Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems

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9780802116284: Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems

Fernando Pessoa, the great Portuguese poet and prose writer, has become an icon not only in his native Portugal -- where his likeness once adorned a monetary note -- but also in France, where he is revered in much the same way that Whitman is here. Never before has such a comprehensive and beautifully translated edition of his poetry been available in English. Richard Zenith has taken three of Pessoa's major "heteronyms" (the poet's term for his numerous literary alter egos), as well as the poetry Pessoa wrote "as himself", and created a volume of extraordinary emotional depth and poetic precision. With an introduction that throws light on the work and on the elusive man himself, Fernando Pessoa & Co. is an important addition to world literature.

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From the Back Cover:

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) - who lived most of his life in Lisbon, Portugal, and who died in obscurity there - has in recent years gained inter-national recognition as a leading figure in international literature. Now, Richard Zenith collects in a single volume a generous selection of the major work of a man The Guardian has cited as "among the greatest poets of this century."

Fernando Pessoa was as much a creator of personas as he was of poetry, prose, and criticism. He wrote under numerous "heteronyms," literary alter egos with fully fleshed identities and writing styles, who supported and criticized each other's work in the margins of his drafts and in the literary journals of the time. Ranging widely over the possibilities of language, Pessoa's poetry echoes symbolist verse, Portuguese folk song, and futurist manifesto. From spare minimalism to a revolutionary exuberance that recalls Leaves of Grass, Pessoa's oeuvre was radically new and anticipated contemporary literary concerns to an unnerving degree. The first comprehensive edition of Pessoa's poetry in the English language, Fernando Pessoa & Co. is a work of extraordinary depth and poetic precision.

"His verse is as searing as that of Rilke or Mandelstam."-The New York Times Book Review

"Zenith's selection of Pessoa is a beautiful one-volume course in the soul of the twentieth century."-Booklist

"Remarkable . . . rife with kindred moments of surprising and paradoxical self-reflection . . . An arresting . . . body of work, punctuated with compact, discomfiting epiphanies. It is impossible to do justice to the power and range of the poems."-Newsday

"Portugal's greatest poet since Camons . . . Zenith not only edits wisely, he translates magnificently. . . . English readers can at long last appreciate the wide range of talent, craft, intellect, and poetic achievement present in Pessoa & Co."-Christopher Sawyer-Lauanno, The Boston Book Review

Fernando Pessoa was born in Lisbon and spent his adult life there, earning a modest living as a commercial translator. During his lifetime he published little of his vast body of work, most of which appeared posthumously. Richard Zenith's many translations include The Book of Disquietude, Pessoa's major prose work. He has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Portugese

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