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Fernando Pessoa: The Bilingual Portuguese Poet

Anne Terlinden

Section 2. Path to Self-Knowledge

Chapter 3. Poetry

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We know that Fernando Pessoa is fully aware that Life is nothing but "movement" and that a Full Knowledge of Truth will never be given to him. Despite that, our poet does not let himself fall into total discouragement; his main quality lies in the fact that our "soldier-poet" never gives up his ontological struggle.

This fight reflects an inner tension between feeling and thinking. Pessoa’s poetic intuition is soon followed by an intellectual frustration and a desperate struggle to make sense of himself and of the world around him. All his work turns on the mystery of existence, but he has no solution to offer. Man is surrounded by the Unknown, and even if there is a relationship of some kind between Man and the Universe, it is all unverifiable. Despite his obsessions and anxieties, Pessoa never kept silent and in fact he found his only glimpse of happiness in his poetry. Since Poetry is the voice of man’s deepest aspirations, the poet’s art cannot but be based on a coherent and perm...

© Presses de l’Université Saint-Louis, 1990

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