The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

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By Fernando Pessoa, Richard Zenith (Editor), Richard Zenith (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

Pessoa is in my top three favorite poets of all time. Though much of his work was written by three separate 'Heteronyms', characters he invented to write in different styles depending on their stature in life (the word was also invented by Pessoa). The Book of Disquiet was written by another of these 'selves' though this one had been hidden in a trunk until it was discovered after his death. Maybe it is my life as a bookseller that relates to Disquiet so much, or my becoming entrenched in Pessoa's work when I was at University. Or maybe because a "Factless Autobiography" is what life seems like a lot of the time. Either way this book speaks to me, and will speak to you, in a way few books can.

-- Nick

— From Nick B. Staff Picks


The prizewinning translation---the best English-language version we are likely to see for a long time, if ever- (The Guardian)--of a work of unclassifiable genius: the crowning achievement of Portugal's modern master

Winner of the Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Prize for Portuguese Translation

Fernando Pessoa was many writers in one. He attributed his prolific writings to a wide range of alternate selves, each of which had a distinct biography, ideology, and horoscope. When he died in 1935, Pessoa left behind a trunk filled with unfinished and unpublished writings, among which were the remarkable pages that make up his posthumous masterpiece, The Book of Disquiet, an astonishing work that, in George Steiner's words, -gives to Lisbon the haunting spell of Joyce's Dublin or Kafka's Prague.-
Published for the first time some fifty years after his death, this unique collection of short, aphoristic paragraphs comprises the -autobiography- of Bernardo Soares, one of Pessoa's alternate selves. Part intimate diary, part prose poetry, part descriptive narrative, captivatingly translated by Richard Zenith, The Book of Disquiet is one of the greatest works of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was born in Lisbon and brought up in Durban, South Africa. He returned to Lisbon in 1905. A prolific writer, ascribing his work to a variety of personas or heteronyms, Pessoa published little in his lifetime and supported himself by working as a commercial translator. Although acknowledged as an intellectual and a poet, his literary genius went largely unrecognized until after his death. Richard Zenith (editor, translator) lives in Lisbon, where he works as a freelance writer, translator, and critic. His translations include Galician-Portuguese troubadour poetry; novels by Antonio Lobo Antunes; Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet; Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems, which won the 1999 American PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; and Education by Stone: Selected Poems, which won the Academy of American Poets' Harold Morton Landon Translation Award in 2006. In 2012, he was awarded Portugal's Pessoa Prize.

Praise For…

“This superb edition of The Book of Disquiet is . . . a masterpiece.”  —John Lanchester, The Daily Telegraph

“Pessoa’s rapid prose, snatched in flight and restlessly suggestive, remains haunting, often startling. . . . There is nobody like him.” —W. S. Merwin, The New York Review of Books

“Extraordinary . . . a haunting mosaic of dreams, autobiographical vignettes, shards of literary theory and criticism and maxims.” —George Steiner, The Observer

"I plan to use this book every year in my course at Yale.  Thanks for making it available." —K. David Jackson, Yale University


Product Details
ISBN: 9780141183046
ISBN-10: 0141183047
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: December 31st, 2002
Pages: 544
Language: English
Series: Penguin Classics