Imaginary poets in a real world (an unpublished lecture, 1996)

Pessoa Plural. 2016;(9):298-309 DOI 10.7301/Z0SJ1HSM


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Journal Title: Pessoa Plural

ISSN: 2212-4179 (Online)

Publisher: Brown University

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: French literature - Italian literature - Spanish literature - Portuguese literature

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: Spanish, English, Portuguese

Full-text formats available: PDF



Monteiro, George


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Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Delivered on Feb. 8, 1996, at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, this lecture was scheduled in conjunction with a Portuguese-government sponsored exhibition titled "Azulejo: Five Centuries of Portuguese Ceramic Tile." It served as an introduction for a general audience of non-specialists interested in learning about Fernando Pessoa's life and work. It surveys the basic facts of the poet's life: as a young student in English-language schools; his life in Lisbon; his theories and practices of heteronymism, including his account of the advent of those major heteronyms and their poems on March 8, 1914; his unsuccessful attempts to be recognized as a poet in the English tradition by having English-language poems printed in Lisbon but circulated only in the British isles. His peculiar triumph was that of a writer who, because he was bi-lingual and bi-cultural, was able to become a great Portuguese poet. As one critic, who is himself fluent in the English language and conversant with England's literary traditions, has put it, "[Pessoa] even 'reinvented' the Portuguese language, because he knew English."