Some eighty-five years after his premature death in Lisbon, where he left over 25,000 manuscript sheets in a wooden trunk, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) can now be celebrated as one of the great modern poets. Setting the story of his life against the nationalistic currents of European history, Zenith charts the heights of Pessoa's explosive imagination and literary genius. Much of Pessoa's charm and strangeness came from his writing under a variety of names that he used not only to conceal his identity but also to write in wildly varied styles with different imagined personalities.
Zenith traces the back stories of virtually all of these invented others, called 'heteronyms', demonstrating how they were projections, spin-offs or metamorphoses of Pessoa himself. Zenith's monumental work confirms the power of Pessoa's words to speak prophetically to the disconnectedness of modern life. It is also a wonderful book about Lisbon, the city which Pessoa reinvented and through which his different selves wandered.
|25 Aug 2022