Oscar Wilde, Fernando Pessoa, and the art of lying.
Much of Pessoa's writing, including some of his best-known poems, are clearly influenced by his predecessor's artistic ideals. This article demonstrates that, far from this influence being a mere consequence of the wider influence Wilde enjoyed over the Modernist generation as a whole, in the case of Pessoa--particularly in the context of lying in art--it is both traceable and direct. It outlines the main points of contact between the two writers, and goes on to examine the psychological reasons behind Pessoa's urgent efforts to forge a greater distance between himself and Wilde than in reality exists. Pessoa everywhere attempts to escape the anxiety of Wilde's influence by claiming that the aesthete was nowhere a model, despite quite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Keywords. Pessoa; Wilde; art; lying; sincerity; posing; masks; artist; Alvaro de Campos; distancing; influence
Resumo. E evidente que Fernando Pessoa se sentia fascinado--se nao mesmo obcecado--pela figura de Oscar Wilde. No seu espolio existem pelo menos trinta e sete fragmentos manuscritos sobre Wilde, incluindo dois horoscopos comparados de ambos. Na biblioteca de Pessoa figuram sete livros escritos por Wilde ou relacionados com a sua historia, todos eles profusamente anotados pelo Poeta, provando uma leitura minuciosa e atenta.
Muitos textos de Fernando Pessoa, incluindo alguns dos seus poemas mais conhecidos, reflectem claramente a influencia das teorias esteticas de Oscar Wilde. Este artigo comeca por demonstrar que, para alem da influencia generica que Wilde exerceu sobre a geracao Modernista, no caso de Pessoa tal influencia e detectavel e directa, especialmente no que se refere ao conceito de fingimento em arte. Demonstram-se os principais pontos de contacto entre os dois escritores, e estudam-se, a seguir, as razoes que podem ter levado Pessoa a procurar distanciar-se de Wilde nos seus escritos. Esforcando-se continuamente por se libertar da influencia de Wilde, Pessoa proclama que o Esteta nunca foi para ele um modelo--mas todas as provas que nos deixou nos seus escritos apontam em sentido contrario.
Palavras-Chave. Pessoa; Wilde; arte; mentira; sinceridade; imagem; mascaras; Alvaro de Campos; distanciamento; influencia
'In so far, however, as I am compared to Wilde, I object to the comparison, which is insulting because it is false'. (1)
When one considers how few critics have ever compared Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) to Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), his anxiety on the matter is remarkable. In Pessoa's numerous fragmentary writings on Wilde he continually attempts to distance himself from the aesthete on both a literary and a personal level.
Despite his efforts to convince us of the contrary, however, there is ample evidence that Pessoa was fascinated by Wilde. He owned no fewer than four of his books: De Profundis and the Ballad of Reading Gaol (containing a preface by Robert Ross), The Poems of Oscar Wilde, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Prose Pieces and Le Portrait de Monsieur W. H., an edition of prose pieces previously unpublished in French comprising translations of 'The Portrait of Mr. W. H.', 'The Canterville Ghost', 'The Sphinx Without a Secret', 'Poems in Prose', and 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism'. (2) All of these books are still in Pessoa's personal library, now at the Casa Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon, and the marginalia within them reveal an attentive reading of the texts. It is also evident that Pessoa was familiar with the essays that constitute Wilde's critical volume Intentions (1891), even if a copy does not today exist in his library. (3)
In addition, Pessoa owned a significant number of books written by Wilde's friends or contemporaries. Among the three books by T. W. H. Crosland in his library is The First Stone: On Reading the Unpublished Parts of De Profundis, a scathing satirical attack on Wilde. (4) He also had a copy of Lord Alfred Douglas's Sonnets and Andre Gide's Oscar Wilde: In Memoriam (Souvenirs), Le De Profundis. (5) In sum, then, Pessoa purchased, read, annotated, and kept until his death seven books either written by Wilde himself or directly connected to the Wilde story. To put this figure into context, it exceeds the number of books he owned by James Joyce (one, in two volumes), Francis Bacon (two), Lord Byron (two), Marcel Proust (one), Mark Twain (two), Walt Whitman (one) and even W. B. Yeats (one). (6)
The extent of Pessoa's interest in Wilde is further supported by his espolio at the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon which contains, among the twenty-seven thousand or so manuscripts left behind after his death, at least thirty-seven fragments directly related to Wilde, only six of which have been published. (7)
One of Pessoa's fragments on Wilde is an extraordinary piece of automatic writing, a list entitled 'Will I ever know'. (8) It contains twenty-six names which, according to the instructions of the spirits Pessoa is communicating with, have either a tick or a cross placed next to them. This list, as far as we know the only one of this kind he was to write, includes such important figures as the 'King of England' and 'Dom Manuel'. It also contains the names Lord Alfred Douglas, Robert Ross and T. W. H. Crosland.
Pessoa's works, including some of his most well-known poems, show a clear and direct influence from Wilde's artistic ideals, which centre around the importance of creating masks, myth-making about the artist, and lying in art. 'The Decay of Lying' and 'The Truth of Masks' (both 1891) assert the supremacy of art over life, arguing that the value of art lies in its rejection of reality in favour of lies, in the rejection of the face in favour of the mask. 'The Decay of Lying' is dotted with aphorisms to this effect: 'what I am pleading for is Lying in art'; 'Life imitates Art [...] Life in fact is the mirror, and Art the reality'; 'Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates life'. (9) Such ideals are notably similar in spirit to some of Pessoa's most famous literary expressions: 'o poeta e um fingidor', 'fingir e conhecer-se', 'a sinceridade e o grande obstaculo que o artista tem a vencer', 'artisticamente [...] nao [sei] senao mentir.' (10) It is psychologically revealing that Pessoa should everywhere protest that Wilde was in no way an influence, despite such overwhelming influence to the contrary.
Lying in Art
'The central circumstance, of course, is that Oscar Wilde was not an artist.' (11) In his fragments, Pessoa is scathing about Wilde's lack of poetic ability:
[Wilde's] style is itself, qua style, very little decorated. He has no fine phrases. Very seldom does he strike on a phrase which is aesthetically great, apart from being intellectually striking. [...] The 'exquisite phrase' of the poets, the poetic phrase proper, is a thing in which his works are signally lacking. The sort of thing that Keats produces constantly, that Shelley constantly hits upon, that Shakespeare is master in [...]--this he lacks. (12)
Despite such criticism, however, Pessoa owned an extensive collection of Wilde's poems of over three hundred pages, and inside this book he made at least one exception to his general condemnation of Wilde's lack of poetic artistry by underlining the line 'The Universe itself shall be our Immortality'. (13) This verse, at least, Pessoa must have considered 'aesthetically great'. He also took the trouble to translate no fewer than seventeen lines of 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' (1896) in his personal copy of Wilde's De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol--a great tribute indeed to a supposed minor poet. (14)
Wilde's most characteristic stylistic technique, his use of the aphorism, is the only one for which Pessoa expresses a small degree of guarded admiration: 'He is full of striking phrases, of the kind of thing that inferior people call paradoxes and epigrams.' (15) His enthusiasm for Wilde's aphorisms is further evidenced by his marginalia, where he marks out his favourites in his copies of Wilde's writings. He is visibly influenced by them, and derivative 'paradoxes and epigrams' feature prominently in his own works: 'Fernando Pessoa amava o dito espirituoso, a maxima graciosa, a expressao sintetica, o paradoxo.' (16) Appearing independently, or organized into lists, or featuring in the middle of longer passages of texts, Pessoa's aphorisms prove him a master in the genre. Most are written in English, and many have a distinctly Wildean flavour: 'I am not conscience-stricken, but consciousness-stricken'; 'To define the beautiful is to misunderstand it'; 'A beleza e grega. Mas a consciencia de que ela e grega e moderna.' (17) One in particular appears to be a direct dig at the self-promoting character of the aesthete: 'Art for art's sake is, really, only art for the artist's sake'. (18)
Bernardo Soares's O Livro do desassossego (1982) (19) is dotted with short philosophical meditations in the form of aphorisms. Following an introspective passage on the problems of desiring the unattainable ('O mal romantico e este: e querer a Lua como se houvesse maneira de a obter') we are presented with an adage that perfectly captures the consequences of such a desire: 'Nao se pode comer um bolo sem o perder.' (20) It reads like a direct translation of the English popular saying 'you can't have your cake and eat it', an expression not common in Portuguese. There is a whole chapter in Desassossego entitled 'Maximas', devoted entirely to maxims which, like Wilde's, rely upon the device of turning conventional ideas on their heads. One shows the general notion of love as a selfless, altruistic act to be entirely false: 'Amar e cansar de estar so: e uma cobardia portanto, e uma traicao a nos proprios (importa soberanamente que nao amemos)'. (21) Another reads: 'Dar bons conselhos e insultar a faculdade de errar que Deus deu aos outros.' (22) This is decidedly evocative of an aphorism Pessoa had underlined in his copy of Wilde's Lord Arthur Savile's Crime: 'It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal'. (23) It supports Wilde's words by explaining the validity of the earlier dictum.
Apart from the aphorism, one further stylistic technique employed by Wilde is copied by Pessoa. His heteronyms frequently engage in fictional conversations with one another, usually arguing about philosophical and artistic ideas. The form of the short story O Banqueiro Anarquista (1922) is also extended dialogue. Sadlier is wrong when she claims that Pessoa's 'habit of creating a dialogue among imaginary voices is a distinctive trait'. (24) The technique is foreshadowed by Wilde in his prose pieces 'The Decay of Lying' and 'The Critic as Artist'. It must be conceded that the Socratic dialogue form has historical origins, for example in the writings of Plato, but they are unusual in Portuguese literature.
Wilde's reputation as critic rests largely on his volume Intentions, a collection consisting of the four essays 'The Truth of Masks', 'Pen, Pencil and Poison', 'The Decay of Lying' and 'The Critic as Artist'. In these pieces he champions the autonomy of art and separates art from ethics. Throughout, he disdains the sincere in favour of artistic posing, insincerity, subjectivity, the multiplicity of personality and the adoption of literary masks: 'all Art [is] to a certain degree a mode of acting'. (25)
Such ideas are 'presciently, even shockingly, modern'. (26) They were to influence Modernists as diverse as Yeats, T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, who developed these qualities further in their own writings and critical theories. The influence Wilde held over Pessoa in terms of lying in art must therefore be considered in the context of the wider influence he enjoyed over the Modernist generation as a whole. As Pessoa recognized, Wilde's legacy to the Modernists cannot be overstated: 'He interpreted by theory all that modern art is'. (27)
Yeats's famous theory of the mask, concerning insincerity in art, owes much to Wilde. In the final paragraph of 'The Truth of Masks' Wilde argues for the importance of assuming different masks: 'in art there is no such thing as a universal truth. A Truth in art is that whose contradictory is also true. [...] The truths of metaphysics are the truths of masks.' (28) It is easy to perceive strong affinities between Pessoa's heteronyms and Yeats's masks, but it is worth pointing out that it was to a large extent Wilde who influenced Yeats in this respect. Ellmann is unequivocal on the point, stating bluntly that 'most of Yeats's speculations about the mask derive from' Wilde's essay 'The Critic as Artist.' (29) Wilde had claimed that the first duty in life was to assume a pose, and Yeats would insist after him that the imaginative creation of oneself goes on almost from birth. The polyphony of competing voices in Eliot's poems and Joyce's Ulysses (1922) are grounded in Wilde's belief that 'the basis of life [...] is simply the desire for expression, and Art is always presenting various forms through which the expression can be attained.' (30) Joyce goes so far as to give speech to previously inarticulate objects, like the typewriter in the newsroom.
Wilde's influence on Yeats, Eliot and Joyce is clear, and has been the subject of vast critical enquiry, so it is surprising that his influence on the greatest Portuguese Modernist has merited so little attention. It is worth noting, too, that Pessoa is not the only Portuguese Modernist deeply indebted to Wilde. Mario de Sa-Carneiro's A Confissao de Lucio (1914) owes much to the aesthetic ideals Wilde lived by, such as the cult of the artistic personality: 'Pois Gervasio partia do principio de que o artista nao se revelava pelas suas obras, mas sim, unicamente, pela sua personalidade. Queria dizer: ao escultor, no fundo, pouco importava a obra de um artista. Exigia-lhe que fosse interessante, genial, no seu aspecto fisico, na sua maneira de ser--no seu modo exterior, numa palavra.' (31) To make the connection explicit, the novel evokes the aesthete in its opening sentence with a direct reference to the year of Wilde's trials: 'Por 1895, nao sei bem como, achei-me estudando Direito na faculdade de Paris, ou melhor, nao estudando.' (32)
Pessoa refers to Wilde's essay 'The Decay of Lying' on two separate fragments.
'A Decadencia da Mentira' e a primeira das obras que compoem o volume de Wilde, 'Intencoes'. Poucos escriptos d'elle tao singularmente revelam os pormenores mentaes por que se defina a personalidade do autor. (33)
It is hardly surprising that Pessoa should be drawn to this particular text. The essay affirms the primacy of art over life, by rejecting 'reality' in favour of lies. 'What I am pleading for', writes Wilde, 'is Lying in art.' (34) His argument that 'what is interesting about people in good society [...] is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality behind the mask' is perfectly applicable to Pessoa, who until recent years has attracted comparatively little biographical interest. (35) 'The Art of Lying' ends with an urgent plea: 'What we have to do [...] is to revive this old art of Lying.' (36) Pessoa was one of the figureheads of the revival: 'Artisticamente [...] nao [sei] senao mentir.' (37) He saw in Wilde's ideal of artistic lying his most enduring legacy to the Modernists:
Of all the tawdry and futile adventures in the arts, whose multiplied presence negatively distinguishes modern times, [Wilde] is one of the greatest figures, for he is true to falsehood. (38)
The artistic ideals outlined in some of Pessoa's trademark poems, like 'Autopsicografia' and 'Isto', are remarkably similar to Wilde's in their reliance on lying in art. 'Autopsicografia' is a programmatic poem, concerned with the act of creating poetry. Despite its title, which suggests self-analysis, the lack of first-person pronouns reveals that the poet is examining his feelings like a spectator, from the outside. His conscious, lucid stance is reflected in the rigid form. Such artistic impersonality is reminiscent of Eliot's ideas in 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' (1919): 'The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality'; 'The emotion of art is impersonal'. (39) It is also prefigured by Wilde: 'Lying and poetry are arts [...] and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion.' (40) As Gide remembers Wilde telling him, in a passage underlined by Pessoa in his copy of the Frenchman's memoirs: 'En art, voyez-vous, il n'y a pas de premiere personne.' (41) This is in keeping with what Pessoa argues in one of his fragments on Wilde: 'There must be something scientific and precise--precise in a hard and scientific manner--in the artistic vision, that it may be the artistic vision at all.' (42)
Lying in Life
George Orwell once remarked:
Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying [...] However, even the most flagrantly dishonest book [...] can without intending it give a true picture of its author. (43)
Wilde and Pessoa do not embark on full-length autobiographies, but many of their writings are highly autobiographical, disclosing either real or, more often, imaginary episodes in their everyday lives. Their letters, actions and conversations are equally revealing, not as realistic descriptions of facts and events, but as a window into each author's psyche, showing how they would like to be thought of and remembered. Throughout their lives, both men weave elaborate myths and work tirelessly to create fictions of themselves.
That Wilde loved to fictionalize about himself is a fact universally acknowledged, even by Pessoa: 'All his life was a lie.' (44) Taking up his own mantra that life should imitate art, from a young age Wilde enjoyed improving on reality by bending or inventing the facts. He generally claimed to be two years younger than he actually was, and his own mother went along with this chronology, congratulating him on winning the Newdigate prize 'at the age of only 22', when she knew he was close to twenty-four. (45) This seemingly inoffensive lie was to have dire consequences during the Queensberry libel trial.
Wilde would continually foster the idea that his writings were secondary to his life. Of his literary works, he proclaims:
I consider those things to be so unimportant. I do them to relax and to prove to myself [...] that I am not inferior to my contemporaries whom I hold in low esteem. My ambitions do not stop with composing poems. I want to make of my life a work of art. I know the price of a fine verse but also of a rose, of a vintage wine, of a colourful tie, of a delicate dish. (46)
Many contemporary and later critics, Pessoa included, agree that Wilde's writing was secondary to his life, and somewhat regret that the energy he diverted into fictionalizing about himself meant his art suffered as a result. It is recorded that his writings were but a pale reflection of his brilliant conversation. Gide captures the dichotomy: 'Grand ecrivain non pas, mais grand viveur, si l'on permet au mot de prendre son plein sens.' (47) Gosse was to lament that 'his works, taken without his life, present to a sane criticism a mediocre figure.' (48) Powys is even more emphatic on the point: 'It is given to few men of talent, this peculiar privilege--this privilege of being greater in what might be called the shadow of their personality than in any actual literary or artistic achievement--and Wilde possesses it in a degree second to none.' (49) The price of a less brilliant artistic output is one Wilde freely admits: 'Voulez-vous savoir le grand drame de ma vie?--C'est que j'ai mis mon genie dans ma vie ; j'ai n'ai mis que mon talent dans mes oeuvres.' (50)
Pessoa is drawn to the truth of Wilde's remark. In his copy of Gide's book he makes two lines, in ink, next to the passage, and underlines another: 'Tout ce qui est gagne pour la vie est perdu pour l'Art.' (51) In a fragment Pessoa writes: '[Wilde] was a dandy in real life, not a dandy in literature.' (52) The assertion reads as an insult rather than a compliment, as Pessoa's aim is the exact opposite: to put his talent into his art rather than into his life, which he regards as the less enduring aspect. The widespread critical view of Pessoa is that rather than, like Wilde, channelling his genius into his life at the expense of his art, he instead invested all his energy in his literary creations and endeavours. Such an investment, it is claimed, had the effect of leaving him with an 'unreal' historical existence, vastly less significant--and vastly less interesting--than his life in literature. Octavio Paz asserts that 'His history could be reduced to the passage between the unreality of his daily life and the reality of his fictions.' (53) Jorge de Sena goes as far as to title an essay on Pessoa 'The Man Who Never Was', and end it on the claim that Pessoa sacrificed his real existence, like a Christ, 'on the cross of being words, words, words.' (54)
But of course Pessoa did exist, and any honest criticism must begin with an acknowledgement of the fact. Even the first half of Sena's essay on Pessoa's inexistence curiously contradicts his main argument, as it describes the real-life relationship between this supposedly ethereal man and Virginia de Sena, Jorge's great-aunt, who lived at Rua Coelho da Rocha in the apartment facing Pessoa's. There are further contradictions as Sena flatly declares that '[Pessoa] never did live', but immediately goes on to describe the minutiae of his everyday life: 'the time spent with friends at his cafe, the time spent with his family and acquaintances, the wasted time strolling up and down the streets of Lisbon.' (55)
The prevalent impression created by their respective self-projections is therefore that Wilde invested most heavily in real life, whereas in the case of Pessoa the emphasis is placed on living through literature. On inspection, however, this proves a false dichotomy. If we delve into the material details of Pessoa's life, going on the few facts that are available to the literary historian, we find that, far from being diametrically opposed to the self-promoting Wilde, Pessoa also works tirelessly to craft fictions of himself and create enduring myths about his life. The very idea of real life replaced by writing life is a fiction promoted by Pessoa himself. He fosters the myth of his own inexistence. In one of his fragments Pessoa praises Wilde's deliberate, lucid creation of different poses: 'Every pose of his was pure. His consciousness of his pose bewildered pose.' (56) He is appreciative of the rational effort behind Wilde's endeavours to invent and reinvent himself, posing as an aesthete, a decadent, a dandy, a family man, and a literary genius. Pessoa is just as conscious of his own creative self-projections: 'Desejo ser um criador de mitos, que e o misterio mais alto que pode obrar alguem da humanidade.' (57) His words have often been cited in connection to the myth-making project in Mensagem, but they are equally applicable to the personal myths he forged, in perfect keeping with Wilde's belief that 'a man should invent his own myth.' (58)
Both Wilde and Pessoa went to enormous lengths to foster the legends surrounding their lives and biographies. They also protected these fictions at all costs. In the case of Wilde, this defensiveness proved ultimately destructive, as he refused to believe that people would see through his pose to the truth behind the masks he crafted for himself. His final mask, as a posing rather than a practising homosexual, led him to lie to his defence lawyers and embark on a self-destructive, ill-advised libel charge against Lord Queensberry: 'it seems extraordinary, but the worldly wise Harris, his legal advisor, still imagined his friend was only "posing" as a homosexual'. (59) Wilde had sat in his solicitor's office and told, as he later recalled, 'serious lies to a bald man'. (60) Asked by the solicitor Humphreys if there was any basis to the charges of improper conduct, Wilde denied everything. When asked by Clarke, at the time of his second trial, whether there was any truth in the accusations against him, he answered in a determined voice: 'None whatsoever.' (61)
In the case of Pessoa, scholars still tend to speak about him in the language he employed to speak of himself, as an almost otherworldly being. Although recent publications have disclosed more of his daily life and gone some way to redressing the balance, the lack of critical attention directed at his material existence is remarkable. He has never suffered the full Modernist treatment like Yeats or Joyce. This may in part be due to the lack of a popular scholar like Ellmann to write his biography, with the result that 'nem o Gaspar Simoes, nem Regio, nem Mar Talegre, nem Prado Coelho, nem o proprio Casais Monteiro [...] nos deram um equivalente dessa formacao espiritual prodigiosa que leva o nome de Fernando Pessoa. [...] Em suma, [...] faltou um verdadeiro universo para julgar outro verdadeiro universo.' (62) It is primarily, however, a testament to Pessoa's great success in fictionalizing about himself. Because he continually referred to himself in shifting, esoteric, mysterious terms, later critics have tended to do the same. It certainly highly unusual to find any critical attention paid to the material or the carnal in the context of Pessoa. Wilde's love affairs, on the other hand, have been carefully studied and made public.
Ellmann insists that, at the time of the trials, the risk surrounding Wilde's illegal activities 'was impossible to estimate.' (63) Before the trials, Wilde was certainly less cautious about his encounters with young men, but this was due to a misguided conviction that people would not see through his pose. He was certainly worried enough about the possibility of blackmail over the Hyacinth letter to arrange for it to be published as a poem. Posing as a dandy, as a decadent artist full of witty paradox and with little regard for social norms, he felt sure others would not delve behind this mask to the reality of his illegal activities. But even the pose itself, in the context of prevalent moral attitudes, was damning. It is significant that Queensberry felt unable to prosecute Wilde for sodomy, and could only claim that he was 'posing as a somdomite [sic]' on the notorious calling card he left for Wilde at his club. In a letter to his son Douglas read out during the libel trial, he was careful to repeat the sentiment: 'I am not going to try and analyse this intimacy, and I make no charge, but to my mind to pose as a thing is as bad as to be it.' (64) In another letter, he reiterates the point: 'I can only accuse him of posing.' (65) And yet again, the charge of posing arises during Wilde's deposition. 'Then I asked, "Lord Queensberry, do you seriously accuse your son and me of improper conduct?" He said, "I do not say that you are it, but you look it." ' (66)
The real cause of Wilde's downfall was therefore that his final pose was simply not successful enough to endure. Pessoa would have agreed, and in Gide's memoirs he underlined the following passage referring to the cause of Wilde's downfall: 'ce n'est pas de ca que la societe lui reproche, de ses "peches", mais de s'etre laisse prendre en defavorable posture.' (67)
Pessoa was similarly convinced that his own pose, as an artist existing fully in literature but ethereally in real life, would not be challenged. To a large extent he was proved correct. In his case, unlike that of Wilde, few critics have chosen to look behind his mask, feeling that investigating his carnal existence and desires would not only detract from his literary greatness, but might even be in bad taste. Pessoa's family was famously furious when Ofelia's great-niece published his love letters in 1979. (68) His surviving sister voiced the usual complaint: 'acho que sao coisas intimas que so interessam aos proprios.' (69) Early investigators of the trunk had chosen to publish only his more orthodox writings: 'Hesitamos algum tempo, mas acabamos por nos decidir pela publicacao daquelas composicoes que se nos afiguraram dignas de representar o genio disciplinado de Fernando Pessoa.' (70) Many lament the fact that more unorthodox, less noble, or simply more trivial pieces in the espolio are slowly making their way into the public arena, going as far as to wonder: 'Nao teria sido preferivel ter deixado fechada a arca de Fernando Pessoa?' (71)
Shaping a Posthumous Mythology
One of the most important lessons that Pessoa learnt from Wilde's (failed) example was the importance of fashioning an image for posterity. In this context, the letters he wrote towards the end of his life to explain the origin of his heteronyms--in both historical and psychological terms--offers us a fascinating glimpse of his myth-making process at work.
Pessoa's famous letter to his friend and editor Casais Monteiro, written in the final year of his life, puts forward several explanations for the genesis of the heteronyms. In the letter, Pessoa describes the 'dia triunfal' on which he claims to have written not only the complete set of poems that make up Caeiro's O Guardador de Rebanhos, but also his own 'Chuva Obliqua' and Campos's 'Ode Triunfal'. He begins his story with the pseudo-magical appearance of Caeiro:
Foi em 8 de Marco de 1914--, acerquei-me de uma comoda alta, e, tomando um papel, comecei a escrever, de pe, como escrevo sempre que posso. E escrevi trinta e tantos poemas a fio, numa especie de extase cuja natureza nao conseguirei definir. [...] E o que se seguiu foi o aparecimento de alguem em mim, a quem dei desde logo o nome de Alberto Caeiro. (72)
Most early critics, and many later ones, accepted Pessoa's description of events without question, doing much to establish the 8 March 1914 as one of the watershed dates in modern literature. (73) It was not until 1986 that the part of the story relating to the production of Caeiro's poems was discredited. Ivo Castro, on inspection of the original manuscripts, was surprised to discover that 'as canetas e as respectivas tintas eram quatro', and that the documents showed evidence of redrafting: 'uma abundancia de emendas.' (74) In addition, earlier drafts of the poems were unearthed that proved that they had been written, re-written, and corrected at different times. Such material led him to conclude that 'a historia contada por Pessoa sobre a genese do Guardador de Rebanhos nao serve de base para qualquer estudo confiante, mas e apenas uma peca mais, singularmente tardia, acrescentada ao processo de criacao e de efabulacao dos heteronimos.' (75) Subsequent material found in the espolio has suggested that even the date itself was largely arbitrary, this final letter being the result of earlier drafts: 'no rascunho de uma carta a Casais Monteiro, Pessoa fala de 13 de Marco de 1914.' (76)
What to do, then, with the knowledge that Pessoa's story about the creation of the heteronyms is make-believe? One answer is to ignore the fact, and carry on as if his version were true: 'Any attempt to reconstruct the true genesis of the heteronyms is doomed to failure. But it does not matter. Any "truth" about it would be probably far more prosaic than the myth that he left behind [...] it is difficult to see how it could be bettered.' (77) While it may indeed be impossible to get to the 'truth', the point is that the story exemplifies what Pessoa would like to have happened, and what he would like future readers and critics to believe. It 'matters' because it reveals that he was as anxious as Wilde to weave elaborate myths about himself, and it means that we must approach all of his self-explanations with an eye to Pessoa's concern about public reception.
The heteronymic myth-making project does not end with the fantastical appearance of Caeiro. Pessoa immediately goes on to describe the creation of 'Chuva Obliqua'. He bestows its appearance with a momentous importance, claiming that, coming as it did after Caeiro's poems, 'Foi o regresso de Fernando Pessoa Alberto Caeiro. Imediatamente e totalmente ... Foi o regresso de Fernando Pessoa Alberto Caeiro a Fernando Pessoa ele so. Ou melhor, foi a reaccao de Fernando Pessoa contra a sua inexistencia como Alberto Caeiro.' (78) Critics have made much of this description, viewing it--exactly the same way Pessoa claims to have done--as psychologically revealing: 'Pessoa reagiu de imediato a sua inexistencia como Alberto Caeiro, ou seja, [...] interceptou, com sua 'Chuva Obliqua', a afirmacao primaria do significante mestre.'; 'Quase em resposta a Caeiro, o ortonimo escreve a seguir os seis poemas de 'Chuva Obliqua', texto-chave do Interseccionismo.' (79)
In later life Pessoa would work tirelessly to correct his image for the future, even to the point of clarifying and explaining previous less significant, less felicitous turns of phrase. Regarding a certain narcissistic phrase in 'O Interregno--Defesa e Justificacao da Ditadura Militar em Portugal' (1928), he would urge its recipient: 'E uma gaffe, se v. quiser (e querera bem, porque o e), mas nao e a ma-criacao narcissista que, sem esta explicacao, se poderia supor.' (80) The pressure to accept his self-explanation is powerful, as the implication is that the reader would either be stupid, or else perversely drawn to falsehood ('e querera bem, porque o e') if he thought otherwise.
A degree of suspicion regarding Pessoa's later explanations of earlier events must also be applied to the numerous letters he wrote to Gaspar Simoes. Of the thirty-nine letters, only two are handwritten. The remainder are typed, suggesting that they are in a more polished, considered, final form fully intended for posterity. One of the most interesting aspects of Pessoa's letters to Gaspar Simoes are his comments on other writers and his pre-emptive self-diagnoses. In one letter, he condemns Gaspar Simoes for having attempted biographical readings on his friend Sa-Carneiro: 'Se v. confessadamente nao tem os elementos biograficos precisos para ajuizar do que poderia ser a alma do Sa-Carneiro, porque se baseia na falta de elementos para formar um juizo?' (81) In the very same letter, however, he himself confidently put forward such readings:
A obra de Sa-Carneiro e toda ela atravessada por uma intima desumanidade [...] nao tem calor humano nem ternura humana, excepto a introvertida. Sabe porque? Porque ele perdeu a mae quando tinha dois anos e nao conheceu nunca o carinho materno. (82)
Pessoa's reading of his friend is startlingly Freudian, although this is perhaps less surprising perhaps given that Pessoa and Gaspar Simoes were among the few Portuguese intellectuals of their time to develop an active interest in Freud's theories. (83) Pessoa owned an illustrated copy, in a French edition, of Freud's notoriously problematic essay on Leonardo da Vinci (1910), and his numerous marginal notes in this text reveal an attentive reading. (84) Pessoa's letters to Gaspar Simoes show that, although he is drawn to Freudian theory, he is concerned that psychoanalytical interpretations should not be critically applied to his own literary production. In an attempt to prevent such readings, he strikes first with a serious of pre-emptive self-diagnoses.
Freudian readings, he argues, although attractive in the case of other writers, should not be applied to his specific case for several reasons. The first is that his writings, he claims, do not stem from autobiographical material: 'o estudo a meu respeito [...] peca so por se basear, como verdadeiros, em dados que sao falsos'. (85) To illustrate his assertion he makes the provocative statement that, although his poems may be infused with a nostalgia for an idyllic childhood, 'Nunca senti saudades da infancia [...] O mais sao atitudes literarias'. (86) Secondly, he argues for a Modernist critical attitude, similar to that expounded in Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent', whereby the critic should 'estudar o artista exclusivamente como artista, e nao fazendo entrar no estudo mais do homem que o que seja rigorosamente preciso para explicar a obra.' (87) He praises an early study of him by Gaspar Simoes precisely because 'me trata como realidade espiritual'. (88) The third reason is a subtle call for common decency and critical sensitivity: 'ha que haver diplomacia.' (89)
In this third reason lies the crux of Pessoa's anxiety. Freudian psychoanalytical readings, he feels, are bound to discover something untoward and reduce artistic outpourings to sublimations of libido. In an article on modern poetry Gaspar Simoes had employed such a reading to the process of artistic creation: 'O poeta serve-se do poema para se exprimir, para comunicar o quer que seja que sente como imperioso exprimir.' (90) In his own case, Pessoa seems to have feared that his sexuality would be probed and called into question, so he attempted in these letters to place it beyond the realm of 'diplomatic' critical enquiry, arguing that it was either largely unknowable, or largely irrelevant.
Or simply largely uninteresting: 'pouco [...] me interessou a sexualidade, propria ou alheia'. (91) This is an outright lie; Pessoa was fascinated by the subject of sexuality, as evidenced by his automatic writings on his own sexuality and his interest in the sexual activities of writers he believed to be homosexual, such as Shakespeare, Whitman and Wilde. We have seen that Pessoa fostered the myth of his own inexistence. This included the myth of his sexual inexistence. However, many of his writings betray a clear sex drive. In one letter to Gaspar Simoes he refers to repressed sexual desires, fearing that they may one day 'descer-me ao corpo.' It is evident that these desires are unacceptable to his conscious mind: 'Nao digo que praticasse entao a sexualidade correspondente a esse impulso, mas bastava o desejo para me humiliar.' (92)
The early poem 'Antinous' is a homoerotic dramatization of a wake for the sensual body of a beautiful lover. The story of Antinous is, not surprisingly, one that Wilde had turned to more than once. In Mr. W. H. he writes: 'The ivory body of the Bithynian slave rots in the green ooze of the Nile, and on the yellow hills of the Cerameicus is strewn the dust of the young Athenian; but Antinous lived in sculpture, and Charmides in philosophy.' (93) The story of Antinous makes a further appearance in Wilde's poem 'The Sphynx':
Sing to me of that odorous green eve when crouching by the marge You lapped the stream and fed your drought and watched with hot and hungry stare The ivory body of that rare young slave with his pomegranate mouth. (94)
This last excerpt anticipates much of the atmosphere of Pessoa's poem; Wilde's description of Antinous's 'pomegranate mouth' is similar to Pessoa's 'lips [with] opening redness':
O bare female male-body such As a god's likeness to humanity! O lips whose opening redness erst could touch Lust's seats with a live art's variety! O fingers skilled in things not to be told! (95)
Pessoa's aim in his later dismissive attitude towards both poems is clearly to convince his readers that, by discharging certain less orthodox inclinations 'Epithalamium' and 'Antinous'--and so many poems by Campos, although these he does not mention--they will find an adequate outlet and thus not appear in his everyday life. His explanation is not convincing, and Gaspar Simoes, to whom it was addressed, disregarded it in full, writing chapters in his fourth edition of Fernando Pessoa: Vida e obra with such titles as 'Sexualidade frustrada', 'Aberracao e ideal estetico' and 'Polemica em Sodoma'. In the first of these he suggests that 'a bela, serena e lacrimosa dor de Adriano perante o cadaver de Antinous [...] funcionara como elemento compensador' for Pessoa's repressed homoerotic feelings. (96) Despite Pessoa's best efforts, the critical urge to approach his writings from a psychoanalytical perspective has often proved attractive because 'as suas poesias, por mais "mentirosas" que sejam [...] nunca o sao tao completamente que se lhe nao possa descobrir o ponto tangente com a experiencia real de que partiram.' (97)
Following the example of Gaspar Simoes, subsequent critics have also embarked on psychoanalytical readings of Pessoa. The main problem with these studies is that they rely too heavily on Pessoa's own self-analysis, disregarding his penchant for myth-making and his underlying motives for interpreting his work and his actions in a certain light. As Mario Saraiva puts it, 'neste "Caso Fernando Pessoa" e sempre ele proprio que espontaneamente nos faculta a quase totalidade dos dados pela escrita.' (98) Saraiva considers this an advantage, but in light of Pessoa's propensity to re-write his own history and put forward favourable yet misleading self-images in the guise of offering the reader spontaneous autognosis, it is rather a hindrance.
Pessoa's analysis of other writers is also revealing of his psychological concerns. In this context, his critical appraisal of Wilde is illuminating. Pessoa's keen interest in Wilde's sexuality is evidenced by a biographical list he draws up to accompany the horoscope he cast for Wilde, in which the aesthete's sexual preferences and activities feature prominently among the most notable dates in his life:
Born Dublin 16.10.85 at 2.38 a.m.
Left Dublin for Oxford (Magdalen)--1874
[...] Published his book "Poems"--1881 (successful)
[...] Married Constance Mary Wilde--1884
Began paederasty [sic] as experiment--1886
Paederasty became a habit--1889
Sentenced to 2yrs in prison--25 May 1895
Died in Paris 30 Novr. 1900.
Pessoa's anxiety over Wilde's marriage is in keeping with his fear that marriage in his own case would destroy his artistic creativity, as he had warned Ofelia.
After the same demonstration as with AB, show that Wilde repressed, owing to environment, the inverted tendency in his works, so it cropped up all the stronger in his life, where, perhaps it might not have appeared had it been possible for him to do otherwise. (But this needs examining.) (How far may the inversion, in revealing itself, be due to his marriage?) (99)
The identity of the mysterious 'AB' has never been proved or even suggested, but it is probable that Pessoa had in mind his good friend and fellow poet Antonio Botto, whom he defended against charges of literary indecency. (100)
The Mad Engineer Goes Wilde
Pessoa's single most enduring point of contact with Wilde takes shape through the character of Alvaro de Campos. The engineer, out of all of Pessoa's fictional authors, is the one who bears the most striking resemblance to his real-life creator. He is also, significantly, the one who shares the most affinities with Wilde.
The allegation might at first glance seem somewhat subversive. Surely Campos's 'personality', like that of the other seventy-one heteronyms and semi-heteronyms, is consciously crafted and thus inherently fictional? (101) Pessoa himself would certainly like us to think so: 'Estas individualidades', he writes of the heteronyms, 'devem ser consideradas como distintas da do autor delas.' (102) In a lesser-known poem, Campos himself pleads for the freedom to exist without being submitted to psychoanalytical interpretations:
A liberdade, sim, a liberdade! [...] Existir sem Freud nem aeroplanos (103)
For the argument to stand up to scrutiny, it must first be established that Campos is indeed the heteronym who bears the greatest psychological resemblance to Pessoa himself. It must then be demonstrated that his poems and prose pieces show marked points of contact with Wilde's most notable characteristics and concerns.
The biography Pessoa creates for Campos bears striking similarities to his own. Like Pessoa, Campos is a Portuguese Jew (born in Tavira, the city of Pessoa's father's family), displays hysterical tendencies, and writes in English as well as in his mother tongue. It is likely that Campos's choice of career was largely inspired by that of Tia Anica's (104) husband, a naval engineer who had studied in Switzerland. Campos is the only heteronym to evolve throughout his writing life, displaying different styles and psychological states. This makes him 'so real that you have to pinch yourself while reading him to remind yourself that this amazing spouter of blood and thunder is fiction.' (105) While other important heteronyms were either strategically killed off relatively early on (in the case of Alberto Caeiro), sent off to Brazil never to return (Ricardo Reis), or committed suicide (the Barao de Teive), Campos accompanies his creator until his death; this, together with the engineer's prolific output, points to how deeply Pessoa invested in him. Indeed, the fusion between the characters of Campos and Pessoa can be seen not only in literature, but also, uniquely, in real life.
Most biographical critics decipher Campos's poetic output as sincere expressions of Pessoa's psychological makeup. Teresa Rita Lopes goes so far as to call Campos 'o duplo [de Pessoa]', and states that 'o conhecimento de Pessoa e particularmente indispensavel para a compreensao de Alvaro de Campos. E a compreensao de Alvaro de Campos conduz ao entendimento de Pessoa.' (106) In light of this, Pessoa's real life experiences can be seen to infuse Campos's poetic utterances. 'Ode Maritima' can be interpreted as a direct product of Pessoa's sea voyages between Lisbon and Durban. (107) The 'pungente banalidade' of Pessoa's love letters to Ofelia can be adequately exonerated by the famous Campos lines: 'Todas as cartas de amor sao / Ridiculas'. (108)
Gaspar Simoes himself is not averse to applying biographical readings to Campos's poetry, even though he generally views the engineer as 'o mais simulado dos heteronimos'; 'o mais laboriosamente fabricado' (109). In a curious contradiction of this perspective, he elsewhere takes Campos's poems as 'evidence' of Pessoa's psychological condition. The engineer's final decadent phase, epitomized by such poems as 'Tabacaria' (1928), is described as follows:
Agora o 'sensacionismo' de Alvaro de Campos era um vinco fundo cavado na alma, a expressao tragica de uma consciencia que, de cabriola em cabriola, chegara aquele estado abismal, sem fe, sem esperanca, sem caridade, estirado ao comprido na valeta que era a sua cama, la nesse quarto desalinhado da Rua Coelho da Rocha. (110)
Such a blurring of the distinction between the 'lives' of Pessoa and Campos, whom Pessoa never claimed lived, with or without him, at Rua Coelho da Rocha, is astonishing. Pessoa himself often similarly fuses the two biographies; in a letter concerning Campos's 'Aniversario'--incidentally, a poem most critics read as an honest portrayal of Pessoa's nostalgia for his idyllic lost childhood--Pessoa's attempts to clarify the date of the poem's creation only lead to a classic Pessoa-Campos muddle: 'A data esta ficticia; escrevi esses versos no dia dos meus anos (de mim), quer dizer a 13 de Junho, mas o Alvaro nasceu a 15 de Outubro, e assim se erra a data para certa.' (111) Their identities are thus intertwined from the start--from the very moment of Campos's conception. As Pessoa himself recognized, perhaps only half-joking, the identity swap was to become profound: 'Afinal o que foi? Trocaram-me pelo Alvaro de Campos!' (112) In several letters Pessoa makes references to Campos's trademark extreme emotions taking over from his own: 'Esta [minha] existencia tem estado reduzida a uma miseravel contemplacao dos desvairos do Sr. Engenheiro Alvaro de Campos'; 'Aquela leve alienacao mental, que e um dos meus privilegios mais Campos, tem estado permanentemente a minha cabeceira'. (113) Even more interesting, at times when Pessoa wishes to write as fast as he can, in a method, he claims, approaching the psychoanalytical technique of free association, he sometimes hands over the reins to the engineer: 'Como escrevi a pressa, para nao demorar mais a resposta e o agradecimento, transferi a redaccao para o Sr. Engenheiro Alvaro de Campos, cujo talento para a concisao em muito sobreleva o meu.' (114)
The identity of Campos taking over from that of Pessoa can be seen at work, in a more subtle manner, in the orthonymous poem that begins 'Ela canta, pobre ceifeira'. (115) The poem centres on typical 'ortonimo' themes, namely an existential angst linked to the desire to be another ('Ah, poder ser tu, sendo eu!'), and the 'dor de pensar' ('O que em mim sente, 'sta pensando'). However, the drastic change in both tone and pace between the opening stanzas and the poem's ending is marked, and an unusual feature in the poetry of the orthonym. At the start, as the poet contemplates the 'ceifeira' as an image of unthinking other, the rhythm is soft, melodious, measured: 'E ha curvas no enredo suave / Do som que ela tem a cantar.' By the end, however, the poet's despair at being imprisoned within his own intelligent, thinking personality is expressed in a melodramatic crescendo: 'O ceu! / O campo! / O cancao!'. Many 'ortonimo' poems are infused with question marks and ellipses, but they display far fewer exclamation marks than appear in the early poems of Campos--with the notable exception of this single poem, which contains more exclamation marks than any other that Pessoa signed under his own name.
Moreover, the dramatic, over-the-top self-pity contained in the phrase: 'A ciencia / Pesa tanto e a vida e tao breve!' is highly reminiscent of Campos's state of mind in his decadent phase, for example in the poem that begins: 'Cruzou por mim, veio ter comigo, numa rua la da Baixa'. In this poem Campos similarly begins to philosophize around the figure of a nameless other who asks him for money, and ends up with an overwhelming sense of pity for his own existential predicament:
Coitado do Alvaro de Campos! Tao isolado na vida! Tao deprimido nas sensacoes! Coitado dele, enfiado na poltrona da sua melancolia! [...] Coitado do Alvaro de Campos, com quem ninguem se importa! Coitado dele que tem tanta pena de si mesmo! (116)
Except for the great sense of humour that largely deflates the tragic element in Campos's lines, they are highly reminiscent of the melancholic, almost melodramatic tone and the galloping pace of the ending of Pessoa's 'Ceifeira'. In other words, 'Ceifeira' begins as a typical 'ortonimo' poem but turns into trademark Campos; in it we see a gradual transformation, before our very eyes, of Pessoa-himself into Pessoa-Campos.
The fusion between Pessoa and Campos in real life can also be traced, being perfectly verifiable in Pessoa's relationship with Ofelia Queiroz, in which Campos interferes from the start. Campos writes letters to Ofelia in which he humorously--albeit respectfully, addressing her in the third person--advises her to forget about Pessoa: 'aconselho V. Exa. a pegar na imagem mental, que acaso tenha formado do individuo cuja citacao esta estragando este papel razoavelmente branco, e deitar essa imagem mental na pia.' (117) In his 'own' letters to her, Pessoa stresses the importance of Campos's companionship in his daily life: 'Tens hoje do teu lado o meu velho amigo Alvaro de Campos, que em geral tem sido contra ti. Alegrate!'; 'Como [...] se da a circunstancia de o sr. eng. Alvaro de Campos ter que me acompanhar amanha durante grande parte do dia, nao sei se sera possivel evitar a presenca--alias agradavel--desse senhor'. (118) A Freudian slip of the pen here reveals that Campos's presence, although not always welcome ('se da a circunstancia de [...] Campos [ter] que me acompanhar'), is often inevitable, as if beyond Pessoa's conscious control: 'nao sei se sera possivel evitar a presenca [...] desse senhor'.
Even Gaspar Simoes mentions the continual company of Campos, when he--somewhat paradoxically--attempts to underline how ordinary and mundane Pessoa was in real life: 'Pessoa na intimidade [...] quando nao se apresentava a Regio e a mim [...] sob a mascara do "Sr. Alvaro de Campos", era o homem mais urbano e terra-a-terra que imaginar se pode.' (119)
As if to impose his own personality over Pessoa's, it is precisely Campos who first announces that 'Fernando Pessoa [...] nao existe, propriamente falando.' (120) He therefore dramatically adds fuel to the myth of Pessoa's non-existence, helping his creator to cement the intended self-image.
The swap of identity between Pessoa and Campos contains much humour and theatricality, and is linked to the concerns of such Modernist writers as Sa-Carneiro, whom Pessoa greatly admired. However, there is a more sinister undertone to the notion that at times Pessoa and Campos are literally--as well as literarily--inseparable. As Sa-Carneiro demonstrates in A Confissao de Lucio (1914), as well as in his poems and short stories, the problem remains of what is left of one's true self when one is taken over by another's personality. There are enough instances of a blurring between the identities of Pessoa and Campos to suggest a stronger and more serious psychological element at work than mere play-acting. By attributing real personal feelings and desires to Campos, Pessoa is able to distance himself from parts of his personality that he wishes to express but does not want to pen under his own name. In this context, perhaps Campos is more outwardly courageous than Pessoa in his relationship with Ofelia, making clear from the outset that it will never amount to much.
Campos can certainly be seen to display more courage than Pessoa in his defence of Antonio Botto. The second edition of Botto's Cancoes was published in 1922 and immediately seized by the police as an offence against social values, following an attack by a group of Catholic university students led by Pedro Teotonio Pereira. This 'literatura de Sodoma', represented also by Judith Teixeira's Decadencia, seized the following year, was fiercely condemned. Pessoa came to Botto's defence by publishing a number of articles under his own name and one under that of Campos. Writing as 'himself', Pessoa argues that because an aesthete substitutes the idea of beauty for the idea of truth or morality, the male aesthete's pleasure in male beauty must be morally unimpeachable.
Campos, on the other hand, makes no attempt to exonerate Botto's writings from the charge of immorality; instead, he praises them for this very quality, going back to the case of Wilde to support his ideas: 'A arte de Botto e integralmente immoral. Nao ha cellula nella que esteja decente. E isso e uma forca porque e uma nao-hypocrisia, uma naocomplicacao. Wilde tergiversava constantemente. [...] O Botto e mais forte: da a sua immoralidade razoes puramente immorais, porque nao lhe da nenhuma.' (121) What Campos here denounces in Wilde is precisely a lack of courage ('O Botto e mais forte'). The charge is somewhat justified, as Wilde's claims in his Preface to Dorian Gray there is no such thing as an immoral book--the implication being that his own books could therefore not be considered immoral. Botto, in contrast, does not attempt to bestow on his immoral writings any kind of moral framework. Neither does Campos.
The charge of cowardice can also here be levied against Pessoa who, although he is willing to pen articles defending Botto in his own name, in them relies on convoluted logical demonstrations that are all but incomprehensible. As an example of his style, a typical passage reads:
O esteta se nao interessa pelas ideas de bem e de verdade. Nao e porisso, propriamente, nem sceptico nem immoral; o proposito de ser sceptico revela uma preoccupacao metaphysica, o de ser immoral uma preoccupacao ethica, e o character negativo de ambas as preoccupacoes nao as torna menos preoccupacoes. (122)
His final 'demonstracao severamente conduzida', concluding as it does that Botto is a perfect aesthete and his Cancoes 'o unico exemplo em Portugal da realizacao litteraria, de qualquer especie, do ideal esthetico' is not very convincing. (123) Campos is quick to pick up on the fact, and takes the opportunity to condemn Pessoa's mask of rationality, seeing it as a veil for spinelessness: 'Continua o Fernando Pessoa com aquela mania, que tantas vezes censurei, de julgar que as cousas se provam. Nada se prova senao para ter a hipocrisia de nao afirmar. O raciocinio e uma timidez.' (124) Campos's article is much more subjective, personal, and daring: 'Li o livro do Botto e gosto d'elle.' (125)
As Sabine puts it: 'It is notable that Pessoa voiced the more controversial line of his argument through the fictitious mouthpiece of Campos.' (126) It is likely that Campos's article expresses sentiments that are sincere to Pessoa, but that he felt he could only make public if he were to distance himself from them by attributing the words to a heteronym. Sena points out that 'quase sempre, [Pessoa] foi mais longe e foi mais "sincero" em nome de outrem que no seu proprio'. (127) As a literary fiction, and a provocative one at that, Campos is permitted many more liberties than a flesh and blood writer. In addition, Pessoa places Campos at the time of writing at Newcastle on Tyne, at a safe distance from the real action. It can even be argued that, in choosing to defend a friend over the same charges that could be directed at his own 'Antinous', Pessoa 'could turn [Botto] into still another heteronym standing for things he had repressed in himself'--albeit only under the name of Alvaro de Campos. (128)
As well as with his creator, Campos displays marked affinities with Wilde. As exemplified by his article on Botto, he is attracted to aesthetic ideals: 'E obra de arte tudo aquillo que produz uma emocao de prazer independentemente de satisfacao, utilidade ou verdade.' (129) One of his prose fragments contains a sentence reminiscent of Pater's famous 'Conclusion' to The Renaissance: 'E preciso [...] crear todos os prazeres, os mais artificiais possivel, os mais estupidos possivel, para que a chamma attaia e queime.' (130) He proclaims in 'Passagem das Horas': 'Fui todos os ascetas', and follows the assertion with 'E todos os pederastas--absolutamente todos (nao faltou nenhum).' (131)
In implying a connection between the aesthetic temperament and pederasty, he recognizes the latter as an essential characteristic in writers like Wilde--and in himself. There are numerous other instances in his poems where he, implicitly or otherwise, aligns himself with homosexuals, and he is interested in the sexual activities of Wilde and other great writers like Whitman and Shakespeare. Wilde claimed that on a visit in America, he had kissed Whitman on the lips. (132) Pessoa owned not only a copy of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, but also a critical book entitled Walt Whitman's Anomaly, with a note on the cover to suggest he might have gone to considerable lengths to procure it: 'The sale of this book is restricted to Members of the Legal and Medical professions.' (133) The book contains many anachronisms and prejudices that would be unpublishable today; to quote a typical example that Pessoa himself marks out: 'It is obvious that those unenviable mortals who are the inheritors of sexual anomalies, will recognize their own emotion in Whitman's "superb friendship, exalte, previously unknown".' (134) Campos certainly recognizes his own emotion in Whitman. (135) He cites him as a major influence:
Saudo-te, Walt, saudo-te, meu irmao em Universo, [...] Sou dos teus, tu bem sabes, e compreendo-te e amo-te, [...] E conforme tu sentiste tudo, sinto tudo, e ca estamos de maos dadas, De maos dadas, Walt, de maos dadas, dancando o universo na alma. (136)
He describes Whitman as a 'Grande pederasta', and his wish for a physical connection with the poet is highly homoerotic: 'Quantas vezes eu beijo o teu retrato! / [...] Sentes isto, sei que o sentes, e os meus beijos sao mais quentes (em gente)'. (137)
In 'Passagem das Horas', Campos recalls male as well as female past lovers. The order of the following lines is significant in the context of memory-time as opposed to chronological time, recalling the more vivid and forceful memories first:
(Freddie, eu chamava-te Baby, porque tu eras louro, branco e eu amava-te, Quantas imperatrizes por reinar e princesas destronadas tu foste para mim!) Mary, com quem eu lia Burns em dias tristes como sentir-se viver. (138)
In 'Soneto Ja Antigo', Campos mentions a 'pobre rapazito / que me deu tantas horas tao felizes / [...] a quem eu tanto julguei amar.' (139) The poem, although written much later, was significantly attributed by Pessoa to Campos's early phase. (140) 'Ode Maritima' (1915) contains passages expressing a masochistic desire to be bodily possessed by men:
Ser o meu corpo passivo a mulher-todas-as-mulheres Que foram violadas, mortas, feridas, rasgadas pelos piratas! Ser no meu ser subjugado a femea que tem de ser deles! [...] Ser-vos a femea, ser-vos as femeas, ser-vos as vitimas. (141)
Campos's interest in unorthodox sexuality can even border on the paedophilic. His earliest ode, 'Ode Triunfal' (1914) contains a passage where he evokes the 'gente ordinaria e suja' around him,
E cujas filhas aos oito anos--e eu acho isto belo e amo-o!-- Masturbam homens de aspecto decente nos vaos de escada. (142)
These lines were shocking enough to be expunged from many subsequent published versions of the poem, and are usually altered to:
E cujas filhas aos oito anos--e eu acho isto belo e amo-o! ....
In light of the fragmented nature of the poem, most readers have no doubt viewed the line of ellipses as a visual expression of the Modernist difficulty of communication. The unvoiced words would in this context serve as a visual aid pointing to the poet's exalted emotional state, on the frontier of consciousness where words fail but the meaning still exists. The device is employed extensively by the equally sensationist Sa-Carneiro. Such an interpretation may be appealing, but it ignores the infinitely more prosaic explanation that most editors have considered the line too immoral for publication and have therefore simply chosen to omit it. It is certainly not true that 'a obra poetica de Fernando Pessoa, excepto [em] dois poemas em ingles, e como a noche oscura do sexo, o deserto da privacao absoluta'. (143) Sex, in all its possible manifestations, is a recurrent theme in the poetry of Campos.
After his final pose was unmasked, Wilde was forced to abandon the main fictions he had created of himself. (144) Much of De Profundis (1905) is thus elegy for lost greatness. In it, Wilde chastises his past image, even if he cannot withhold his admiration for what that image was. As a young man he had often praised poses and masks, but now he recognized that those who want a mask have to wear it. In America he had announced that the secret of life was art. Now he found that the secret of life was suffering. Campos, towards the end of his 'life', also understands that masks cannot be continued after they have been seen through:
Quando a tirei [a mascara] e me vi ao espelho, Ja tinha envelhecido. [...] Deitei fora a mascara e dormi no vestiario Como um cao tolerado pela gerencia Por ser inofensivo (145)
The condition is heartbreaking, as the larger-than-life image that must now be discarded once covered a less brilliant, more fragile reality beneath ('um cao [...] inofensivo'). Wilde had expressed the exact same sentiment in De Profundis, when he recognized that 'Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask.' (146) Pessoa was so drawn to the truth of Wilde's words that he underlined the sentence in his copy of the book. To describe the defeatist attitude that pervades De Profundis, as Crosland did, as 'false' and 'grovelling' is to miss the point entirely. (147) Rather, the piece surprises precisely because it reads as depressive and muted. 'Tabacaria' is similar. If Campos's early 'Ode Maritima' had been 'the loudest poem ever written', 'Tabacaria' is surely one of the most muffled. (148) The furious futurist energy of the early ode has now been spent, and Campos is reduced to walking over to the window or lighting and smoking a cigarette, as the only movements of which he is capable. His sense of apathy, both physical and mental, is perfectly captured by the word 'semi-ergo-me.'
Wilde had learnt the hard way, during the trials, that once masks are seen through it is impossible to keep up the pretence. Such an insight leads to greater sincerity, rather than to the 'falseness' that Crosland alleged. It also inevitably brings with it an existential despair, because when so much is invested in the mask it can become more dazzling than the reality behind it, even to its author. (149) Campos sums up the predicament succinctly in 'Tabacaria':
O domino que vesti era errado. Conheceram-me logo por quem era e nao desmenti, e perdi-me. (150)
The Anxiety of Influence
No poet, no reader, no critic can ultimately escape the anxiety of influence. Harold Bloom argues that writers are constantly at pains to distance themselves from any strong influence. (151) Wilde's review of Walter Pater's Appreciations (1890) ends with what Bloom calls the 'splendidly self-deceptive closing observation' that Pater has escaped disciples -although it is perhaps debatable whether Wilde is here deceiving himself or attempting to deceive others. (152)
In his writings, Pessoa is characteristically ambiguous about the question of influence. He openly admits his own susceptibility to influence:
Quero referir-me [...] a influencia que o Pessanha pudesse ter tido sobre o SaCarneiro. Nao teve nenhuma. Sobre mim teve, porque tudo tem influencia sobre mim. (153)
However, he goes to great lengths to distance himself from the specific influence of Wilde: 'Na realidade, a influencia de Wilde e muito pequena'. (154) His efforts are in keeping with Bloom's argument that strong poets make history by misreading one another in order to clear imaginative spaces for themselves. The misreading arises from the fact that the 'reading is likely to be idiosyncratic, and it is almost certain to be ambivalent, though the ambivalence may be veiled.' (155) These words perfectly capture Pessoa's attitude to Wilde. Some of his fragments on the aesthete contradict each other on the same point, for example on the positive or negative value of Wilde's adoption of masks and poses. Some fragments are contradicted by other sources: for example, Pessoa's condemnation of Wilde as an inferior poet is at odds with his translation of numerous verses from 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'. The impressive number of books Pessoa owned, often heavily annotated, either written by Wilde or by those who knew him personally, reveals a far deeper interest in the man than the fragments would have us believe. He was even interested enough to cast a sophisticated horoscope for Wilde as a comparison to his own life.
Bloom goes on to assert that, in terms of influence, 'Weaker talents idealize; figures of capable imagination appropriate for themselves.' (156) Pessoa certainly did not idealize Wilde, but he did assimilate and develop some of his most trademark qualities. Like Wilde, Pessoa relies heavily on aphoristic expression, particularly under his own name and that of heteronyms and semi-heteronyms who are similar to their creator. His fictional conversations between the heteronyms mirror his predecessor's dialogues between imaginary characters in essays like 'The Decay of Lying'. And he assimilated Wilde's theoretical ideals, centred on the importance of assuming different masks and lying in art, making them the cornerstone of his literary philosophy.
In life, too, Pessoa followed his predecessor's lead in continual efforts to re-write his own history, most famously in his letter to Casais Monteiro on the genesis of the heteronyms. He learnt from the way in which Wilde was unmasked during his trials the vital importance of carving out an enduring, idealized self-image for posterity. And in Alvaro de Campos, the hysterical, mad engineer who shares so many affinities with Wilde, Pessoa created the perfect mask through which to voice his most extreme emotions.
Wilde maintained that life should imitate art rather than the other way around. A fascinating legacy of his wish becoming reality can be seen in how Pessoa's heteronyms have taken on an 'existence' of their own, separate from the personality of their creator: 'ha hoje gente real [...] ocupada em identificar [...] cada uma das faces da sua inexistencia [...] Nao falta muito para que Caeiro e Reis e Campos tenham ficheiro nos registos civis reais do nosso mundo [...].' This is a textbook example of life imitating art: 'A ficcao engendrando a realidade'. (157)
The reasons behind Pessoa's ardent attempts to escape the anxiety of Wilde's influence are psychologically illuminating. He is clearly concerned that if his own writings were subjected to psychoanalytical readings, they might be shown to display many of their author's less orthodox leanings, in particular a deep interest in homoeroticism. A letter written to Gaspar Simoes explains that his aversion to psychoanalytical readings is grounded in their reliance on
uma interpretacao sexual. Isto da azo a que se possam escrever, a titulo de obras de ciencia (que por vezes, de facto, sao), livros absolutamente obscenos, que se possam 'interpretar' (em geral sem razao nenhuma critica) artistas e escritores passados e presentes num sentido degradante e Brasileira do Chiado. (158)
So that his life, unlike Wilde's, should not fall prey to this kind of interpretation, Pessoa works to place his own case beyond the realm of psychoanalytical enquiry. With the aftermath of Wilde's trials at the back of his mind, no doubt, he makes a passionate case for not delving too deeply into the person:
A celebridade deve ferir uma alma delicada. [...] ser olhado por todos inflige [...] uma sensacao de parentesco exterior com as criaturas que armam escandalo nas ruas, que gesticulam e falam alto nas pracas. O homem que se torna celebre fica sem vida intima [...] e aquelas suas minimas accoes--ridiculamente humanas as vezes--que ele quereria invisiveis, coa-as a lente da celebridade para espectaculosas pequenezas, com cuja evidencia a sua alma se estraga. (159)
In a letter he sent to John Lane, the publisher famous for initially supporting Wilde but later suppressing the publication of his works, Pessoa reveals an acute awareness of the possible public reaction to some of his writings. He sends Lane a number of unspecified poems in English, and alludes to others that he repressed for fear of their public reception: 'I have indeed longer poems written in English, but these could not be printed in a country [i.e. England] where there is an active public morality.' (160) It is almost certain that he is here referring to 'Antinous' and 'Epithalamium', which he chose to publish in Portugal instead. Possibly he felt that the public was less 'active' in its morality in his home country--the outcry over Botto's poems was still some years in the future--and he certainly knew that, printed in a foreign language, the poems would attract little public attention.
Pessoa's concern with the reaction of the public intensifies during his latter years. In a letter, he raises the problem in an oblique, roundabout way:
A Robert Browning [...] referiram uma vez o que havia de indiscutivel quanto a pederastia de Shakespeare, tao clara e constantemente afirmada nos Sonetos. Sabe o que Browning respondeu? 'Entao ele e menos Shakespeare.' ('If so the lesse Shakespeare he.'). Assim e o publico, meu querido Gaspar Simoes. (161)
If for the Sonnets we substitute Pessoa's own potentially homoerotic, 'perverse', or 'immoral' writings, and for Browning the general public, we see how Pessoa was anxious that biographical critics--particularly those with a knowledge of Freudian interpretative theories--might analyse his writings in a way that would greatly diminish him as a person.
In order to avoid this, Pessoa continually argued that his real-life existence was immaterial, uninteresting, and beyond the sphere of good criticism, which should only concern itself with the work of art. In this way he was betting on literary immortality, unlike Wilde who wanted to be remembered more as a personality than as an artist. Pessoa wished instead to invest in 'posterity, to force the future to feel fascinated by the unreal, great theatre of the internal world he had built.' (162) The critical emphasis on Wilde's life at the expense of his art is exactly what Pessoa does not wish to happen in his own case. This is why he always argues against biographical reading. 'O Sa-Carneiro nao teve biografia: teve so genio. O que disse foi o que viveu', he urges, implying that he would like to be treated in the same way. (163)
Such an emphasis on art, at the expense of life, can lead to a false impression of the man, a fact he was fully aware of but would not have minded: 'Muitos creem cousas falsas ou incompletas em mim; e eu, fallando com elles, faco tudo por deixal-os continuar n'essa crenca'; 'A nossa personalidade social, para todos, ou historica, para os celebres, e uma ideia de nos que nada tem de nos.' (164)
Pessoa must have known, however, that for all his efforts to condemn them, biographical or psychoanalytic readings would prove irresistible. He himself is quick to point out the connection between artistic style and personality: 'Nao precisei de Freud para [...] conhecer, pelo simples estilo literario, o pederasta e o onanista' (165). Since he is fully convinced, on the evidence of their writing, that Wilde, Whitman and Shakespeare were homosexuals, he is fearful that critics, especially those approaching him from a Freudian perspective, might come to a similar conclusion. In this light, his anxiety that he might be judged by the style of Campos at his most provocative is a key driving force behind his attempt to create a dramatic distance between himself and the heteronyms. It is therefore not surprising that Pessoa should work so tirelessly, as Wilde had done before him, to re-write his own life story and to project favourable poses to the outside world. Pessoa's letters to his future biographer reveal a conscious attempt to distance himself from his earlier homoerotic writings and concerns over his sexuality in order to shape his posthumous legacy. His effort was successful enough to fool most critics for many years, but more recently publications have begun to appear which attempt to 'embody' the real man. The current trend looks set to continue, with psychoanalytical interpretations, in particular, gaining ground.
Pessoa also attempted to avoid being subjected to intrusive psychoanalytical readings: his most extreme, most unorthodox, and most downright perverse sentiments were either voiced obliquely through the mouthpiece of Campos, or later all but disowned. 'Antinous' and 'Epithalamium' were written in a foreign language, and his automatic writings later dismissed--by Pessoa himself--as insignificant. His proposed investigation of Wilde's active homosexuality as a consequence of marriage was never undertaken. His thirty-six other manuscripts on the aesthete, including large sections relating to his sexuality, were never completed, revised, or prepared for publication. Such tactics allowed Pessoa, to a large extent, to distance himself from utterances which he worried might be misconstrued--or rather, taken at face value.
While Pessoa would have deplored an approximation between himself and Wilde, the points of contact between the two men are too numerous to ignore. The subject of Wilde's influence on Pessoa is vast, and opens up the possibility of fascinating new lines of enquiry, particularly in the field of psychoanalytical and biographical readings. And it is heartening to know that even Pessoa, despite everything he says, himself admits that reading a text with an eye to what is not overtly stated can be illuminating:
Certo e que o que Antonio Botto escreve, em verso ou em prosa, ha que ser lido sempre com a attencao posta em o que nao esta la escripto. Pode tambem ser lido com a attencao posta em o que esta la escripto. De qualquer das formas se e leitor. (166)
MARIANA DE CASTRO
University of Oxford
(1) Pessoa, Esp. 49b/85v (unpublished manuscript, espolio de Fernando Pessoa, Biblioteca Nacional, Lisbon, Appendix I). Pessoa favoured old-fashioned Portuguese spelling, which has sometimes been modernized by publishers. The citations in this article are in keeping with either the published versions from which they are taken or, in the case of unpublished material, Pessoa's original text.
(2) (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1908); (Ibid., 1911); (Ibid., 1909); (Paris: Bibliotheque Cosmopolite, 1906). For a complete catalogue of Pessoa's personal library see Tabacaria, n. 0 (February 1996).
(3) The collection is mentioned in several fragments: see Esp. 14E-70; Esp. 14E-71; list of texts; Esp. 14E-68.
(4) (London: Strangeways, 1912).
(5) (Paris: Mercure de France, 1910); ed. by Edward Thompson (London: Ernest Benn, n.d.).
(6) A Selection from the Poetry of W. B. Yeats (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1913).
(7) See The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa, ed. by Richard Zenith (New York: Grove Press, 2001), pp. 218-32.
(8) Fernando Pessoa, Escritos autobiograficos, automaticos e de reflexao pessoal, ed. by Richard Zenith (Lisbon: Assirio e Alvim, 2003), pp. 268-73.
(9) Oscar Wilde, Collected Works (London / Glasgow: Collins, 1948), pp. 971 / 982.
(10) Fernando Pessoa, 'Autopsicografia', Obra Poetica (Rio de Janeiro: Jose Aguilar, 1969), pp. 164-65; Textos de critica e de intervencao (Lisbon: Atica, 1980), p. 48; Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional--Casa da Moeda, 1957), p. 77.
(11) Pessoa, Selected Prose, p. 219.
(12) Ibid., pp. 219-20.
(13) Oscar Wilde, 'Panthea', The Poems of Oscar Wilde (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1911), p. 177.
(14) Oscar Wilde, De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1908).
(15) Pessoa, Selected Prose, p. 219.
(16) Pessoa, Fernando Pessoa: Aforismos e afins, ed. by Richard Zenith, trad. by Manuela Rocha (Lisboa: Assirio e Alvim, 2003), p. 7.
(17) Ibid., pp. 34 / 49 / 48.
(18) Ibid., p. 42.
(19) The work was assembled posthumously from the espolio, initially under the direction of Jorge de Sena. First complete edition org. by Jacinto Prado Coelho, texts collected and transcribed by Maria Aliete Galhoz and Teresa Sobral Cunha, 2 vols (Lisbon: Atica, 1982).
(20) Pessoa (Bernardo Soares), Livro do desassossego (Mem Martins: Europa-America, 1986), p. 51.
(21) Ibid., p. 312.
(22) Ibid., p. 313.
(23) Wilde, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, p. 162.
(24) Darlene J. Sadlier, Modernism and the Paradoxes of Authorship: An Introduction to Fernando Pessoa (Florida: The University Press of Florida, 1998), p. 48.
(25) Oscar Wilde, 'Pen, Poison and Ink', Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, pp. 153-54.
(26) Lawrence Danson, 'Wilde as Critic and Theorist' in The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 81.
(27) Pessoa, Selected Prose, p. 221.
(28) Wilde, Collected Works, p. 1173.
(29) Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde (London: Penguin, 1988), p. 308. Ellmann here overstates Wilde's influence on Yeats, for the latter's masks also owe much to other sources such as the Japanese tradition.
(30) Oscar Wilde, 'The Decay of Lying', Collected Works of Oscar Wilde (Kent: Wordsworth, 1997), pp. 919-43, (p. 927).
(31) Mario de Sa-Carneiro, A Confissao de Lucio (Lisbon: Atica, 1945), p. 29.
(32) Ibid., p. 19.
(33) Esp. 14E-71.
(34) Wilde, Collected Works, p. 971.
(35) Ibid., p. 979.
(36) Ibid., p. 990.
(37) Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, ed. by Simoes, 2nd revised edn (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional--Casa da Moeda, 1982), p. 77. (First edn Lisbon: Europa-America, 1957).
(38) Pessoa, Selected Prose, p. 221.
(39) T. S. Eliot, Selected Prose of T. S. Eliot, ed. by Frank Kermode (London: Faber and Faber, 1975), pp. 40 / 44.
(40) Wilde, Collected Works, p. 972.
(41) Andre Gide, Oscar Wilde: In Memoriam (Souvenirs), le De Profundis (Paris: Mercure de France, 1910), p. 46.
(42) Pessoa, Selected Prose, p.220.
(43) George Orwell, 'Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dali' , in Essays, ed. by John Carey (London: Everyman, 2002), pp. 650-60 (p. 650).
(44) Esp. 14E/64v.
(45) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 6.
(46) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 329.
(47) Gide, In Memoriam, p. 13. Pessoa made a marginal line in ink next to this quote.
(48) Edmund Gosse, The Correspondence of Andre Gide and Edmund Gosse 1904-1928, ed. by Linette Brugmans (New York: Routledge, 1959), p. 53 (letter of 7 March 1910).
(49) John Cowper Powys, Suspended Judgements (New York: Routledge, 1916), p. 419.
(50) Gide, In Memoriam, p. 32.
(51) Ibid., p. 68.
(52) Esp. 14E-62.
(53) Octavio Paz, 'Introduction' to A Centenary Pessoa, ed. by Eugenio Lisboa with L. C. Taylor (Manchester: Carcanet, 1995), pp. 3-20 (p. 3).
(54) Jorge de Sena, 'The Man Who Never Was', in The Man Who Never Was: Essays on Fernando Pessoa, ed. by George Monteiro (Rhode Island: Gavea-Brown, 1982), pp. 19-31 (p. 31). The essay was originally written in English and later translated, by Sena himself, into Portuguese.
(55) Ibid., p. 30.
(56) Esp. 14E-64v.
(57) Pessoa, Obras em Prosa, p. 84.
(58) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, pp. 283-84.
(59) Trevor Fisher, Oscar and Bosie: A Fatal Passion (Stroud, Glos.: Sutton, 2002), p.112.
(60) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 413.
(61) Barbara Belford, Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius (London: Bloomsbury, 2000), p. 262.
(62) Eduardo Lourenco, 'Um extra-ordinario Fernando Pessoa' in Poesia e metafisica: Camoes, Antero, Pessoa (Lisbon: Sa da Costa, 1983), pp. 233-44 (p. 235).
(63) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 421.
(64) Merlin Holland, Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde (London/New York: Fourth Estate, 2003), p. 214.
(65) Ibid., p. 216.
(66) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 421.
(67) Gide, In Memoriam, p. 64.
(68) Fernando Pessoa, Cartas de amor de Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon: Atica, 1979).
(69) Isabel Murteira Franca, Fernando Pessoa na intimidade (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 1987) p. 283.
(70) Gaspar Simoes, article, Diario de Noticias, 9 August 1956 (reprinted in Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, pp. 115-16).
(71) Mario Saraiva, O Caso clinico de Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon: Referendo, 1990), p. 62.
(72) Pessoa, Correspondencia 1923-1935, ed. by Manuela Parreira da Silva (Lisbon: Assirio e Alvim, 1999) p. 343 (letter of 13 January 1935).
(73) Gaspar Simoes refers to the '"trinta e tantos poemas" que Fernando Pessoa escreveu "a fio", "numa especie de extase", no famoso dia 8 de Marco de 1914' in his Vida e obra de Fernando Pessoa, 4th edn [1st edn 1950] (Lisbon: Bertrand, 1980), p. 271.
(74) Ivo Castro, O Manuscrito de 'O Guardador de Rebanhos' de Alberto Caeiro (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 1986), p. 12.
(75) Ibid., p. 13.
(76) Jose Martinho, Pessoa e a psicanalise (Coimbra: Almedina, 2002), p. 56.
(77) Zbigniew Kotowicz, Fernando Pessoa: Voices of a Nomadic Soul (London: Menard, 1996), p. 44.
(78) Pessoa, Correspondencia 1923-1935, p. 343.
(79) Martinho, Pessoa e a psicanalise, p. 63; Fernando Pessoa: uma fotobiografia, ed. by Maria Jose de Lancastre (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional--Casa da Moeda, 1980), p. 8.
(80) Ibid., p. 84.
(81) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 77.
(83) Jose Martinho: 'os unicos documentos importantes que existem na cultura portuguesa dos anos 30 sobre as relacoes entre a literatura e a psicanalise se encontram na obra de Joao Gaspar Simoes e na sua correspondencia com Fernando Pessoa.' See his 'Sobre a recepcao de Freud em Portugal', Metacritica (March 2003), p. 4.
(84) Sigmund Freud, Un Souvenir d'enfance de Leonard de Vinci, trad. by Marie Bonaparte (Paris: Gallimard, 1927).
(85) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 77.
(86) Ibid., p. 78.
(87) Ibid., p. 78.
(88) Ibid., p. 32; the article in question, of 1926, was the first critical study of Pessoa to appear in a book. See Joao Gaspar Simoes, 'Fernando Pessoa' in Temas (Coimbra: Presenca, 1929), pp. 171-201.
(89) Ibid., p. 32.
(90) Gaspar Simoes, O Misterio da Poesia (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade, 1931), p. 13.
(91) Pessoa, Cartas a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 75.
(92) Ibid., p. 80.
(93) Wilde, Collected Works, p. 1108.
(94) Ibid., p. 834.
(95) Pessoa, Poemas ingleses, ed. by Joao Dionisio (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional--Casa da Moeda, 1993), p.7.
(96) Gaspar Simoes, Vida e obra, p. 518.
(97) Ibid., p. 78.
(98) Saraiva, O Caso clinico de Fernando Pessoa, p. 15.
(99) Esp. 14E-66.
(100) Botto's 'Motivos de beleza' (1923) contains a preface by Pessoa; they published the 'Antologia de poetas portugueses modernos' together in 1929.
(101) For a list of Pessoa's seventy-two heteronyms and semi-heteronyms, see Pessoa por conhecer I: roteiro para uma expedicao, ed. by Teresa Rita Lopes (Lisbon: Estampa, 1990), pp. 67-69.
(102) 'Tabua Bibliografica. Fernando Pessoa' was published on page 10 of the 17th issue of Presenca magazine (Coimbra: December 1928). It was written by Pessoa himself, and is an important but difficult document, as it represents a very 'Pessoan' account of his published texts.
(103) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Pessoa por conhecer II, p. 310.
(104) Ana Luiza Pinheiro Nogueira de Freitas was the wife of Joao Nogueira de Freitas, a first cousin of Pessoa's mother. Although not a blood relative therefore, this highly cultured and intelligent lady was much loved by Pessoa, who wrote her numerous letters about astral communications and even lived with her in Lisbon from 1912 to 1914. She was referred to, by the entire family, as 'Tia Anica'.
(105) Roy Campbell, from 'Critical Anthology' section in Fernando Pessoa: A Galaxy of Poets, ed. by Maria Helena Rodrigues de Carvalho (Lisbon: Mirandela, 1985), p. 45. This book was the catalogue to Jose Blanco's exhibition organized in London, from 4 October to 2 November 1985.
(106) Teresa Rita Lopes, Pessoa por conhecer I, p. 8.
(107) See Ibid., p. 60: 'Ode Maritima nunca teria existido se nao fosse essa partida.'
(108) See Gaspar Simoes, Vida e obra, p. 495.
(109) Ibid., pp. 300 / 297.
(110) Ibid., p. 679.
(111) Pessoa's half-sister, Henriqueta ('Teca') relates the poem to memory of his childhood birthdays: see Isabel Murteira Franca, Fernando Pessoa na intimidade, p. 54; Pessoa, 4 July 1930, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 49.
(112) Pessoa, letter to Ofelia, 15 October 1920, in Fernando Pessoa: uma fotobiografia, p. 193.
(113) Pessoa, Correspondencia 1923-1935, pp. 32 / 38.
(114) Pessoa, 28 June 1930, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 47.
(115) Pessoa, Obra Poetica, p. 211.
(116) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Ficcoes de interludio / 4: poesias de Alvaro de Campos (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1983), p. 202.
(117) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Correspondencia 1923-1935, p. 164 (letter of 25 September 1929).
(118) Pessoa, Ibid. p. 165; Cartas de amor de Fernando Pessoa, p. 101.
(119) Gaspar Simoes, Vida e obra, p. 392.
(120) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Notas para a recordacao do meu Mestre Caeiro, ed. by Teresa Rita Lopes (Lisbon: Estampa, 1997), p. 75.
(121) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), 'Opiniao de Alvaro de Campos', Contemporanea, 4 (1922), p. 84.
(122) Pessoa, 'Antonio Botto e o Ideal Esthetico em Portugal', Contemporanea, 3 (1922), reprinted in Apreciacoes literarias (Porto: Arcadia, 1951), p. 76.
(123) Ibid., p. 84.
(124) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), 'Opiniao de Alvaro de Campos', p. 85.
(126) Mark Sabine, 'A Problem in Pessoa's Ethics: Homoerotism, Beauty and Art' (unpublished lecture).
(127) Sena, Poemas ingleses de Fernando Pessoa, p. 23.
(128) Sena, The Man Who Never Was, p. 26.
(129) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Pessoa por conhecer II, p. 473.
(130) Ibid., p. 345; cf. Walter Pater: 'To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.' See The Renaissance (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 87. Pater was Oscar Wilde's tutor at Oxford.
(131) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Poesias de Alvaro de Campos, p. 78.
(132) Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, p. 163.
(133) (London: Cassell and Company, 1909); W. C. Rivers, Walt Whitman's Anomaly (London: George Allen and Company, 1913).
(134) J. A. Symonds, 'Walt Whitman: A Study', in Walt Whitman's Anomaly, p. 3. Symonds was a contemporary and a friend of Wilde's; he was an outspoken homosexual and a strong supporter of The Cause.
(135) Mark Sabine and Anna Klobucka write of Campos' 'homoerotic longing for Walt Whitman'. See Embodying Pessoa: Corporeality, Gender, Sexuality, ed. by Anna Klobucka and Mark Sabine (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2007).
(136) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Poesias de Alvaro de Campos, p. 65.
(137) Ibid., p. 66.
(138) Ibid., p. 78.
(139) Ibid., p. 93.
(140) The manuscript reads: 'A bordo do navio em que embarcou para o Oriente, uns 4 meses antes de 'Opiario', Dez. 1913'.
(141) Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), Poesias de Alvaro de Campos, pp. 51-52.
(142) Ibid., p. 30.
(143) Sena, Poemas ingleses de Fernando Pessoa, p. 31.
(144) One lesser fiction he clung to was the image of himself as martyr, complaining in his letters that friends deserted him after his downfall and that Douglas refused requests for money, a lie that has now been largely discredited: see Trevor Fisher, Oscar and Bosie: A Fatal Passion, pp. 183-85, and Douglas Murray, Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000), pp. 110-11.
(145) Fernando Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), 'Tabacaria' in Poesia, ed. by Teresa Rita Lopes (Lisbon: Assiro e Alvim, 2002), p. 323.
(146) Wilde, 'De Profundis', in Collected Works, pp. 1067-98 (p. 1091). Pessoa's translation reads: 'ao contrario do prazer, nao usa mascara'.
(147) T. W. H. Crosland, The First Stone: On Reading the Unpublished Parts of 'De Profundis' (London: Strangeways, 1912), p. 6.
(148) Roy Campbell, in Fernando Pessoa: A Galaxy of Poets, p. 45.
(149) Eliot's Prufrock, recognizing that 'I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker', is constantly terrified ('And in short, I was afraid.') that people might see through his projected image to who he really is: 'My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--/ ('They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!)'. T. S. Eliot, Collected Poems 1909-1962 (London / Boston: Faber and Faber, 1963), p. 14.
(150) Fernando Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos), 'Tabacaria', Poesia, p. 323.
(151) Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence , 2nd edn (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
(152) Ibid., p. 6.
(153) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 81 (letter of 11 December 1931).
(154) Esp. 14E-71.
(155) Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, xxiii.
(156) Ibid., p. 4.
(157) Lourenco, Poesia e metafisica, p. 167.
(158) Pessoa, Cartas a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 74 (letter of 11 December 1931).
(159) Ibid., p. 77.
(160) Pessoa, Correspondencia -1915, ed. by Manuela da Silva (Lisbon: Assirio e Alvim, 1999), p. 175.
(161) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, pp. 76-77.
(162) Sena, The Man Who Never Was, p. 26.
(163) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 73.
(164) Pessoa, Pessoa por conhecer II, p. 29; Pessoa inedito, p. 426.
(165) Pessoa, Cartas de Fernando Pessoa a Joao Gaspar Simoes, p. 75.
(166) Pessoa, 'Antonio Botto: Cantigas de Villancete' , Apreciacoes literarias (Porto: Arcadia, 1951) p. 64.
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|Author:||de Castro, Mariana|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2006|
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