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The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa Paperback – 19 Jul 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (19 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802139140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802139146
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was born in Lisbon and raised in South Africa. After returning to Lisbon to study, he made a living as a translator and wrote obsessively in English, French, and Portuguese. While acknowledged as an intellectual and a poet, his literary genius went largely unrecognized until after his death.

Richard Zenith lived in Brazil and France before immigrating to Portugal in 1987. He has translated the poetry of Luis de Camoes, Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, and Joao Cabral de Melo Neto.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book because it advocates radical creative freedom. What I did not enjoy was the nearly constant drumbeat of the author's post-modern approach. I know that the text cannot be used to express extra-textual truths. But it becomes rather tedious unless an author is allowed to pretend that he/she can.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ef1f204) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ef3ba50) out of 5 stars Notes of a genius 8 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is full of genius and madness, which are nearly indistinguishable from one another. Like Kafka, Pessoa stands above his peers for his profound sense of humanity. He is also as singular as Kafka. Pessoa is a mystery, and his notes and letters further illustrate this. I am sorry that he died before the world would honor him as one of the Twentieth Century's greatest writers. However, Pessoa was well aware of his genius and the admiration of the world would have done nothing to convince him of his worth. He was already convinced!
Pessoa published little during his lifetime, but it was because he never submitted much of his work for publication. Apparetnly, the Portugese publishers still haven't published all of his works, either, and that is a shame.
One thing that stands out about this book is that Pessoa does not engage in any of the posturing that one might find in the works of other writers convinced of their genius. One senses that Pessoa considers his genius not in boast, but as if it were as unavoidable as his own face. It is fact to him; he cannot change it. His is a sad genius, not a violent genius. But do not pity him; he knew what he was doing. Pessoa was a man who knew what it meant to be a writer (that is, a perpetual other, an individual who can describe the world because he stands apart from it).
Pessoa is a wonder. Buy this book. I only wish it were the "Collected Prose" of Pessoa rather than the "Selected Prose."
One more note, if you are interested in Portugese literature you must read Anotnio Lobo Antunes, also published by Grove Press. A few of his works have been also translated by Richard Zenith (to whom I am grateful for his translations). If you like madness, madness in the Faulknerian sense, then you will love Lobo Antunes.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f682dbc) out of 5 stars An indispensable addition to the Pessoa oeuvre in English 23 Aug. 2001
By Jonathan Rimorin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Zenith is my favourite translator of Pessoa; in this collection, he brings the insight and perspective he brought to his transcendant "Pessoa & Co." and "Book of Disquietude." The puckish nature of Pessoa's heteronym project is put into sharp relief: those who know only Pessoa/Soares may have thought the subsumption into heteronymology a sad affaire.

This collection complicates and deepens that perspective, with selections ranging from the whole of Pessoa's life, from the childhood Alexander Search to the elderly and Stoic Baron of Tieve, yet remains (as Pessoa remains) wholly delightful and charming. A Maria José even appears, in a letter "From A Hunchbacked Girl To A Metalworker" (a heartbreaking letter, I may add). Pessoa's possibly affected eccentricities are in full evidence here: witness the "Riddle Of The Stars," a kind of proto-"Changing Light At Sandover," wherein Pessoa receives otherworldly communiqués via automatic writing and the spirits exhort him repeatedly to lose his virginity. Other kicks: his "static drama" "O Marinhero" and Alvaro de Campos' "Ultimatum," where he personally attacks everyone responsible for World War I (and I mean, _everyone_).

Zenith's notes are indispensable (though he peculiarly abandons his "Disquietude" for "Disquiet," and chooses American English as his idiom). All in all, a welcome addition to the Pessoan archive in English, and a breathtaking array of further complications.
HASH(0x8f687bd0) out of 5 stars Recommend, very obscure yet one of the best international ... 17 July 2016
By Kayla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recommend,very obscure yet one of the best international writters, he took several alias while writing books and this one is quite impressive since there arent many translated from portuguese to english.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f687bac) out of 5 stars Uneven but essential 18 Nov. 2013
By David A. Kaempf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An uneven collection but to be expected with how Pessoa wrote. At its worst, maudlin and self-pitying but at its best (The Book of Disquiet), it is essential reading. Get the full text.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f689354) out of 5 stars this Zenith translation is the best in English tbh 15 Aug. 2014
By .gaf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you can't read Pessoa in the original, this Zenith translation is the best in English tbh. Not sure what the rationale was for ordering the fragments, since it certainly wasn't chronological, but it works.
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