A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems

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9780143039556: A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems

This is the largest and richest volume of poetry by Pessoa available in English. It includes generous selections from the three poetic alter egos that the Portuguese writer dubbed "heteronyms" - Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos - and from the vast and varied work he wrote under his own name.

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About the Author:

Fernando Pessoa was born in Lisbon in 1888 and was brought up in Durban, South Africa. In 1905 he returned to Lisbon where he matriculated at the University, and continued to read and write in English. He published in 1918 35 Sonnets and in 1922 the three parts of his English Poems, all composed many years before. The rest of his life passed uneventfully in Lisbon. The only book published in his lifetime was Mensagem, a collection of poems on patriotic themes which won a consolation prize in a national competition. Pessoa also wrote under three pseudonyms, Alberto Caeiro, Alvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis, whose biographies he invented. Richard Zenith lives in Lisbon, where he works as a freelance writer, translator, and critic. His translations include Galician-Portuguese troubadour poetry, novels by Antonio Lobo Antunes, Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, and Fernando Pessoa and Co - Selected Poems, which won the 1999 American PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Eight years ago, Fernando Pessoa & Co., a 300-page volume of Richard Zenith's translations of Portugal's great modernist poet, was one of the events of the year in poetry. Fortunately, Pessoa (1888-1935) was so prolific that only four short poems reappear in Zenith's new 100-pages-longer selection. To further prove himself no slouch, Zenith has written a new introductory essay for this book, explaining again Pessoa's partition of his poetry-writing consciousness into four distinct personae: Alberto Caeiro, a pastoral poet who died young; Caeiro's disparate disciples, stoic, classical Ricardo Reis and ebullient bisexual engineer and Whitman apostle, Alvaro de Campos; and the nostalgic "Fernando Pessoa--himself," as Zenith denominates the persona that bears Pessoa's name. There were additional "heteronyms," as Pessoa called his noms de plume, including some that wrote poems in English (which Pessoa learned as a boy in South Africa) and the bookkeeper who penned the prose work, The Book of Disquiet; Pessoa created biographies for them all. All four of Pessoa's principal Portuguese poet-personalities are obsessed with time, which apparently flows but is physically apprehensible only as an elusive point. Each wrote quite differently from the others, and as Zenith renders them, all wrote brilliantly. Particularly entertaining in this book are de Campos' lengthy odes, which are both moving tributes to and hilarious parodies of Whitman. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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