Pessoa: An Experimental Life (Hardback)Richard Zenith (author)
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Magisterial and mesmeric, Zenith's definitive account of the life and work of the legendary Portuguese poet and author unravels many of the myths and mysteries about the great man in electrifying, eloquent prose.
For many thousands of readers Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet is almost a way of life. Ironic, haunting and melancholy, this completely unclassifiable work is the masterpiece of one of the twentieth century's most enigmatic writers.
Richard Zenith's Pessoa at last allows us to understand this extraordinary figure. 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.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 1088
Weight: 1401 g
Dimensions: 242 x 164 x 50 mm
'Even now, Fernando Pessoa remains, in the English-speaking world at least, one of the lesser-known of the truly great writers of the 20th century. This immense, magnificent biography by Richard Zenith is going to change that... here is a revelation: a modern master to rank alongside Joyce, Kafka, Beckett, say. Such a revolutionary literary discovery seems unlikely to be on offer again. It's that good.' - David Sexton, The Sunday Times
'Erudite, sensitive and entertaining, this multi-faceted portrait pays its giant homage to a man who wasn't there.' - Boyd Tonkin, The Financial Times
'A completely superb and magisterial life of Fernando Pessoa. Finally, this extraordinary poet gets the great biography he deserves. Unsurpassable.' - William Boyd
'A portrait with bags of personality ... Richard Zenith's massive biography of the Portuguese writer who constructed numerous identities captures his tragicomic oddity.' - Peter Conrad, The Observer
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