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The Fernando Pessoa Underground

This website was named for The Book of Disquiet (or Livro do Desassossego) by the late Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). There’s a somewhat hidden sub-site on Disquiet.com about Pessoa, viewable at disquiet.com/pessoa. It contains three sections: (1) an experiment in using multiple windows to compare 13-plus translations of a single Pessoa poem, “Autopsicografia”; (2) an experiment in using color to compare three translations of an excerpt from The Book of Disquiet; and (3) a list of Pessoa-related spots on the Internet.

Pessoa’s axiom “Mute, because overheard” has been a touchstone for this website since it began, as has this excerpt from Desassossego, here translated by Richard Zenith:

Everything stated or expressed by man is a note in the margin of a completely erased text.

From what’s in the note we can extract the gist of what must have been in the text, but there’s always a doubt, and the possible meanings are many.

I’m adding this post, because the Pessoa sub-site isn’t itself searchable in this newly revised version of Disquiet.com. Now, at least, this post (along with a few other pages) will come up in search results.

This, by the way, is the original Desassossego text that Zenith translated:

Tudo quanto o homem expõe ou exprime é uma nota à margem de um texto apagado de todo.

Mais ou menos, pelo sentido da nota, tiramos o sentido que havia de ser o do texto; mas fica sempre uma dúvida, e os sentidos possíveis são muitos.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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