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Fernando Pessoa: The Bilingual Portuguese Poet

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Anne Terlinden

Part II. The Mad Fiddler

Chapter 2. Symbolist and Post-Symbolist Tendencies in The Mad Fiddler

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Up to this point we have focused our attention on the English mask of Fernando Pessoa, which we have also tried to "measure" against Pessoa’s work in Portuguese. An evaluation of The Mad Fiddler asks for a short study of its literary roots. We know that this collection was written around the time that saw the revolutionary outburst of Orpheu.. Pessoa’s interest in new trends in Modern Art was in part connected with modernist dynamics in the French literature of the period. Unlike some of his Portuguese contemporaries, Pessoa had the advantage of knowing French, which enabled him to open his critical mind to the profound changes that were occuring during the last part of the XIXth and the beginning of the XXth Centuries.

In addition to Portuguese and English, French was part of the cultural background Pessoa inherited from his family. His knowledge of this language was rather extensive, but it never overshadowed his knowledge and love of English. Nevertheless, it did give Pessoa some ...

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