George Steiner

The fragmentary, the incomplete is of the essence of Pessoa’s spirit. The very kaleidoscope of voices within him, the breadth of his culture, the catholicity of his ironic sympathies – wonderfully echoed in Saramago’s great novel about Ricardo Reis – inhibited the monumentalities, the self-satisfaction of completion. Hence the vast torso of Pessoa’s Faust on which he laboured much of his life. Hence the fragmentary condition of The Book of Disquiet which contains material that predates 1913 and which Pessoa left open-ended at his death. As Adorno famously said, the finished work is, in our times and climate of anguish, a lie.
It was to Bernardo Soares that Pessoa ascribed his Book of Disquiet, first made available in English in a briefer version by Richard Zenith in 1991. The translation is at once penetrating and delicately observant of Pessoa’s astute melancholy. What is this Livro do Desassossego? Neither ‘commonplace book’, nor ‘sketchbook’, nor ‘florilegium’ will do. Imagine a fusion of Coleridge‘s notebooks and marginalia, of Valery’s philosophic diary and of Robert Musil’s voluminous journal. Yet even such a hybrid does not correspond to the singularity of Pessoa’s chronicle. Nor do we know what parts thereof, if any, he ever intended for publication in some revised format.

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2 Responses to George Steiner

  1. shinichi says:

    George Steiner on The Book Of Disquiet

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    The Book of Disquiet

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

    The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa) is a work by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Published posthumously, The Book of Disquiet is a fragmentary lifetime project, left unedited by the author, who introduced it as a “factless autobiography.” The publication was credited to Bernardo Soares, one of the author’s alternate writing names which he called a semi-heteronym, and had a preface attributed to Fernando Pessoa, another alternate writing name or orthonym.

  2. shinichi says:

    不安の書

    by フェルナンド ペソア

    https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4783511969

    終生、リスボンの貿易会社の仕事にたずさわりながら、もっとも先鋭的な作品をのこしたフェルナンド・ペソアは、生前ごく少数の理解者を得たにとどまり、1935年、ほとんど無名のまま47歳の生涯を終えた。没後、膨大な遺稿が徐々に刊行されるに及んで、その現代性が高く評価され、ペソアは20世紀前半の代表的な詩人のひとりと目されるようになった。1982年に刊行された『不安の書』は、ヨーロッパの各国語に翻訳され、今なお多くの読者を魅了してやまない。存在の不安、自己のアイデンティティの危うさ、生の倦怠、夢と現実の対立と交錯が、リスボン在住の帳簿係補佐の手記という形式を借りて語られた。現代世界文学の傑作とされる。

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