” (dedicated to the futurist painter Santa-Rita Pintor) published in June 1915, in Orpheu nr.2 by his heteronym Álvaro de Campos.

    Adult life in Lisbon

    While his family remained in South Africa, Pessoa returned to Lisbon in 1905 to study diplomacy. After a period of illness, and two years of poor results, a student strike against the dictatorship of Prime Minister João Franco put an end to his formal studies. Pessoa became an autodidact, a devoted reader who spent a lot of time at the library. In August 1907, he started working as a practitioner at R.G. Dun & Company, an American mercantile information agency (currently D&B, Dun & Bradstreet). His grandmother died in September and left him a small inheritance, which he spent on setting up his own publishing house, the “Empreza Ibis”. The venture was not successful and closed down in 1910, but the name ibis, the sacred bird of Ancient Egypt and inventor of the alphabet in Greek mythology, would remain an important symbolic reference for him.

    Pessoa returned to his uncompleted formal studies, complementing his British education with self-directed study of Portuguese culture. The pre-revolutionary atmosphere surrounding the assassination of King Charles I and Crown Prince Luís Filipe in 1908, and the patriotic outburst resulting from the successful republican revolution in 1910, influenced the development of the budding writer; as did his step-uncle, Henrique dos Santos Rosa, a poet and retired soldier, who introduced the young Pessoa to Portuguese poetry, notably the romantics and symbolists of the 19th century. In 1912, Fernando Pessoa entered the literary world with a critical essay, published in the cultural journal A Águia, which triggered one of the most important literary debates in the Portuguese intellectual world of the 20th century: the polemic regarding a super-Camões. In 1915 a group of artists and poets, including Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá-Carneiro and Almada Negreiros, created the literary magazine Orpheu, which introduced modernist literature to Portugal. Only two issues were published (Jan–Feb–Mar and Apr–May–Jun 1915), the third failed to appear due to funding difficulties. Lost for many years, this issue was finally recovered and published in 1984. Among other writers and poets, Orpheu published Pessoa, orthonym, and the modernist heteronym, Álvaro de Campos.

    Along with the artist Ruy Vaz, Pessoa also founded the art journal Athena (1924–25), in which he published verses under the heteronyms Alberto Caeiro and Ricardo Reis. Along with his profession, as free-lance commercial translator, Fernando Pessoa undertook intense activity as a writer, literary critic and political analyst, contributing to the journals and newspapers A Águia (1912–13), Teatro (1913), A Renascença (1914), O Jornal (1915), Orpheu (1915), Exílio (1916), Centauro (1916), Terra Nossa (1916), Portugal Futurista (1917), Acção (1919–20), Ressurreição (1920), Contemporânea (1922–26), Athena (1924–25), Diário de Lisboa (1924–35), Revista de Comércio e Contabilidade (1926), Sol (1926), O Imparcial (1927), Presença (1927–34), Notícias Ilustrado (1928–30), Girassol (1930), Revolução (1932), Descobrimento (1932), Fama (1932–33), Fradique (1934) and Sudoeste (1935).

    Pessoa the flâneur

    After his return to Portugal, when he was seventeen, Pessoa barely left his beloved city of Lisbon, which inspired the poems “Lisbon Revisited” (1923 and 1926), under the heteronym Álvaro de Campos. From 1905 to 1920, when his family returned from Pretoria after the death of his stepfather, he lived in fifteen different locations in the city, moving from one rented room to another depending on his fluctuating finances and personal troubles.

    Pessoa adopted the detached perspective of the flâneur Bernardo Soares, another of his heteronyms. This character was supposedly an accountant, working for Vasques, the boss of an office located in Douradores Street. Bernardo Soares also supposedly lived in the same downtown street, a world that Pessoa knew quite well due to his long career as freelance correspondence translator. In fact, from 1907 until his death in 1935, Pessoa worked in twenty-one firms located in Lisbon’s downtown, sometimes in two or three of them simultaneously. In The Book of Disquiet, Bernardo Soares describes some of those typical places and their “atmosphere”.

    A statue of Fernando Pessoa sitting at a table (below) can be seen outside A Brasileira, one of the preferred places of young writers and artists of Orpheu’s group during the 1910s. This coffeehouse, in the aristocratic district of Chiado, is quite close to Pessoa’s birthplace: 4, São Carlos Square (in front of the Opera House, where stands another statue of the writer), one of the most elegant neighborhoods of Lisbon. Later on, Pessoa was a frequent customer at Martinho da Arcada, a centennial coffeehouse in Comercio Square, surrounded by ministries, almost an “office” for his private business and literary concerns, where he used to meet friends in the 1920s and 1930s.

    In 1925, Pessoa wrote in English a guidebook to Lisbon but it remained unpublished until 1992.

    Literature and occultism

    Pessoa translated a number of Portuguese books into English. He also translated into Portuguese The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the short stories “The Theory and the Hound”, “The Roads We Take” and “Georgia’s Ruling” by O. Henry, and the poems “The Raven“, “Annabel Lee” and “Ulalume” by Edgar Allan Poe who, along with Walt Whitman, strongly influenced him. In addition, Pessoa translated into Portuguese a number of books by leading theosophists such as Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Besant.

    In 1912–14, while living with his aunt “Anica” and cousins, Pessoa took part in “semi-spiritualist sessions” that were carried out at home, but he was considered a “delaying element” by the other members of the session. Pessoa’s interest in spiritualism was truly awakened in the second half of 1915, while translating theosophist books. This was further deepened in the end of March 1916, when he suddenly started having experiences where he became a medium, which were revealed through automatic writing. On June 24, Pessoa wrote an impressive letter to his aunt and godmother, then living in Switzerland with her daughter and son in law, in which he describes this “mystery case” that surprised him.

    Besides automatic writing, Pessoa stated also that he had “astral” or “etherial visions” and was able to see “magnetic auras” similar to radiographic images. He felt “more curiosity than fear”, but was respectful towards this phenomenon and asked secrecy, because “there is no advantage, but many disadvantages” in speaking about this. Mediumship exerted a strong influence in Pessoa’s writings, who felt “sometimes suddenly being owned by something else” or having a “very curious sensation” in the right arm, which was “lifted into the air” without his will. Looking in the mirror, Pessoa saw several times what appeared to be the heteronyms: his “face fading out” and being replaced by the one of “a bearded man”, or another one, four men in total.

    Pessoa also developed a strong interest in astrology, becoming a competent astrologist. He elaborated more than 1,500 astrological charts, including well-known people like William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Robespierre, Napoleon I, Benito Mussolini, Wilhelm II, Leopold II of Belgium, Victor Emmanuel III, Alfonso XIII, or the Kings Sebastian and Charles of Portugal, and Salazar. In 1915, Pessoa created the heteronym Raphael Baldaya, an astrologist, and planned to write under his name “System of Astrology” and “Introduction to the Study of Occultism”. Pessoa established the pricing of his astrological services from 500 to 5,000 réis and made horoscopes of customers, friends and also himself and, astonishingly, of the heteronyms and also of journals as Orpheu.

    Born on June 13, Pessoa was native of Gemini and had Scorpio as rising sign. The characters of the main heteronyms were inspired by the four astral elements: air, fire, water and earth. It means that Pessoa and his heteronyms altogether comprised the full principles of ancient knowledge. Those heteronyms were designed according to their horoscopes, all including Mercury, the planet of literature. Astrology was part of his everyday life and Pessoa kept that interest until his death, which he was able to predict with a certain degree of accuracy.

    As a mysticist, Pessoa was an enthusiast of esotericism, occultism, hermetism, numerology and alchemy. Along with spiritualism and astrology, he also paid attention to neopaganism, theosophy, rosicrucianism and freemasonry, which strongly influenced his literary work. He has declared himself a Pagan, in the sense of an “intellectual mystic of the sad race of the Neoplatonists from Alexandria” and a believer in “the Gods, their agency and their real and materially superior existence”. His interest in occultism led Pessoa to correspond with Aleister Crowley and later helped him to elaborate a fake suicide, when Crowley visited Portugal in 1930. Pessoa translated Crowley’s poem “Hymn To Pan” into Portuguese, and the catalogue of Pessoa’s library shows that he possessed Crowley’s books Magick in Theory and Practice and Confessions. Pessoa also wrote on Crowley’s doctrine of Thelema in several fragments, including Moral.

    Pessoa’s declared about secret societies:

    I am also very interested in knowing whether a second edition is shortly to be expected of Athur Edward Waite’s The Secret Tradition in Freemasonery. I see that, in a note on page 14 of his Emblematic Freemasonery, published by you in 1925, he says, in respect of the earlier work: “A new and revised edition is in the forefront of my literary schemes.” For all I know, you may already have issued such an edition; if so, I have missed the reference in The Times Literary Supplement. Since I am writing on these subjects, I should like to put a question which perhaps you can reply to; but please do not do so if the reply involves any inconvenience. I believe The Occult Review was, or is, issued by yourselves; I have not seen any number for a long time. My question is in what issue of that publication – it was certainly a long while ago – an article was printed relating to the Roman Catholic Church as a Secret Society, or, alternatively, to a Secret Society within the Roman Catholic Church.

    Literary critic Martin Lüdke described Pessoa’s philosophy as a kind of pandeism, especially those writings under the heteronym Alberto Caeiro.

    Writing a lifetime

    In his early years, Pessoa was influenced by major English classic poets such as Shakespeare, Milton and Pope, or romantics like Shelley, Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Tennyson. After his return to Lisbon in 1905, Pessoa was influenced by French symbolists and decadentists Charles Baudelaire, Maurice Rollinat, Stéphane Mallarmé; mainly by Portuguese poets as Antero de Quental, Gomes Leal, Cesário Verde, António Nobre, Camilo Pessanha or Teixeira de Pascoaes. Later on, he was also influenced by modernists as W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, among many other writers.

    During World War I, Pessoa wrote to a number of British publishers, namely Constable & Co. Ltd. (currently Constable & Robinson), in order to print his collection of English verse The Mad Fiddler (unpublished during his lifetime), but it was refused. However, in 1920, the prestigious literary journal Athenaeum included one of those poems. Since the British publication failed, in 1918 Pessoa published in Lisbon two slim volumes of English verse: Antinous and 35 Sonnets, received by the British literary press without enthusiasm. Along with some friends, he founded another publishing house, Olisipo, which published in 1921 a further two English poetry volumes: English Poems I–II and English Poems III by Fernando Pessoa. In his publishing house, Olisipo, Pessoa issued also some books by his friends: A Invenção do Dia Claro (The invention of the clear day) by José de Almada Negreiros, Canções (Songs) by António Botto, and Sodoma Divinizada (Divinized Sodome) by Raul Leal (Henoch). Olisipo closed down in 1923, following the scandal known as “Literatura de Sodoma” (Literature of Sodome), which Pessoa started with his paper “António Botto e o Ideal Estético em Portugal” (António Botto and the aesthetical ideal in Portugal), published in the journal Contemporanea.

    Politically, Pessoa considered himself a “mystical nationalist” and, despite his monarchist sympathies, he didn’t favour the restoration of the monarchy. Pessoa described himself as conservative within the British tradition. He was an outspoken elitist and aligned himself against communism, socialism, fascism and Catholicism. He supported the military coups of 1917 and 1926, and wrote a pamphlet in 1928 supportive of the Military Dictatorship but after the establishment of the New State, in 1933, Pessoa became disenchanted with the regime and wrote critically of Salazar and fascism in general. In the beginning of 1935, Pessoa was banned by the Salazar regime, after he wrote in defense of Freemasonry.

    On 29 November 1935, Pessoa was taken to the Hospital de São Luís, suffering from abdominal pain and a high fever; there he wrote, in English, his last words: “I know not what tomorrow will bring.” He died the next day, 30 November 1935, around 8 pm, aged 47. His cause of death is commonly given as cirrhosis of the liver, due to alcoholism, though this is disputed: others attribute his death to pancreatitis (again from alcoholism), or other ailments.

    In his lifetime, he published four books in English and one alone in Portuguese: Mensagem (Message). However, he left a lifetime of unpublished, unfinished or just sketchy work in a domed, wooden trunk (25,574 manuscript and typed pages which have been housed in the Portuguese National Library since 1988). The heavy burden of editing this huge work is still in progress. In 1985 (fifty years after his death), Pessoa’s remains were moved to the Hieronymites Monastery, in Lisbon, where Vasco da Gama, Luís de Camões, and Alexandre Herculano are also buried. Pessoa’s portrait was on the 100-escudo banknote.

    Heteronyms

    Pessoa’s earliest heteronym, at the age of six, was Chevalier de Pas. Other childhood heteronyms included Dr. Pancrácio and David Merrick, followed by Charles Robert Anon, an English young man that became Pessoa’s alter ego. In 1905/7, when Pessoa was a student at the University of Lisbon, Alexander Search took the place of Anon. The main reason for this was that, although Search is English, he was born in Lisbon as his author. But Search represents a transition heteronym that Pessoa used while searching to adapt to the Portuguese cultural reality. After the republican revolution, in 1910, and consequent patriotic atmosphere, Pessoa created another alter ego, Álvaro de Campos, supposedly a Portuguese naval engineer, born in Tavira and graduated in Glasgow. Translator Richard Zenith notes that Pessoa eventually established at least seventy-two heteronyms. According to Pessoa himself, there were three main heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. The heteronyms possess distinct biographies, temperaments, philosophies, appearances, writing styles and even signatures.

    Pessoa wrote on the heteronyms:

    How do I write in the name of these three? Caeiro, through sheer and unexpected inspiration, without knowing or even suspecting that I’m going to write in his name. Ricardo Reis, after an abstract meditation, which suddenly takes concrete shape in an ode. Campos, when I feel a sudden impulse to write and don’t know what. (My semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares, who in many ways resembles Álvaro de Campos, always appears when I’m sleepy or drowsy, so that my qualities of inhibition and rational thought are suspended; his prose is an endless reverie. He’s a semi-heteronym because his personality, although not my own, doesn’t differ from my own but is a mere mutilation of it. He’s me without my rationalism and emotions. His prose is the same as mine, except for certain formal restraint that reason imposes on my own writing, and his Portuguese is exactly the same – whereas Caeiro writes bad Portuguese, Campos writes it reasonably well but with mistakes such as “me myself” instead of “I myself”, etc.., and Reis writes better than I, but with a purism I find excessive…).

  3. shinichi says:

    Fernando Pessoa, from the Introduction of
    The Book of Disquiet, tr. by Alfred Mac Adam.

    He looked about thirty, thin, rather above average height, exaggeratedly bent over when seated but less so when he stood up, dressed with a certain negligence, which was not entirely negligence. On his pale, uninteresting face an air of suffering did not stir interest, although it was difficult to define what kind of suffering that air — it seemed to suggest several kinds: privation, anguish, and a suffering born from the indifference of having suffered a great deal.

  4. shinichi says:

    フェルナンド・ペソア

    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/フェルナンド・ペソア

    フェルナンド・ペソア(Fernando António Nogueira de Seabra Pessoa、1888年6月13日 – 1935年11月30日)はポルトガル出身の詩人・作家。

    ポルトガルの国民的作家として著名である。1988年に発行された100エスクード紙幣に肖像が印刷されていた。

    リスボン生まれ。5歳のときに父親が結核で亡くなり、母親が南アフリカの領事と再婚したため、ダーバンに移る。ダーバンとケープタウンで英語による教育を受ける。17歳でポルトガルに戻り、リスボン大学で学ぶがのちに中退。祖母の遺産で出版社を興すが失敗し、貿易会社でビジネスレターを書くことで生計を立てた。

    1915年に詩誌「オルフェウ」創刊に参加。わずか2号に終わるものの、ポルトガルのモダニズム運動の中心となった。少数の理解者を除き生前はほぼ無名であったが、死後にトランクいっぱいの膨大な遺稿が発見され、脚光を浴びるようになった。

    日本語で読める作品
    ・ポルトガルの海―フェルナンド・ペソア詩選 (彩流社)
    ・ペソアと歩くリスボン (彩流社)
    ・不穏の書、断章 (思潮社)
    ・不安の書 (新思索社)

  5. shinichi says:

    Traduction 1 :

    Aucune idée intelligente ne peut être acceptée par la majorité à moins de contenir une imbécillité.

    Traduction 2 :

    Aucune idée brillante ne peut être mise en circulation sans qu’on y ajoute quelque élément de stupidité.

    En suite :

    La pensée collective est stupide parce qu’elle est collective : rien ne peut franchir les barrières du collectif sans y laisser, comme une dîme inévitable, la plus grande part de ce qu’elle peut comporter d’intelligent.

  6. shinichi says:

    私は温室の花のような行動への憎しみを育む。 私は人生に異議を唱え、そのことを誇りに思っている。

    何らかの愚かさが混じっていない限り、知的な考えが一般に受け入れられることはない。集合の思考は集団的であるがゆえに愚かだ。 集団の領域に入るとき、その境目で、ほとんどの知性の置いていかれる。

    若いとき、私たちには2つの要素がある。可能性に富んだ生まれながらの大きな知性と、経験不足から来る愚かさが作り出す小さな知性だ。年をとると、このふたつはひとつに結ばれる。若いときには、経験がないからではなく、ふたつの知性が結ばれていないから、なにをしても失敗するのだ。

    今日、優れた知性の人に残された唯一のコースは退くことです。

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