Although Fernando Pessoa wrote more than 2,000 poems in three languages (English, Portuguese, and French), he only published a small fraction during his brief lifetime.
35 of his sonnets are collected in this volume.
He established his poetic reputation only towards the end of his life.
Contact with English literature formed Pessoa’s early intellectual foundation with Milton, Shakespeare, the Elizabethans, Romantics and the Victorians, read in the colonial setting of Durban High School in British South Africa, where a literary education was considered essential for the development of a Victorian gentleman.
One finds intensely dramatic self-analysis in this poetry—with a voluptuous tone in the persona of a romantic wanderer on a quest for knowledge.
Pessoa’s trademark skepticism lies in doubts about the impossibility of knowing anything about the nature of existence and reality—accompanied by self-doubts as to whether the author will ever fulfill his frightening literary potential under the burden of an almost perverse and hyperactive imagination.
Today Pessoa is one of the most celebrated poets of the past century.
It was in Portuguese that Pessoa was an innovator, bringing to that language poetic rhythms absorbed in his beloved English tongue.
FERNANDO PESSOA (1888–1935), was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language.