Salazar and the New State in the writings of Fernando Pessoa.
RESUMO. Os seis ultimos anos de vida de Fernando Pessoa, 1930-35, coincidiram em Portugal com o periodo do triunfo pessoal de Salazar, a sua entronizacao como Chefe e a instauracao e consolidacao do regime autoritario do Estado Novo, que ele dirigiu ate 1968. Pretende aqui historiar-se o processo no decurso do qual a confianca e aceitacao que Pessoa exprimiu em varios apontamentos em relacao a Salazar e ao Estado Novo, embora sempre permeadas por cepticismo e formuladas num tom desencantado, cederam claramente o lugar a desconfianca, ao repudio e ate a satira violenta. Esta viragem ou ruptura e bem visivel em numerosos escritos em prosa e em verso produzidos por Pessoa entre Fevereiro e Novembro de 1935, os seus ultimos dez meses de vida.
PALAVRAS CHAVE. Fernando Pessoa, escritos politicos, Salazar, Estado Novo, Antonio Ferro
Nao se admitte que um artista escreva poemas patrioticos, como nao se admitte que um politico escreva artigos anti-patrioticos.
Pessoa, 'Os Fundamentos do Sensacionismo' (BNP / E3, 20-91v) (1)
1. A conservative, liberal and anti-Catholic intellectual
The last six years of Fernando Pessoa's life, 1930-35, coincided with Salazar's personal triumph in Portugal. He was crowned 'leader' (chefe) and his New State, the authoritarian regime the 1926-33 military dictatorship had bequeathed to Portugal, was set up and consolidated. This article aims to give an account of the process during which the 'trust' and 'acceptance' that Pessoa expressed in various notes he wrote about Salazar and the New State, albeit always very cynical and disenchanted in tone, gave way to doubts, condemnation and mordant satire. The transformation is made very plain in many of the prose writings and poems he produced between February and November 1935, the last ten months of his life. It should be said that the vast majority of these personal writings about Salazar, the favourable as well as the critical ones, only became known many years after Pessoa's death, with the painstaking exhumation of the effects he left in his trunks--a task still far from completed to this day. The rupture was mainly, but not entirely, a private, sombre and silent matter, without any of the drama or risks that publicity could have brought, but nonetheless the break was clear-cut, meaningful and exemplary. The lucidity, independence and even originality of Pessoa's political analyses are still evident as the best part of them has withstood the passage of time. Seventy or a hundred years after they were written, these writings in no way discredit Pessoa but have the opposite effect. They may also throw some light on hitherto unknown facets of his oeuvre.
Nobody has better summarized Fernando Pessoa's political thinking at his peak than Pessoa himself, eight months before he died: 'Conservador do estylo inglez, isto e, liberal dentro do conservantismo, e absolutamente anti-reaccionario' (2) ['A British-style conservative, that is to say, liberal within conservatism and absolutely anti-reactionary']. The definition becomes almost perfect if we add to it his declared nationalism (which he would describe variously as 'mystic', cosmopolitan, liberal and anti-Catholic), his lifelong anti-socialism and anti-communism together with the Spencerian individualism of his youthful education. Various features in this brief description seem to exclude a priori the likelihood that Pessoa supported Salazar or that he was, as has been suggested, a 'prefascist' (a label with shifting meanings), an admirer of Mussolini or even a listless critic of the Nazi regime. (3) Facts, and Pessoa's writings known today, rule out these possibilities. For Pessoa, fascism and Hitlerism were on a par with Bolshevism, together forming what he considered, in a letter he wrote in 1934 to the Roman Catholic newspaper A Voz, the 'triple offspring of the Anti-Christ'. (4) It cannot be said that Pessoa adhered to Salazar's regime, although his writings actually show that for some time he 'trusted' and 'accepted' Salazar's government, even if in a distant, critical manner. Two things would have prevented him from adhering to the Roman Catholic dictator's authoritarian and corporativist regime: his declared liberal conservatism, including 'liberal nationalism' for which he was trying to work out a theoretical basis in several of his unpublished texts of the 1930s, and his anti-Catholicism, to which he remained faithful all his life.
Pessoa was not exactly a public figure, given that he was to a certain extent a misanthrope and kept to himself, but he was well-regarded and respected within his intellectual and artistic circle. In this small though varied world, Pessoa developed political affinities with people who were close to the regime but he shared aesthetic leanings with intellectuals in the opposition as well as their social and political concerns. His break with Salazar and the New State was a personal, cautious, almost intimate process that resulted in part from the constraints that were placed on freedom of expression. The exception was the event that marked the first visible rupture: Pessoa managed to get an inflammatory article published in the Diario de Lisboa, protesting against a bill to ban Freemasonry, in 1935. The censors, surprisingly, allowed the attack on the bill to pass, but later prevented the writer from explaining his reasons and answering critics. Up until his death in November that year, Pessoa was always to feel he had been silenced.
Pessoa was never political or even a militant supporter of any cause whatever, apart from his own intellectual elitism and radical individualism, which went back to his philosophical and sociological training, so greatly influenced by British liberalism. This showed itself to be the most solid mainstay in his political thinking during his peak. An acknowledged intellectual among the 'cream of the elite', he was passionately independent and knew very well the dangers of the political and factional 'debasement' of literary or artistic works. In some of his writings in the early 1930s that seem variations on Julien Benda's themes, Pessoa argued that intellectuals should forswear passions and sectarianism and place themselves intransigently on the path chosen by Romain Rolland, which was au-dessus de la melee. (5) He believed that in this way he was remaining true to his mission as an intellectual and, in fact, tried to be 'above all politics and all religions'. He never joined a movement or party, or even supported any kind of political programme, including Salazar's New State. He trusted Salazar for some years, but without showing this trust in any public manner, and he never stopped criticizing Salazar in his notes for his alleged lack of leadership skills, his bookkeeper-like materialism, corporatism inspired by Integralism or totalitarianism, anti-liberalism and narrow-mindedness that he put down to the Catholicism Salazar had learnt at the seminary, etc. Pessoa never approved of the 1933 Constitution or the New State, but accepted them 'for the sake of discipline' and the apparent lack of an alternative. Shortly before he turned against Salazar, Pessoa still called himself a 'situacionista' [pro-establishment] without conviction. He explained the meaning of the expression as someone who did not agree entirely or even partially with an establishment's political programme, but trusted it or its leader and thus refrained from raising doctrinal objections.
However, the moment had come when, in Pessoa's eyes, it was impossible to remain intellectually independent in Portugal. In February 1935, he watched growing Salazarist authoritarianism reveal its tendency to regiment intellectuals and meddle in literature and artistic production (the 'Politica do Espirito' ['Politics of Spirit'] to which we will return later) and to become a serious threat to the atmosphere of freedom that intelligentsias need to survive. Pessoa's reaction was one of profound displeasure as it went against what he had always believed in. Criticisms and doctrinal objections to the regime, that had previously been more or less contained, began to pour out in nearly everything he wrote in 1935, from political commentary to letters and poems. He was tremendously pessimistic about Portugal in the last months of his life. This state of mind is manifest in the poem Elegia na Sombra (2 June), which some people have called the 'Anti-Mensagem'. Sickness and death (30 November) brought to a sudden end his literary and essay-writing activities, which opposed the regime and had promised to grow more vigorous.
2. Conditional support for the dictatorship
Pessoa published very little of the large number of notes and short texts he produced about politics throughout his life. They amounted to hundreds if not thousands of pages relegated to the silence of the famous trunks, although many texts seem to be aimed at a real or imaginary reading public. If we are now beginning to understand Pessoa's political thinking reasonably well, mainly through his posthumously published writings, it was only the few people he associated with that had the privilege of actually knowing it. The discreet and obscure Nucleo de Accao Nacional, which published some newspapers and books in 1919, 1920 and 1928, and with which Pessoa collaborated, served as a haven for some of these acquaintances or close friends. The group could not have consisted of more than half a dozen members. We only know they were former supporters of Sidonio Pais (dictator, 1917-18), and nationalist friends such as Augusto Ferreira Gomes and Geraldo Coelho de Jesus. However, Pessoa did not want to say openly that he belonged to even this small circle, either out of prudence or militant individualism.
Pessoa's known public support for the Military Dictatorship (1926-33)--a matter that is still misconstrued in various ways to this day--was expressed in O Interregno in 1928; there he speaks in a general and guarded manner at the level of principles, without alluding to institutional aspects, names or facts about the dictatorship itself, making few concrete references to the socio-political situation of the country, and then only in very vague and broad outlines. (6) The opuscule, which is usually cited in Pessoa's growing bibliography, had little or no public impact at the time. Oddly enough, the only contemporary author mentioned in it was Lord Hugh Cecil, a Tory politician who was a friend of Churchill and one of the foremost theorists of British conservativism in the twentieth century; his name has evidently never been associated with dictatorships or authoritarian ideologies. There was a touch of the esoteric, Messianic and Sebastianist in O Interregno, which is a somewhat unreal publication in defence of the Military Dictatorship in its presentation of themes. It was very similar to the later book Mensagem, then under preparation, which led Joel Serrao to say: 'O Interregno and Mensagem--different ways of saying the same thing: that the genius of Portugal will return or is about to return.' (7) Before Serrao, Pessoa's biographer Joao Gaspar Simoes was also of the opinion that the two were closely linked and emphasized the fact that they both referred to a messianic 'Hour', which they announced or prophesied. (8)
In a pamphlet published by the mysterious Nucleo de Accao Nacional, Pessoa merely defended the need for a 'Estado de transicao' ['transitional state']--the Interregno of the pamphlet's title--and pointed to the Armed Forces as the only institution that he believed had the legitimacy and capacity to take power by force and prepare the transition to a renewed constitutional normality by means of a temporary suspension of political bodies. Whether out of prudence or his known aloofness from the sphere of political activity, Pessoa did not mention programmes or allude to government measures; he did not go into practical matters. For Pessoa, to know whether the military dictatorship that actually governed Portugal in 1927 or 1928 was 'composed as it should be composed' or was 'aimed in the direction it should be aimed in' were matters that were outside the sphere of his scrutiny, as was the question of knowing whether the dictatorship would manage to last 'the time it should'. What 'national ideas' were suitable for Portugal, how to 'extract' a regime from them or how to establish a new constitutional order based on public opinion (which still did not really exist, according to Pessoa) was material for future chapters of O Interregno, which were never published nor even written. (9) We can only imagine what a puzzling read this Sebastianist opuscule must have been to those responsible for the dictatorship, men who so prized certainties. O Interregno was the only time Pessoa publicly supported the military dictatorship, and it was published only after certain conditions made by the military heads had been met. One of these officers is known to have made disparaging remarks about the article and dismissive comments about the author.
The first years after the setting up of the dictatorship in 1926 were unstable. There was in-fighting in the military between those who defended a return to 'constitutional normality' and the supporters of a shift to a new phase of the so-called National Revolution. In 1930, Salazar, minister of Finance (and 'Finance dictator') since 1928, got rid of his political rivals in the first group thereby ensuring the support of the military leaders in the second group. This was headed by President of the Republic, Oscar Carmona, who had been elected on a single list in 1928. On 30 June 1930, when the one and only party, the Uniao Nacional, was founded, it was Salazar who dictated the government's political line, although it was officially headed by an army officer. At the launch of the single party in the Sala do Conselho de Estado, it was the minister of finance who closed the session after the head of government had read the Uniao Nacional manifesto. Salazar's speech was the first official, spoken and argued account (Pessoa called it a 'thesis') of the principles of the burgeoning political regime. Soon afterwards, Fernando Pessoa described Salazar's speech in his notes as 'a catch-all of counter-revolutionary political principles' and identified them as 'doctrines of the so-called Integralists'. In a text in which he intended 'to contradict the declared principles' of both the Uniao Nacional manifesto and Salazar's 'spoken explanation', he added:
Ha razoes para suppor [...] que dois-tercos do paiz estao com a Dictadura Militar. O (10) que nao ha razao para suppor e que os mesmos dois-tercos do paiz, ou qualquer coisa que se pareca com esses dois tercos, estejam com o Integralismo Lusitano, cujos principios, alias extrangeiros, se nos querem impor como (11) somma da sciencia social e necessaria condicao nossa, pelo Manifesto do Governo e o relatorio Salazar.12 (BNP / E3, 111-53r) (13)
[There are reasons to suppose [...] that two thirds of the country are for the military dictatorship. What there is no reason to suppose is that the same two thirds, or anything that resembles those two thirds, are for Lusitanian Integralism, whose principles, which are in fact foreign, the government manifesto and the Salazar report want to impose on us as the sum of social science and a necessary condition of ours.]
This was clearly an allusion to the doctrine of Action francaise, which Pessoa loathed as much as he loathed Lusitanian Integralism--a movement he regarded as a Portuguese translation of the former. The allusion also reflects the fact that Pessoa had been aware since 1930 of the weight of Maurras's influence on Salazar.
From 1930 to 1932, Pessoa's appraisal of Salazar in his notes highlighted, on the one hand, his qualities, which he saw as exceptional on the Portuguese political scene. It is interesting the way he analysed the origins of the dictator's appeal or charisma, which he always called prestige. Salazar's economic achievement was not, for Pessoa, a convincing reason for this prestige: Afonso Costa, in 1913, had achieved the first surplus in the public budget in many years, and this had not earned him the same recognition. Prestige for the one man and the lack of it for the other were, so Pessoa concluded, external, and prior to, government performance. The secret of Salazar's public image lay in the rare qualities that he possessed: 'clarity of intelligence' and a 'firm will', the very qualities that the Portuguese people so plainly lacked. Everything thus made for a psychological phenomenon of compensation:
O seu prestigio reside nessa formidavel impressao de differenca do vulgo portuguez.
No meio de um povo de incoherentes, de verbosos, de maledicentes por impotencia e espirituosos por falta de assumpto intellectual, o lente de Coimbra (Santo Deus! de Coimbra!) marcou como se tivesse cahido de uma Inglaterra astral. (BNP / E3, 111-48r) (14)
[His prestige lies in the overwhelming impression that he is different from ordinary Portuguese.
Surrounded by an incoherent and bombastic people, backbiters because they're impotent and wits because they lack subject matter, the lecturer from Coimbra (Good God! From Coimbra!) has left a mark as if he had fallen from some astral England.]
In contrast with the alleged barrenness of the Republican politicians' parliamentary eloquence, Salazar's rigid and cold simplicity seemed something ironlike and basic ['a sua simplicidade dura e fria pareceu qual quer coisa de bronzeo e de fundamental'] (BNP / E3, 111-48r). However, Pessoa did not mistake these things for true virtue, although he recognized their merit. In a still unpublished fragment Pessoa wrote that 'clear intelligence, firm will, hard-working capacity and precision of thought and execution' ['a clareza da intelligencia, a firmeza da vontade, a aptidao para o trabalho e o exforco, a precisao no que se pensa e se executa'], the qualities he recognized in Salazar, were amoral or non-moral qualities, very necessary for a statesman, a great political undertaking and a great artist as much as for a swindler, a traitor to his country or a counterfeiter. The same, he added, could be said for qualities of leadership--a heated political subject in the 1920s and '30s, when hopes were being placed everywhere, even in democracies, in the providential strong man. Pessoa approached the question coldly, more interested in knowing in what manner the leader would make use of his qualities:
As qualidades de chefe residem num obscuro fundo subconsciente, a que nao ha remedio senao chamar magnetico, pelo qual o individuo tem a arte, instinctiva e ate involuntaria, de agir sobre grupos, como aquelles grandes hypnotizadores que sabem estabelecer suggestoes, illusoes, allucinacoes, collectivas. O que se pergunta e: chefe de que? chefe para onde? (BNP / E3, 55-55r) (15)
[The qualities of a leader lie at some obscure subconscious depth, which we have no alternative but to call magnetic, by which the person has the art, instinctive and even unintentional, of acting upon groups, similarly to those great hypnotizers who know how to generate suggestions, illusions, collective hallucinations. What is asked is: leader of what? Leader going where?]
However, if Pessoa thought this, he also noted in Salazar a lack of these very same leadership qualities in June 1932, when Salazar, until then minister of Finance, became head of government. Although he believed Salazar to be 'intensely gifted', he did not regard him as much more than an expert who was 'apto, posso admittir, para governar nos limites da sua especialidade, que e a sciencia financeira, mas nao na falta de limites da generalidade do governo' ['capable of governing within the limits of his area of expertise, which is financial science, but not (capable of governing) with the lack of limits of government in general']. (16) Pessoa added that 'o mal, aqui, nao e que o Sr. Oliveira Salazar seja ministro das financas, para o que concedo esteja certo, mas ministro de tudo, o que e mais duvidoso' (BNP / E3, 92L-85r) ['what is wrong, here, is not that Sr. Oliveira Salazar is Minister of Finance, which I accept is right, but that he is minister of everything, which is more questionable']. Even more so because besides the 'narrow-mindedness' associated with Salazar's area of expertise, Pessoa in the same text identified another source of petty-mindedness, rooted in the realm of religion:
O Sr. Oliveira Salazar e, sem duvida, mais alguma coisa que um financeiro. Infelizmente o que elle e mais e catholico, e, de todas as coisas extranhas a uma especialidade, uma religiao fechada, dogmatica e intolerante e a peor para corrigir os defeitos da especializacao, pela simples razao que os nao corrige. (17) Antes os reforca e alarga, dando-lhes uma base espiritual que os radica. (BNP / E3, 92L-85r)
[Sr. Oliveira Salazar is, without doubt, something more than a public finance expert. Unfortunately, what he is more is a Catholic, and of all things that are strange to a specialization, a closed, dogmatic and intolerant religion is the worst to correct the defects of specialization for the simple reason that it does not correct them. Instead, it reinforces and broadens them, providing them with a spiritual basis where they fix their roots.]
Already in 1932-33, in one of his private notes, Pessoa was beginning to worry about the 'rightist sovietism' ['sovietismo direitista'] of the Uniao Nacional and the excessive power concentrated in the hands of the head of government:
Mais valia publicar um decreto-lei que rezasse assim:
Art[igo] 1. A[ntonio] d[e] O[liveira] S[alazar] e Deus.
Art[igo] 2. Fica revogado tudo em contrario e nomeadamente a Biblia.
Ficava assim legalmente instituido o systema que deveras (18) nos governa, o authentico Estado Novo--a Theocracia pessoal.
[It would have been better to publish a decree-law that stated:
Article 1. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar is God.
Article 2. Everything to the contrary, especially the Bible, is hereby revoked.
This way the system that must govern us, the genuine New State,--a personal
Theocracy--would be legally established.] (BNP / E3, 92I-52r) (19)
These scathing remarks leave little room for speculation on Pessoa's supposed Salazarism. In the same note, and referring to a speech in November 1932 in which Salazar was to say something that was later to become one the most repeatedly used maxims of the propaganda machine--'Temos uma doutrina e somos uma forca' ['We have a doctrine and we are a force']--Pessoa made a play on words and deconstructed entirely the dictator's slogan:
/Uma doutrina pode ter uma forca. Uma forca nao pode ter uma doutrina./ O executivo pode suspender o legislativo: nao pode substituil-o ou substituir-selhe. (BNP / E3, 92I-52r)
[A doctrine can have a force. A force cannot have a doctrine. The executive can suspend the legislature: it cannot have it replaced nor replace it.]
Around this time, Pessoa drew a psychological profile of Salazar in which he combined keen observation with a sense of irony. However, the portrait reveals a certain lack of understanding of the kind of dictator that Salazar was beginning to personify, and his success, which Pessoa seemed not to want to recognize or else could not foresee. For Pessoa, it was as if the standard image he had of a dictator, moulded on Mussolini or some other contemporary political leader, failed to match the profile he drew of Salazar, which showed him to be unfit for such a task:
O Prof. Salazar tem, em altissimo grau, as qualidades secundarias da intelligencia e da vontade. E o typo do perfeito executor das ordens (20) de quem tenha as primarias.
O chefe do governo tem uma intelligencia lucida e precisa; nao tem uma intelligencia creadora ou dominadora. Tem uma vontade firme e concentrada; nao a tem irradiante e segura. E um timido quando ousa, e um incerto quando affirma. (BNP / E3, 92M-74r) (21)
[Professor Salazar has, and to a very high degree, secondary qualities of intelligence and will. He is the perfect executor of orders given by those with primary qualities.
The head of government has a lucid and exact intelligence; he does not possess a creative or dominating intelligence. His will is firm and concentrated; it is not radiant or sure. He is timid when he dares, and uncertain when he makes a statement.]
Salazar could be, at the most, 'o mordomo do paiz' ['the country's steward'] in the government hierarchy, as Pessoa says in the same text. He also lacked contact with any 'life of intellect', 'life of emotion' and 'all lives' (BNP / E3, 92M-74r). Without imagination or enthusiasm, Salazar would merely be 'um cadaver emotivo galvanizado por uma propaganda' (BNP / E3, 92M-77r) ['an emotional corpse roused to life by propaganda']. (22) In the same disparaging psychological profile, Pessoa also made use of the bureaucratic stereotype, the orderly bookkeeper, someone for whom 'o paiz nao se compoe de homens, mas de gavetas' ['the country does not consist of men but rather of filing cabinet drawers'], someone who plans to solve social problems 'por fichas soltas e folhas moveis' (BNP / E3, 92M-75r) ['by means of filing cards and loose sheets of paper']. Salazar's rise to power was consequently described by Pessoa as the 'cesarizacao de um contabilista' (BNP / E3, 92M-76r) ['Caesarization of a bookkeeper']. The problem was that 'Um paiz tem que governar-se com contabilidade; nao pode governar-se por contabilidade' (BNP / E3, 92M-76r) ['a country has to be governed with bookkeeping; it cannot be governed by bookkeeping']. A bookkeeper was unable and would not know how to issue political directives (BNP / E3, 92M-76r). In short, it can be said that a bookkeeper did not come up to the messianic or Sebastianist profile that Pessoa had imagined. Propaganda for him was not enough to breathe life into the 'emotional corpse' and transform it into a Caesar, a mobilizer of men.
It cannot be thought that Pessoa gave any kind of support to Salazar even when he emphasized Salazar's qualities and drew a more positive profile of the dictator, admitting to admiration for him, and even recognizing his hitherto contested 'leadership qualities', while still keeping his distance from and feeling a distaste for the dictator. The following text, datable to 1933 or 1934, shows that what made Pessoa keep his distance was no longer psychological and emotional reasons, but considerable political differences:
A vinda de Salazar trouxe enfim o Chefe de Accao Nacional. Gradualmente se sentiu a sua chefia. Foi primeiro um prestigio de pasmo, pela differenca entre elle e todas as especies de chefes politicos que o povo conhecesse; um prestigio psychologico, sim, antes de mais nada, porque o que primeiro se descobriu de Salazar, aparte o seu caracter ascetico (traco que, de per si, nao da prestigio, mas geralmente reforca o que outras qualidades imponham), e que era, ao contrario dos vulgares chefes politicos, um homem de sciencia, de trabalho e de poucas palavras, e, ao contrario dos portuguezes vulgares, (23) incapazes de pensar claramente e de querer firmemente, um espirito excepcionalmente claro, uma vontade omnimodamente forte. Veio depois o prestigio administrativo, do financeiro--prestigio que o povo, incapaz de criticar ou perceber uma obra financeira--immediatamente acceitou por virtude do prestigio ja dado. Por fim, mais tarde, attrahindo ja certas classes cultas que ficaram um pouco retrahidas, veio o prestigio do chefe politico, do organizador da Constituicao e do Regimen Corporativo. Muito embora se nao concorde com uma e outro, as classes para quem por ambos Salazar se prestigiou sao classes que nao ligam necessariamente a admiracao a concordancia. Por mim fallo, que d'essa classe sou. (BNP / E3, 92-8r) (24)
[The coming of Salazar has at last brought the leader of National Action. His leadership has gradually been making itself felt. It was at first the prestige of wonder at the difference between him and all the different kinds of political leaders the people had known: psychological prestige, yes, more than anything else, because what was first discovered in Salazar, besides his ascetic character (a trait which, in itself, does not convey prestige but generally reinforces what other qualities confer), is that unlike ordinary political leaders, he was a man of science, work and few words, and, unlike the average Portuguese, who is unable to think clearly or want things in any determined fashion, he had an exceptionally clear spirit with boundlessly strong will. Then came his administrative prestige, that of the economist--a prestige that the people, incapable of criticizing or understanding a financial task--immediately accepted because prestige had already been bestowed. Eventually, appealing already to certain educated classes who had remained a little reserved came the prestige of the political leader, the organizer of the constitution and the corporativist regime. Although one may agree with neither one nor the other, the classes by which Salazar acquired his prestige were classes that do not necessarily link admiration with agreement. I speak for myself, as I belong to that class.]
Pessoa was obviously not a democrat in any contemporary meaning of the term, either in Portugal, with its hitherto turbulent and disappointing experiences in democracy, or in northern Europe. Although Pessoa recognized that British democracy was viable--because unlike Portugal's it was grounded in strong public opinion--he was also very critical of British politics and politicians. He nurtured, for instance, a pet hatred for Lloyd George, whom he considered responsible (among other things) for introducing into Britain, with the support of the Labour party, the Bismarckian social security system, which Pessoa, as an anti-statist, thought disastrous.
Although Pessoa always looked on Salazar's personal traits through a critical prism, it was not the dictatorial aspects of his rule that he criticized. Pessoa, in fact, never attacked the idea of dictatorship, which in the case of Portugal he believed was necessary, but temporary and different from tyranny. Several of his 1932-34 writings, some of which are in English, endeavour to demonstrate to an imaginary British audience that a dictatorship, as long as it did not lead to tyranny, did not inevitably mean that people's rights and freedoms were not respected. He often gave as a classic example of this the reign of Frederick II of Prussia, a free spirit and protector of the arts, and greatly admired by Pessoa. In one of these writings, perhaps from 1933, Pessoa compared the Portuguese situation with what was happening in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. He came to the conclusion--not very objectively, in fact--that Salazar's was a benign dictatorship that did not persecute its opponents or take away their jobs in the civil service merely because of their political beliefs (BNP / E3, 111-34r to 35r) (25). In another English text from 1933 or 1934, Pessoa wrote about the current political situation in Portugal and flatly stated:
Now the present Dictatorship may frankly be described as liberal. Apart from the censorship of the press, which is not very harsh and is chiefly mutilatory of the products of worthless political fanaticism or less than worthless political slander, there is in Portugal no oppression. You are not allowed to plot against the government or the country, or to deliver yourself over to such minor sports as bomb-throwing and rioting, but, then, these are not normally to be considered as expressions of opinion to any acceptable effect. (BNP / E3, 92-67r) (26)
That the Portuguese state of affairs could be thought a liberal dictatorship is a strange opinion, especially if we consider that in another English text of the same period, Pessoa defended the idea that it was not democracy but rather liberalism that was really opposed to dictatorship--and he gave as example the so-called 'democratic dictatorships' such as the French one (BNP / E3, 92-69r to 70r). (27) He attempted to find a solution to the clear contradiction in an above-cited English text, where we find a Pessoa tolerant not only of certain necessary dictatorships, but also about restrictions on freedom of expression, supposedly unavoidable or indispensable to stop instability and disorder:
It is between Liberalism and Dictatorship that opposition really (28) arises, yet even here a distinction must be made. The opposition is not between Dictatorship and Liberalism in themselves, but between Liberalism and the circumstances which make a Dictatorship arise and the attitude such circumstances lead the Dictators to adopt. Dictatorships generally arise out of the anarchic state of a nation, out of a state of civil war, actual or virtual. In such a state, the "expression of opinion" tends to be rioting or revolution, and, that being so, many simply verbal or written expressions of opinion, which in another country might and would lead to nothing, tend to involve the country in disorder. Obviously when a Dictatorship appears, which it will naturally do in such circumstances, the Dictators, even though they personally be Liberals, can hardly allow that liberty of the press and of speech which normally they might be glad to allow. Where free speech means free fighting, free speech has to stop. (BNP / E3, 111-34r) (29)
Other writings of his before 1935 actually looked at the problem of freedom of expression and censorship from a somewhat disparaging perspective, surprising in a writer like Pessoa, a man of such immense culture and an acknowledged liberal. It was more characteristic, on the other hand, of his invariably elitist, anti-plebeian or 'aristocratic' attitude. It is worth taking note of Pessoa's allowance for burdens on freedom of speech here so as to compare it with the shock he got in 1935 with Salazarist censorship and the totalitarian taste of so-called 'Politics of Spirit'. In a still unpublished note of his, undated although certainly written in the 1930s, Pessoa made a distinction between the importance of freedom depending on whether it was for plebeians or the elite (it should be noted that he was speaking in general and not only with regard to Portugal).
O livro e o periodico differem essencialmente. O primeiro dirige-se a um publico mais ou menos culto, o outro a multidao ignorante, desde que nao seja analphabeta. Acceito, portanto, a censura a imprensa, mormente nas circumstancias (30) presentes, em que nenhum travao, condicao ou /check/ official, profissional ou moral existem ao exercicio da profissao de jornalista ou a collaboracao em jornaes. Taes quaes hoje existem, e em toda a parte, os jornaes, e sobretudo os diarios, sao uma fonte perenne de desinformacao e de perturbacao. No melhor, sao uma fonte de futilidade.
Nao acceito a censura ao livro, e limito a sua apprehensao ao rigorosamente imprescindivel--quando entrem na franca pornographia ou no baixo insulto, seja a quem for. (BNP / E3, 92-37r) (31)
[A book and a periodical are very different matters. The first is aimed at a more or less educated readership, while the other is for the ignorant masses as long as they are not illiterate. I therefore accept censorship of the press, especially under these circumstances, where there is no curb, restraint, or official check, professional or moral, on journalistic practice or collaboration with the press. Magazines and, above all, daily newspapers, as they are today and everywhere, are a permanent source of misinformation and trouble. At their best, they are a source of futility.
I do not accept censorship for books and I confine the seizure of books to what is strictly necessary--when they go into blatant pornography or low insults, whoever they may be aimed at.]
3. Rewarded and courted by the government
In 1934 Fernando Pessoa entered his 'nationalist poem' Mensagem in the first competition of literary awards organized by the Secretariado da Pro paganda Nacional (S.P.N.). This government department had been set up in September 1933, six months after Nazi Germany's Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda. It was headed by Antonio Ferro, who worked directly under Salazar and in close collaboration with him. The S.P.N. literary competition's regulations demanded that, in the case of poetry, works should to be '[de] inspiracao bem portuguesa' ['thoroughly Portuguese in inspiration'] and show 'alto sentido de exaltacao nacionalista' ['a high sense of nationalist feeling']. Pessoa was encouraged by several close friends (Augusto Ferreira Gomes, Almada Negreiros) to enter the competition. According to an author, Antonio Ferro was also involved in a 'plot' to draw him out of his isolation and promote his nationalist works. It may have been the head of S.P.N. himself who secretly advanced the money to have the book printed. (32) Ferro, who had known Pessoa since the Orpheu magazine days and was well aware of his true worth, wanted to attract and associate the nationalist poet with the aims of 'Politica do Espirito'. This was the name of the government strategy that Ferro had shaped to promote the regime inside and outside Portugal, and to neutralize the opposition's supposed 'poisoning' of minds. It aimed to draw the educated elites into the government's projects and also initiate a wide range of cultural activities for the masses within the spirit of the new political order and its goals.
Ferro already knew the essential nature of the book Mensagem through Augusto Ferreira Gomes, a collaborator of S.P.N and a close friend of Pessoa. Some of the main poems in the book, which was almost ready in 1932, had meanwhile been published in newspapers and magazines financed by S.P.N., which also used its influence to promote these poems and the poet in other newspapers in the weeks and months leading up to the awarding of prizes by the jury. The last poems were written only in 1934, just in time for the book to enter the competition. (33) Ferro evidently used all means and pressures because he wanted to take advantage of Pessoa's nationalism and messianic prophesy and use them to further the interests of the Revolucao Nacional. However, Ferro and the other writers and artists within the S.P.N. sphere of influence who took part in the so-called 'plot' (the aforementioned Augusto Ferreira Gomes, film director Antonio Lopes Ribeiro, journalist Augusto Cunha, artist Almada Negreiros) were also aware of Pessoa's independence of spirit, his voluntary isolation, Sebastianist mysticism, religious heterodoxy and political reservations about the New State. These traits, taken together or on their own, hardly promised to make things any easier for the government to succeed in its aim of enlisting his pen for their cause.
The planned awarding of the main prize to Pessoa's book (there was also a prize--a lesser one--for a single poem) did not proceed as expected. The jury was made up of Nationalists who were against Pessoa's heretical mysticism, and what many then saw as his 'defeatism'. So, the prize went to Romaria, a second-rate drama in verse by a Franciscan priest which tells the story of a Bolshevist who converts to Catholicism. Ferro, as the director of S.P.N. and chairman of all literary juries, hit upon a way to prevent Pessoa from feeling mortified by this and award him a matching prize: he managed to have Mensagem distinguished not as a book, but as a single poem, and raised the prize from 1,000 to 5,000 escudos, the same amount as the main prize. The whole episode clearly shows how concerned S.P.N. and its director were to distinguish Pessoa and persuade him to join them.
After the award presentation (30 December 1934), the state continued to promote and to try to appropriate the political message of Mensagem in the Uniao Nacional press. The writer Joao Ameal, one of the regime's main ideologues (author of A Revolucao da Ordem, 1932) and a collaborator with S.P.N., also received an award. (34) On 25 January 1935, he published in the pro-government newspaper Diario de Manha a list of arguments defending Mensagem against the allegations of Pessoa's 'defeatism' and singing its praise as a prophetic announcement of 'Portugal's tomorrow' already dawning in the 'Portugal of today'--that is to say, the Portugal of the New State. (35) Ameal, with an obvious nod in direction of Pessoa's Fifth Empire, described this 'Portugal of tomorrow' as 'an immense empire in potency which the clamour of prophets will make into an immense empire in act' ['o imenso Imperio em potencia que o brado dos profetas forcara a tornar-se Imperio em acto']. And taking up the shout 'E a Hora!' ['The Hour has come!]' of the last line in Mensagem, he ended with the exclamation, imitating Pessoa's prophetic language: 'E a Hora de reanimar o concilio dos espectros. E a Hora de partir ao encontro do Destino. E a Hora de Portugal marchar, rasgando o nevoeiro, direito ao Sol!' (36) ['The Hour has come to call again a council of spectres. The Hour has come to set off in search of Destiny. The Hour has come for Portugal to tear through the mists and march straight towards the Sun!']
It was impossible to be less vague without being totally distasteful: the new prize-winner was being openly flattered and invited by someone from the government department that had presented him the award, and in the single-party newspaper at that, to join them in the spirit of 'a hora que em Portugal soa' ['the hour that sounds in Portugal'] and to direct his prophetic nationalist gifts, even without Catholicism, towards the great objectives of the national reawakening. True to his ideas of intellectual independence and incapable of any politically subservient attitude, Pessoa could hardly have accepted their offer, even if he had agreed with the government's political ideas--which was not the case.
Pessoa was well aware that the S.P.N. had been eager for him to hurry up and write Mensagem in order to give him the prize. He was also aware of the protests of his fellow artists against the ideological criterion that had informed the organization of the literary awards and whose regulations had been challenged in the literary magazine Presenca. In the edition following the one in which Pessoa published his Alvaro de Campos poem 'Tabacaria' ['Tobacco Shop'], Albano Nogueira accused the competition regulations of endeavouring to control art and artists politically. Nogueira based his argument on declarations made by Antonio Ferro himself in 1929, when the then journalist still believed that 'literature that was controlled, restricted, labelled, regimented into saluting platoons, was poor, timorous and anti-nationalist, even if it called itself nationalist' (37) ['uma literatura condicionada, restrita, com etiquetas, enfileirada em pelotoes de continencia, e uma literatura pobre, acanhada e antinacionalista, mesmo quando se diz nacionalista'].
4. An avowed personal dissent
Pessoa reply to the S.P.N.'s courtship was to be an indirect but resounding 'no', a clear assertion of independence and a public demarcation from the political powers.
On 31 January 1935, a week after Joao Ameal's article in praise of Mensagem and its author, Fernando Pessoa was given the opportunity to show his opposition to the 'Politica do Espirito' in a group demonstration, but he did not take it. On the pretext that it was a Republican commemoration date, about two hundred writers, journalists, artists and teachers got together for a lunch in Lisbon to talk about the state of intellectual life in Portugal, and especially the problem of censorship, which had by then existed for nine years, i.e. since the start of the military dictatorship. In effect, despite the constitutionalization of the regime in 1933, censorship continued and its tentacles kept growing. This was the first large gathering of intellectuals in many years, and perhaps the first of its size and kind that had ever taken place in Portugal. It was decided that a petition would be addressed to the president of the newly-opened National Assembly, the single-party parliament elected in October 1934. The petition demanded an end to censorship and was signed by the intellectuals present at the lunch and later by other writers and artists who were not present. Fernando Pessoa's signature was not among the more than two hundred signatures gathered. (38)
We do not know whether Pessoa had perhaps been asked to sign the petition and declined. Twelve years earlier, in July 1923, Pessoa, along with about fifty intellectuals, had put his signature to a letter of complaint to the then prime minister in protest at the banning by the Republican authorities of a theatrical performance of a drama, curiously enough by Antonio Ferro, called Mar Alto, which had been performed only once because of protests and disturbances in the audience. Various people who had signed the 1923 letter of protest also signed the petition against censorship of 31 January 1935, but Fernando Pessoa was one of the exceptions. However, we do know that Pessoa, in his own individualistic style, lost no time in distancing himself from government politics. He did so through the inflammatory article 'Associacoes Secretas' published in the Diario de Lisboa four days later, on 4 February 1935, in protest against a bill in the National Assembly aimed at banning Freemasonry in Portugal. A special edition of the newspaper soon sold out because of this article and it had an enormous impact in a country that was no longer used to open debate and public critiques of the government. Pessoa was manifestly pleased with the extraordinary effect that an article of his had and wrote his notes:
Pela primeira vez na minha vida fabriquei uma bomba. [...] Feita, atirei-a aos oppositores da Maconaria. E o effeito foi nao so retumbante mas milagroso. Perderam a cabeca sem a ter. (BNP / E3, 129-83r) (39)
[I've manufactured a bomb for the first time in my life. [...] Having made it, I hurled it at the enemies of Freemasonry. And the result was not only resounding but also miraculous. They lost their heads without having any.]
Pessoa's article-bomb was to have far great public impact in the end than the intellectuals' petition against censorship because the censors stopped the latter from getting into the news. How it was that Pessoa's article--which would normally have been forbidden because of its contents--got past the censors is not clear, but the fact that the writer was at the time in the government's good graces and that he had not signed the petition four days earlier must have had something to do with it. However, the publication of 'Associacoes Secretas' ensured that its writer would suffer irreparable consequences. Pessoa chose to present his critiques in an arrogant, provocative and relentlessly sarcastic tone, but the decisive reason for the rupture caused by the article was his defence of Freemasonry, a central point of difference with the government. In effect, the government associated any resistance and opposition to the New State principally with the influence that Freemasonry had had on the Democratic Party, the former main party in the Republic, and subsequently on the army, civil service, education, etc. Apart from this, the Catholic Church, one of the main pillars of the New State, was eager to stamp out the influence of Freemasonry on Portuguese life as it thought Freemasonry was the greatest obstacle to the 'spiritual renaissance' and Catholic reconquest of Portugal, which was lost to the Church in 1910. Anti-Masonic legislation was presented to the newly-created National Assembly by the Catholic and monarchist deputy, Jose Cabral, on 19 January 1935. It was the very first bill to be presented to the deputies, which shows how important it was. But the initiative for this measure clearly did not come exclusively from that deputy, given that only with a green light from the Catholic Salazar would pass it into law.
It was not due to his fraternal feelings towards Freemasonry (or at least not mainly so) that Pessoa, the self-proclaimed Templar Knight, decided to defend it publicly. The question of banning Freemasonry only provided Pessoa with a pretext and opportunity to dissociate himself from the regime and attack powers that threatened freedom inside and outside Portugal. Pessoa said this himself in a hitherto unpublished text, a draft of a piece intended for publication in the Diario de Lisboa; this is important because it helps us understand why Pessoa wrote the article defending Freemasonry and all his subsequent political texts.
Publiquei neste jornal, em 4 de Fevereiro, um artigo intitulado 'A[ssociacoes] S[ecretas]'. Era esse artigo dirigido, directa e aparentemente, contra um projecto de lei que o sr. Jose Cabral apresentara na Assembleia Legislativa; era dirigido indirecta (40) e realmente, contra as forcas que moveram o senhor Jose Cabral, quer elle o saiba quer nao. O sr. J[ose] C[abral] e o seu projecto serviram-me--digo-o sem offensa nem intencao d'ella--simplesmente de trampolim.
De ha bastante tempo que se tornou preciso atacar (41) certas influencias, infiltradas em muita parte e partidos ou pseudo-nao-partidos, que ameacam, em todo o mundo, a dignidade do Homem e a liberdade do Espirito. (42) Decidido, desde sempre (43) a fazer o que pudesse--dentro dos limites da minha intelligencia e da minha accao--para contrariar (44) essas forcas, servi-me da 1a oportunidade que se me offereceu. Foi o projecto de lei do sr. Jose Cabral; podia ter sido outra coisa qualquer. (BNP / E3, 129-51r) (45)
[I published an article called 'Associacoes Secretas' in this newspaper on 4 February. This article was written, directly and openly, against the bill that Sr. Jose Cabral introduced in the Legislative Assembly; it was written, indirectly and in reality, against the forces that steered Sr. Jose Cabral, whether he knew it or not. I used Sr. Jose Cabral and his plan--I say this with no offence meant--simply as a springboard.
For a long time now it has become necessary to attack certain influences that have seeped into many places and parties or pseudo-non-parties, and represent a threat to Man's dignity and freedom of Mind everywhere in the world. Having decided a long time ago to do what I could--within the limits of my intelligence and actions--to oppose these forces, I have made use of the first opportunity that I was given. This was Sr. Jose Cabral's bill; it could have been something else.]
This is not the place to describe every reaction to Pessoa's article on the part of Jose Cabral and of different writers, newspaper directors and politicians, but the National Union's official newspaper, which had praised Mensagem just a few days before, now rather gracelessly exclaimed on its first page: 'Va la a gente fiar-se em poetas!' ['This is what we get when we trust poets!'] The newspaper continued ironically on the Messianic theme of time (the Hour): 'Ou porque o relogio do sr. Fernando Pessoa esteja atrasado ou porque a loja que lho vendeu era maconica, o seu brado da Hora Augusta, depois deste artigo, so encontrara um eco em todo o Portugal:--Ora sebo!' (46) ['Either because Sr. Fernando Pessoa's watch is slow or because the shop that sold it to him was a Mason's, his shout of the August Hour will, after this article, only hear throughout the whole country the echo: Well, damn it!'] Deputy Jose Cabral made two obvious mistakes, which have gone down in history, when he tried assess the situation in his response in the Diario de Lisboa: he tried to belittle Pessoa by calling him 'pobre escrevedor' ['a poor scribbler'] and also 'an amphibian', as he thought that the poet had betrayed his former, supposedly 'Integralist', political ideas. (47) No debate evolved because apart from a piece by Rolao Preto in the weekly Fradique, everyone else (Fernando de Sousa and Alfredo Pimenta in A Voz, Tomas Ribeiro Colaco and Dutra Faria in Fradique, etc) criticized Pessoa. The censors also allowed no opinion to pass them that supported him or defended Freemasonry. The Grand Master Mason himself, General Norton de Matos, only protested against the anti-Freemasonry law in a letter to the president of the National Assembly, copies of which were secretly distributed on 31 January, the very day the opposition intellectuals had their lunch.
Pessoa too was unable to defend himself in newspaper articles or books from attacks made on him, as can be seen in the many jotted pieces of writing and plans on the subject stored in the trunks. (48) His planned book about the anti-Masonic law was held up. A shortened version of his Diario de Lisboa article was published clandestinely as a pamphlet, in 1935, without any kind of presentation or introductory remark. According to a note of his, the censors had been instructed to silence him, and this meant that his name could no longer be even mentioned favourably in any literary situation. He blames a 'Dwarf'--which could mean either Ferro or Salazar himself--for silencing him, playing on the Portuguese proverb that says 'Pelo dedo se conhece o gigante' ['We know a giant by his finger']:
Registamos o bem que se definem determinadas pessoas--talvez uma so--ou (49) instituicoes quando dao ordens a uma Censura de que (50) se corte qualquer referencia favoravel, ainda que puramente literaria, a um poeta que um dia se lembrou de ... defender num jornal a Maconaria. E so um dedo, um dedinho (51). Mas pelo dedo se conhece o Anao. (52) (BNP / E3, 53B-1v) (53)
[We see how clearly certain people--just one perhaps--or organizations reveal themselves when censors are ordered to cut any complimentary mention, even if a purely literary one, of a poet who one day took it upon himself ... to defend Freemasonry in a newspaper. It's just a finger, a tiny finger. But we know a Dwarf by his finger.]
In another fragment dated 1935, perhaps a scribbled draft for a letter, Pessoa complains about not writing because of the censorship although he pretends to excuse the censors:
Nao e que nao publique (54) porque nao quero: nao publico55 porque nao posso. Nao se (56) entendam estas palavras como dirigidas contra a Commissao de Censura: ninguem tem menos razao de queixa do que eu d'essa Commissao. A Censura obedece, porem, a directrizes que lhe sao superiormente impostas; e todos nos sabemos (57) quaes sao, mais ou menos, essas directrizes. Ora succede que a maioria das coisas que eu pudesse escrever nao poderia ser passada pela Censura. (BNP / E3, 20-64r) (58)
[It's not that I do not publish because I do not want to: I do not publish because I cannot. Do not think these words are directed against the Censorship Board: nobody has less to complain about this Board than I do. The censors follow, however, the directives they receive from above; and we all know more or less what these directives are.
Now it so happens that most of the things that I could write cannot be passed by the censors.]
When Portuguese intellectuals split into two opposite camps in 1935, Fernando Pessoa, with his provocative article in defence of Freemasonry, earned himself a special, honourable place in the camp that opposed the New State. In February, the cultural weekly O Diabo, one of the few surviving with links to the opposition, paid a silent tribute to Pessoa's public intervention by putting his photograph on their front page.
5. Salazar, Antonio Ferro and the intellectuals
Besides censorship, which had existed since 1926, Salazar's government also made systematic and permanent use of a propaganda department that it set up in 1933. S.P.N. and its director, Antonio Ferro, were given relatively generous means that permitted a level of activity, both abroad and in Portugal, never known before. In 1934 and 1935, S.P.N. organized for the masses great popular celebrations, historical parades and exhibitions of a nationalist and colonialist nature, and always with distinctly political and ideological purposes. Ferro invited European writers and journalists to visit Portugal, made Salazar's writings known in various countries, and had foreign newspapers write about Portugal and praise its government policies. The official government radio station Emissora Nacional started broadcasting in August 1935, and private radio stations began to play a new and important role by supporting the regime with the help of S.P.N.'s political guidelines. S.P.N. favoured the carrot and stick approach to Portugal's literary and artistic circles. Not only did the state have the power to sanction or intimidate, but it also had a range of tools to stimulate, attract and to win over loyalties: writers and artists received commissions, prizes, subsidies and jobs. This was one of the main tasks of 'Politica do Espirito' as devised and executed by Antonio Ferro, with Salazar's full approval. The ultimate objective was to get the cultural elite, or 'avant-garde' as Ferro put it, in perfect harmony with the government's goals.
The regime had definitively triumphed in the barracks and in the streets, it had taken over institutions and set up new political structures, and in 1935 the only battle it still had to win in order to secure itself definitively was the battle of opinion, culture and ideas. But it would require more than just influencing and controlling minds by means of censorship and propaganda to create what Salazar called 'a national spirit' or 'a new mentality', and what Justice Minister Manuel Rodrigues--one of the regime's ideologues--called 'New State ethics'. They wanted to do more than that; they wanted to conquer the 'spirit', that is to say, the intelligentsia, the educated elites, with their natural capacity to wield influence over the collective consciousness.
Antonio Ferro thought the intelligentsia was the last redoubt of the enemies of the regime--and so he publicly argued, in an irritated reaction to the intellectuals' petition against censorship. Besides being responsible for propaganda, Ferro was also president of the recently-created government-sponsored National Union of Journalists and was aware that the storming of the stronghold of culture and the intelligentsia was not as simple as taking over barracks or a state apparatus. They could silence discordant voices, close down newspapers, create single and compliant trade unions, confiscate books, ban performances or dismiss employees and replace them with people loyal to the regime. But to replace one educated elite with another and exclude people of recognized worth, sometimes of greater worth, was not so simple. Even if it were possible, who would then take on the social role of the intellectuals? Diario de Lisboa's literary supplement of 8 February 1935 carried an interview in which the critic Joao Gaspar Simoes repeatedly praised Fernando Pessoa and criticized the intellectual conformism that the 'Politica do Espirito' encouraged: 'os verdadeiros traidores do espirito [sao] aqueles que se adaptam tao completamente a realidade temporal que nao se distinguem dela' ['the real betrayers of the spirit (are) those who adapt so completely to temporal reality that they cannot be told apart']. He also said:
O papel da inteligencia nao e de conservar--e de criar, de revolucionar. [...] Nao ha verdadeiro pensamento, verdadeira vida mental, onde nao ha insatisfacao, inquietacao, revolta. (59)
[The role of the intelligentsia is not to conserve--it is to create, to revolutionize. [...] There is no authentic thinking, no authentic mental life where there is no dissatisfaction, restlessness, revolt.]
The writers, journalists and artists who signed the petition against censorship failed to get a reply from the president of the National Assembly, to whom it had been addressed, but Ferro, no doubt with the dictator's approval, prepared to reply in an intimidating fashion and show that 'true' Portuguese intellectuals were for Salazar's regime and that only 'veritable betrayers of the spirit' had joined ranks with the opposition. The response came in a particularly heated speech, totalitarian in tone, that Ferro gave in the presence of over a hundred and fifty 'intelectuais nacionalistas' ['nationalist (pro-regime) intellectuals'] on 24 February 1935 at a banquet that S.P.N. held in Lisbon in answer to the lunch of the anti-censorship intellectuals. The director of S.P.N. declared in his speech that it was necessary for the 'victors' to remove the 'vanquished' from the intelligentsia, that 'last redoubt' of resistance to the New State. Ferro refused to allow the petition signers any form of representation or any right to ask for an end to censorship. Taking on a belligerent tone, Ferro declared that 'a batalha deixou de ser nas ruas, nos quarteis, para se travar no campo das ideias' ['the battle is no longer in the streets and barracks but has to be waged in the field of ideas']. He gave a warning, which also served as a threat, to the 'prudent' and 'undecided' intellectuals that they should actively opt to side with the regime: 'O momento e de guerra, meus senhores. [...] Ou se e por nos ou contra nos' ['This is war, gentlemen. [...] You are either for us or against us']. Journalists and writers who joined the opposite camp were told to watch out for themselves: 'Nao os podemos poupar! Temos de ser crueis e fazer fogo!' ['We cannot spare them! We will have to be cruel and open fire!'] So war was declared 'a esses equilibristas que se dizem nacionalistas e nao o provam, intelectuais de pe coxinho, que procuram atraves de tudo--e nunca esta frase foi tao verdadeira - estar de bem com Deus e o Diabo' ['on fence-sitters that say they're nationalists but do not demonstrate it, as well as those lame intellectuals who seek in all things--and never has the saying been so true--to serve both God and the Devil']. (60) This was a reference to the opposition weekly O Diabo [The Devil], which had recently put a photograph of the liberal nationalist Pessoa on its front page, in homage to his defence of Freemasonry, as mentioned above.
The literary prize-giving gathering at the S.P.N. headquarters on 21 February 1935, just three days before the meeting of the 'nationalist intellectuals', was another date that marked the 'Politica do Espirito'. It must have also left a strong impression on Pessoa and made him think about what was happening in Portugal. Pessoa did not attend the party to receive his award for Mensagem. The reason for this is not known, but it is difficult to believe that Pessoa would have dared to show himself in a ceremony presided over by the head of government just two weeks after he had defended Freemasonry and the subsequent scandal. He would certainly have been out of place in the group photograph taken at the end of the ceremony with Salazar, Antonio Ferro, some military men, ministers and other prize-winners.
Two moments marked this Festa do Espirito, as Ferro called it and which he said had been organized with the aim of 'declarar guerra publicamente aos despotas da liberdade de pensamento, aos intelectuais livres [...], envenenadores do mundo!' ['publicly declaring war on the tyranny of freedom of thought, on free intellectuals [...], who poison the world!'] (61) First, Ferro gave an address in which he spoke of his concept of 'Politica do Espirito' and praised Salazar for being 'o renovador da nossa alma [...] e um dos maiores escritores portugueses da nossa lingua em todos os tempos' ['the renovator of our soul [...] and one of the greatest Portuguese writers of our language of all time']. In a ranting address filled with erudite citations, Ferro defined his policy as 'o combate contra tudo o que suja o espirito' ['the fight against all things that sully the spirit'] and a preparation for the 'atmosfera espiritual em que essas obras nao sejam possiveis ou que se perca naturalmente o apetite da sua criacao' ['spiritual atmosphere in which these things are no longer possible and the inclination to do them is lost as a result']. (62) Then, at the close of the session, Salazar read out a passage from the preface of his forthcoming book of speeches in which he tried to justify for moral and patriotic reasons the setting of 'limitations' and 'directives' ['directrizes'] on 'the mental activities and products of the intelligence and sensibilities of the Portuguese people':
Os principios morais e patrioticos que estao na base deste movimento reformador impoem a actividade mental e as producoes da inteligencia e sensibilidade dos portugueses certas limitacoes, e suponho deverem mesmo tracar-lhes algumas directrizes. (63)
[The moral and patriotic principles that are the basis of this reforming movement impose certain limitations on the mental activity and the intellectual and emotional output of the Portuguese, and I think that they should even lay out for them some directives.]
He attacked concepts that tended to make literature and art worlds unto themselves, under the influence of those who 'perderam a rota das grandes certezas morais, criaram o amoralismo e a arte pela arte' ['had gone astray from the path of great moral certainties and have produced amoralism and art for art's sake']. A government that felt the weight of responsibility on its shoulders and had to point people in the right direction could not remain indifferent 'pela formacao mental e moral do escritor e do artista, e pelo caracter da sua obra' ['to the mental and moral education of the writer and artist and to the nature of their work']. For Salazar, it was impossible 'to bestow the same social value on what constructs as on what destroys, on what educates as on what corrupts, on the producers of civic and moral dynamism and on the nostalgic dreamers of decline and decadence':
E impossivel [...] valer tanto socialmente o que edifica como o que destroi, o que educa como o que desmoraliza, os criadores de energias civicas ou morais e os sonhadores nostalgicos do abatimento e da decadencia. (64)
And in a final argument in favour of censorship and political directives concerning writers and artists, he asked emphatically:
Mas vira algum mal ao mundo de se escrever menos, se se escrever e, sobretudo, se se ler melhor?
[But what harm would come to the world if less were written, if it were written better and especially if it were read better?]
6. Pessoa's writing after February 1935
Apparently it was the text that Salazar had read at the literary prize-giving ceremony and in particular his defence of placing 'limitations' and 'directives' on literary and artistic production that had the most decisive effect on Pessoa, in the sense of the shift that can be seen in his writings from the end of February onwards. From a position of critical 'acceptance' and disenchanted 'trust', Pessoa's attitude changed to one of frank opposition to Salazar and scorn for the New State.
That the government had reacted badly to his defence of Freemasonry in the first week of February did not stop Pessoa from thinking of himself as a situacionista [pro-establishment]. Some of his friends found it strange that he had defended a cause so clearly associated with the opposition. When pro-regime friends asked him why he had not declared himself a situacionista in his article, Pessoa could not understand why they found it strange and wrote in a note datable to the first fortnight of February (partially unpublished still):
A que proposito vinha o declaral-o? O que tinha isso com a exposicao e o argumento? [...]
[89r] Sim, sou situacionista. Mas vamos la a uma coisa ... Ha trez maneiras de ser situacionista, isto e, de ser partidario de qualquer situacao politica. A primeira e a conformidade por doutrina; a segunda a conformidade por acceitacao; a terceira a conformidade por naoopposicao. Deixo de parte uma das mais vulgares--a conformidade por vantagem--, porque nao e disso que se trata, pelo menos em mim. A conformidade por doutrina quere dizer que o partidario esta de accordo com o programma politico da situacao a que adhere. A conformidade por acceitacao quer dizer que o partidario, sem que adhira ao todo ou a parte desse programma, confia todavia na situacao e se abstem de por pontos doutrinarios. A conformidade por indiferenca vale por adhesao por so nao ser hostilizacao.
Sou situacionista por acceitacao. Nao discuto problemas politicos, constituicoes ou programmas. Confio, instinctiva mas nao irracionalmente, no General Carmona e no Professor Salazar.
Confio no General Carmona porque tem a mais segura mao de timoneiro que ha muitos annos temos tido. [...]
Confio no Prof. Salazar por um motivo primario e dois motivos secundarios. O motivo primario e aquelle de ter as duas notaveis qualidades que ordinariamente fallecem no portuguez: a clareza firme da intelligencia, a firmeza clara da vontade. Dos (65) motivos secundarios, o primeiro e o que tenho notado de realmente feito e que antes se nao fazia--tudo isso que vae desde os navios e as estradas ate tentar dar a um paiz sem ideal nacional pelo menos isto: (66) o pedido de que pense em tel-o. O segundo desses motivos e o accrescimo do nosso prestigio no Estrangeiro. Conheco a sua realidade por informacoes directas, e nao por citacoes dos jornais, susceptiveis (67) sempre de suspeitas reaes, facticias ou ficticias. [...] Disse que confio porque confio. [...]
Nao vou mais longe. Se me perguntarem se comprehendo a obra financeira do Prof. Salazar, digo que nao, porque nada sei de financas. Confio. Se os meus opositores me disserem que por estas e aquellas razoes, essa obra e ma, digo, com igual fundamento, que nao sei.68 Confio. (69)
[90r] Dito isto, comprehendamo-nos melhor. Alem (70) do situacionista que sou, sou um individualista absoluto, um homem livre e um liberal, e isso faz que tenha uma perfeita tolerancia pelas ideias dos outros, que seja incapaz de considerar um crime o pensar outro do modo que nao penso. (BNP / E3, 92L-94r and 92L-89r to 90r) (71)
[And why would I have declared it? What did this have to do with my explanation and argument? [...]
[89r] Yes, I am a situacionista. But let's just look at something. There are three ways of being a situacionista, that is to say, to be associated with any political situation. The first is to conform because of a doctrine; the second is to conform because you accept it; the third is to conform because you do not oppose it. I will leave out one of the most common--to conform because it's to your advantage, seeing that this has got nothing to do with the matter, at least for me.
To conform because of a doctrine means that you agree with the political programme of the situation you support. To conform because you accept it means that without supporting the programme entirely or partially, you still trust the situation and abstain from raising doctrinal objections. To conform out of indifference can be counted as adherence but only because it is not being hostile.
I am a situacionista because I accept it. I do not discuss political problems, constitutions or programmes. I trust General Carmona and Professor Salazar intuitively but not irrationally.
I trust General Carmona because he's the safest pair of hands at the helm that we've known for many years. [...]
I trust Professor Salazar for one main reason and two minor ones. The main reason is that he has two remarkable qualities that the Portuguese usually lack: firm clarity of intelligence, firm clarity of will. Of the secondary reasons, the first is what I have noticed has really been done and was not done beforehand--everything that ranges from ships and roads to trying to give to a nation without a national ideal at least this much: an appeal to think of having one. The second reason is the boost to our prestige abroad. I know this because I have been directly informed and not through newspapers, always subject to suspicions, either real, factitious or fictitious. [...]
I said I trust because I trust. [...]
I will not go further than that. If I am asked whether I understand Professor Salazar's financial work, I will say no because I know nothing of finances. I trust. If my opponents tell me that for this reason or another that this work is bad, I will say, on the same basis, that I do not know. I trust. [90r] Having said this, we will understand each other better. Besides being the situacionista that I am, I am an absolute individualist, a free man and a liberal, and this makes me feel perfectly tolerant of other people's ideas and incapable of considering it a crime to think in a way different from what I do.]
Pessoa's change of attitude dates from the end of February, that is to say, after the literary prize-giving party and the banquet given to 'nationalist intellectuals'. He never admitted to being a situacionista in his writings again, although he did not stop recognizing Salazar's qualities and a certain merit to his government. But the 'Politica do Espirito' was now perfectly well defined and had become completely unacceptable to Pessoa. Salazar and Antonio Ferro were putting at stake, ostensively and repressively, everything the Orpheu poet and writer of the 'Sensacionismo' manifestos had always believed in with regard to artistic freedom and independence of the intellectual elite.
In March he penned his first satirical poems about Salazar. Anonymous typewritten copies of the 'triple poem' were then passed around secretly and only published by Jorge de Sena in Brazil in 1960. Salazar was now 'the little tyrant'. The final disillusionment that Salazar provoked was illustrated by a play on his name: the rain dissolved the salt (sal) and only bad luck (azar) was left.
Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. [Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Trez nomes em sequencia regular ... Just three names in a row ... Antonio e Antonio. Antonio is Antonio. Oliveira e uma arvore. Oliveira is a tree. Salazar e so apelido. Salazar is just a surname. Ate ai esta bem. So far so good. O que nao faz sentido What makes no sense E o sentido que isto tem. is the meaning it carries. Este senhor Salazar This Mr. Salazar E feito de sal e azar. Is made up of salt and bad luck. Se um dia chove, If it rains one day A agua dissolve The water will dissolve O sal, The salt, E sob o ceu And under a sky Fica so o azar, e natural. Only bad luck remains, naturally. Oh, c'os diabos! Oh, damn! Parece que ja choveu ... It seems it's already rained ... Coitadinho Poor Do tiraninho! little tyrant! Nao bebe vinho, He doesn't drink wine, Nem sequer sosinho ... Not even when he's on his own ... Bebe a verdade He drinks truth E a liberdade, And freedom E com tal agrado And with such delight Que ja comecam There's hardly any left A escassear no mercado. In the marketplace. Coitadinho Poor Do tiraninho! little tyrant! O meu visinho My neighbour Esta na Guine, Is in Guinea E o meu padrinho My godfather No Limoeiro In the Limoeiro prison Aqui ao pe, Just around the corner Mas ninguem sabe porque. But nobody knows why. Mas, enfim, e But, in the end, Certo e certeiro It's only right and proper Que isto consola It's a consolation E nos da fe: And gives us faith: Que o coitadinho That the poor Do tiraninho little tyrant Nao bebe vinho, Doesn't drink wine Nem ate Nor even Cafe. Coffee. UM SONHADOR NOSTALGICO DO A NOSTALGIC DREAMER OF ABATIMENTO E DA DECADENCIA DECLINE AND DECADENCE] (BNP / E3, 92U-32r) (72)
These poems, which were passed around on typewritten sheets, were provocatively signed with a word-for-word quotation of what Salazar had said at the literary prize-giving ceremony. The poems were followed until November by about ten other increasingly sarcastic poems and epigrams. In one of them, 'Solemnemente, carneirissimamente' ['Solemnly, very sheepishly ...'] Pessoa violently attacked the passing of the Anti-Freemasonry law in the National Assembly on 5 April 1935. (73) On 29 July he wrote 'Sim, e o Estado Novo, e o povo ...' ['Yes, it's the New State, and the people ...'], a poem in ten mordant stanzas that demolishes one by one the main themes of the regime's propaganda machine. (74) The poem scoffs at its ideology, make fun of corporativism and the National Union and also take a shot at the Catholic Church while devoting special attention to the 'directives' Salazar wanted to enforce on writers and artists. Pessoa had already written a sextet on the theme of 'directives' in March:
Mata os piolhos maiores [You say that drug Essa droga que tu dizes Kills the bigger lice Mas inda ha bichos peores. But there are even worse creatures. Ve la se arranjas veneno See if you can't get a poison (Ou grande ou medio ou pequeno) (Big, medium-sized or small) Para matar directrizes. To kill directives.] (BNP / E3, 129-52av) (75)
In August, he wrote a satire about the newly-opened Emissora Nacional radio station, which broadcast Salazar most of the time. It started off:
Para a gente se entreter [To entertain us folks E nao haver mais chatice And end this boring stuff Queiram dar nos o prazer Would they give us the pleasure De umas vezes nos dizer Of sometimes telling us O que Salazar nao disse. What Salazar didn't say?] (BNP / E3, 66-55r) (76)
Also in August, Pessoa wrote a satire about the National Assembly, comparing it with the Lisbon Zoo. (77) Eventually on 8 and 9 November, his last two satirical poems about the New State appeared: the downcast 'Meu pobre Portugal ...' ['My poor Portugal ...'], (78) and a much reworked satire, which was also to be circulated clandestinely and anonymously, called 'Poema de Amor em Estado Novo' ['Love Poem in a New State'] and provocatively signed: 'O demo-liberalismo maconico-comunista' (79) ['The Masonic-Communist demo-liberalism'].
From February until his death on 30 November, Pessoa produced numerous notes, commentaries and political analyses, although none of them was published during his lifetime for reasons already mentioned. Apart from the dozens of notes and plans linked with Freemasonry as well as an important typewritten document already cited above, entitled 'Fernando Pessoa' and dated 30 March 1935, a kind of personal file generally referred to as 'autobiographical note' (see transcription in the Appendix), Pessoa left various other unpublished pieces of writing that reveal his political views. Some of these are relatively long, considering that his texts were usually only one to three pages in length.
Among these texts, one that should be mentioned first is a letter to the President of the Republic, General Oscar Carmona, who had been re-elected to serve a second mandate on 15 February. Pessoa addresses him as 'the only entity in this country whose authority can be considered legitimate.' (80) This diatribe seems not to have been either completed or sent. It mentions some of the themes in his satirical poems and makes a detailed reference to Salazar's speech about 'directives'. Pessoa says that the government, or powers that be, had, with this speech, the impudence to abandon 'all true politica do espirito'--when they should only consent to 'place the spirit above politics'--in order 'to threaten those who think that they should think through the head of the government, which does not have one' ['vir intimar quem pensa a que pense pela cabeca do Estado, que a nao tem.'] Addressing President Carmona, Pessoa also accuses Salazar of being 'unfit for the position he has taken on', of having no imagination or ideas, of lacking qualities needed for 'a throne on which he does not know how to sit'. Pessoa was even beginning to miss the good old chaotic days:
Chegamos a isto, Senhor Presidente: passou a epoca da desordem e da ma administracao; temos boa administracao e ordem. E nao ha nenhum de nos que nao tenha saudades da desordem e da ma administracao. Nao sabiamos que a ordem nas ruas, que as estradas, os portos e a esquadra [de guerra] tinham que ser compradas por tao alto preco--o da venda a retalho da alma portuguesa. (81)
[Matters have reached this point, Sr. President: the days of disorder and bad administration have passed; we have a good administration and order. And there's not one of us who does not miss the disorder and bad administration. We did not know that to have order in the streets, that the roads, ports and [war] fleet would have to be bought at such a high cost--the selling of the Portuguese soul piece by piece.]
In what seems to be the parting shot in this letter, he writes: 'It is really a New State, because this state of affairs has never been seen before' ['Realmente e um Estado Novo, porque este estado de coisas nunca / antes/ se viu.']--a theme repeated in the poem 'Yes, it's the New Sate and the people ...' (see transcription in the Appendix). The significance of what might have been an open letter to the President becomes clear with the words in an unfinished stanza dating from the same period in which Pessoa exclaims, as if appealing to the president to take action against the government's chosen direction:
Senhor General Carmona, [Senhor General Carmona, Que e feito da sua farda? What have you done to your uniform?] (BNP / E3, 66-54v) (82)
Another text, from August, is aimed at a speech, totalitarian in tone, by Justice Minister Manuel Rodrigues, entitled 'The political ethics of the New State'. The minister criticized 'art for art's sake, science for science's sake and politics for politics' sake'. Speaking against the 'professional politics' of the past, Rodrigues made an apologia for the new 'political ethics', focused on the common good, allegedly born with the advent of the New State. In a new 'ethical' framework, political activity would become a complement to every citizen's life, but always in the sense of collaboration and with a duty--that of 'intransigently defending' the New State. 'The citizen's first duty' in the New State was, however, that 'everyone should carry out properly the position they were entrusted with'. As an example, Minister Rodrigues stated that if an artist did not know how to create beauty, 'his activity is not useful and could be extremely harmful.' (83) This could be regarded as a variation on the theme of 'directives' for intellectuals and artists; evidently this is what Pessoa understood it to be and so he replied: 'Que um poeta tenha deveres de cidadao, esta certo; tem-nos, porem, como cidadao, nao como poeta' (84) ['That a poet has duties as a citizen is right; he has them, however, as a citizen and not as a poet']. Then he commented ironically: 'Quere o Prof. M[anuel] R[odrigues] que o poeta que escreve um soneto aos olhos ingenuos da Maria Francisca, faca entrar na carruagem, ahi pelas alturas do primeiro terceto, um elogio ao orcamento do Prof. Salazar?' ['Does Professor Manuel Rodrigues want a poet who's writing a sonnet to Maria Francisca's sweet eyes to slip in an accolade to Professor Salazar's budget at about the first tercet?']. Two months later, in the satirical 'Love Poem in a New State' (see transcription in the Appendix), Pessoa would indeed do exactly that! Pessoa's conclusion was that 'The nation is better served, as its literature is thereby enriched, by a great communist or immoral poet' than 'some poor devil and his wretched versifying' in praise of patriotic or moralizing themes:
Serve melhor a patria, pois lhe enriquece a literatura/as lettras, um grande poeta communista/anti-patriota ou immoral (85) do que um pobre diabo que verseja relesmente (86) em louvor (87) de Aljubarrota ou das Florinhas da Rua. (88) A third text, a French one, 'On l'appele parfois jesuite ...' ['They sometimes call him a Jesuit] (89) dated September, appears to have been written for publication in France, (90) and was one of his last political writings. Once again, this text provides a psychological profile of the dictator and reinforces the impression given in other writings that Pessoa did not acknowledge Salazar's subdued charisma nor did he foresee any great political future for the 'lettered villager' and 'seminarist'.
Intelligent sans souplesse, religieux sans spiritualite, ascete sans mysticisme, cet homme est bien le produit d'une fusion d'etroitesses: l'ame champetrement sordide du paysan de Santa Comba ne s'est qu'elargie en petitesse par son education de seminaire, par tout l'inhumanisme livresque de Coimbre, par la specialisation raide et lourde de son destin voulu de professeur de finances. C'est un materialiste catholique (il y en a beaucoup), un athee-ne qui respecte la Vierge.
('On l'appele parfois jesuite ...')
[Intelligent without flexibility, religious without spirituality, ascetic without mysticism, this man is plainly the product of a blend of narrownesses: the sordidly peasant-like soul of a countryman from Santa Comba only grew in small-mindedness with a seminary education, with all the bookish inhumanity of Coimbra, with his rigid and burdensome specialization for his much desired destiny as professor of finance. He is a Catholic materialist (there are many of those), a born atheist who respects the Virgin.
('On l'appele parfois jesuite ...')]
'Directives' about art and the limits to freedom of creation that Salazar wanted to impose were again the central theme, but now Pessoa based his comments on a recent interview with the dictator in the weekly newspaper, Les Nouvelles Litteraires. Once again also, the comments are filled with irony, which is what opposing the New State patently stirred in Pessoa. He says that with censorship the only thing that fictional freedom had left to do was 'to write sonnets to girls, especially brunettes'; since 21 February, however, because of Salazar's 'execrably despotic' directives, 'the sonnet to a blond girl should serve the New State'. To avoid such a convoluted solution, writers could write their sonnets directly to the ninety deputies in the National Assembly ... As for crime stories, they had become impossible seeing that there was no mystery: 'A character that was a democrat or liberal would be immediately identified as the criminal'. The French article ends with an exposition of what Pessoa considered to be the 'dilemma' of replacing Salazar: the lack of alternatives, the fear of communism or abrupt change. His replacement, 'be he who he may, would not be able to ban censorship nor institute other freedoms; there's been too much despotism for the likelihood of its being purely and simply suppressed without the risk of anarchy'.
Pessoa died on the last day of November 1935. On the occasion of his death, the cultural weekly newspaper Bandarra--set up that year by S.P.N. to tackle the intellectuals in the opposition--printed the whole text of O Interregno in their December and January editions (in fact Bandarra's two last editions). In 1935 Pessoa had disowned this 1928 work in his above mentioned 'autobiographical note' and said that it should be considered 'non-existent'. Antonio Ferro and his collaborators tried in this way to make Pessoa seem once again a visionary of the new political order, but now without any fear that the dead poet would contradict them. There is a hint here of the influence of Augusto Ferreira Gomes, an 'intimate' friend of Pessoa, formerly very active in the Nucleo de Accao Nacional and then working with S.P.N., the Diario da Manha and Bandarra. It was an underhand posthumous tribute to the poet and intellectual, whose political position in the last ten months was clearly directed against Salazar, the New State and 'Politica do Espirito'. In 1940, to crown this opportunist attempt to claim Pessoa for the regime, the Editorial Imperio, former publishers of Bandarra and connected to S.P.N., came out with a special edition of Pessoa's poem A Memoria do Presidente-Rei Sidonio Pais (which had originally appeared in 1920 in the Accao newspaper). By way of a preface, Pessoa's 'autobiographical note' was published for the first time, but strangely enough the whole section in which the poet disclaimed O Interregno was cut... Thanks to Editorial Imperio, this censored version of his 'autobiographical note' was the only one the public was to know until 1971. The biographer Joao Gaspar Simoes himself had this truncated version published in a series of editions of his Vida e Obra de Fernando Pessoa, even after 1971.
This article as well as all Pessoa's citations and poems were translated from Portuguese by Carole Garton, except in two cases, when the origi nal writings were in English, as indicated here in the footnotes. All trans criptions from original documents were examined by Jeronimo Pizarro.
INSTITUTO DE CIENCIAS SOCIAIS, LISBON
[without number] (ii)
Nome completo: Fernando Antonio Nogueira Pessoa.
Idade e naturalidade: Nasceu em Lisboa, freguezia dos Martyres, no predio no 4 do Largo de S. Carlos (hoje do Directorio) em 13 de Junho de 1888.
Filiacao: Filho legitimo de Joaquim de Seabra Pessoa e de D. Maria Magdalena Pinheiro Nogueira. Neto paterno do General Joaquim Antonio de Araujo Pessoa, combatente das campanhas liberaes, e de D. Dionysia Seabra; neto materno do Conselheiro Luiz Antonio Nogueira, jurisconsulto e que foi Director Geral do Ministerio do Reino, e de D. Magdalena Xavier Pinheiro. Ascendencia geral: mixto de fidalgos e de judeus.
Profissao: A designacao mais propria sera "traductor", a mais exacta a de "correspondente estrangeiro em casas commerciaes". O ser poeta e escriptor nao constitue profissao, mas vocacao.
Morada: Rua Coelho da Rocha, 16, 1.o dto., Lisboa. (Endereco postal--Caixa Postal 147, Lisboa).
Funccoes sociaes que tem desempenhado: Se por isso se entende cargos publicos, ou funccoes de destaque, nenhumas.
Obras que tem publicado: A obra esta essencialmente dispersa, por emquanto, por varias revistas e publicacoes occasionaes. O que, de livros ou folhetos, considera como valido, e o seguinte: "35 Sonnets" (em inglez), 1918; "English Poems I-II" e "English Poems III" (em inglez tambem), 1922, e o livro "Mensagem", 1934, premiado pelo Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional, na categoria "Poema". O folheto "O Interregno", publicado em 1928, e constituindo uma defeza da Dictadura Militar em Portugal, deve ser considerado como nao existente. Ha que rever tudo isso e talvez que repudiar muito.
Educacao: Em virtude de, fallecido seu pae em 1893, sua mae ter casado, em 1895, em segundas nupcias, com o Commandante Joao Miguel Rosa, Consul de Portugal em Durban, Natal, foi alli educado. Ganhou o premio Rainha Victoria de estylo inglez na Universidade do Cabo da Boa Esperanca em 1903, no exame de admissao, aos 15 annos.
Ideologia politica: Considera que o systema monarchico seria o mais proprio para uma nacao organicamente imperial como e Portugal. Considera, ao mesmo tempo, a Monarchia completamente inviavel em Portugal. Por isso, a haver um plebiscito entre regimens, votaria, embora com pena, pela Republica. Conservador do estylo inglez, isto e, liberal dentro do conservantismo, e absolutamente antireaccionario.
Posicao religiosa: Christao gnostico, e portanto inteiramente opposto a todas as Egrejas organizadas, e sobretudo a Egreja de Roma. Fiel, por motivos que mais adeante estao implicitos, a Tradicao Secreta do Christianismo, que tem intimas relacoes com a Tradicao Secreta em Israel (a Santa Kabbalah) e com a essencia occulta da Maconaria.
Posicao iniciatica: Iniciado, por communicacao directa de Mestre a Discipulo, nos trez graus menores da (apparentemente extincta) Ordem Templaria de Portugal.
Posicao patriotica: Partidario de um nacionalismo mystico, de onde seja abolida toda infiltracao catholica-romana, creando-se, se possivel for, um sebastianismo novo, que a substitua espiritualmente, se e que no catholicismo portuguez houve alguma vez espiritualidade. Nacionalista que se guia por este lemma: "Tudo pela Humanidade; nada contra a Nacao".
Posicao social: Anti-communista e anti-socialista. O mais deduz-se do que vae dito acima.
Resumo de estas ultimas consideracoes: Ter sempre na memoria o martyr Jacques de Molay, Grao Mestre dos Templarios, e combater, sempre e em toda a parte, os seus trez assassinos--a Ignorancia, o Fanatismo e a Tyrannia. Lisboa, 30 de Marco de 1935.
Fernando Pessoa [assinatura autografa]
Full name: Fernando Antonio Nogueira Pessoa.
Age and place of birth: Born in Lisbon in the parish of Martires, No. 4 Largo de S. Carlos (presently Largo do Directorio) on 13 June 1888.
Filiation: Lawful son of Joaquim de Seabra Pessoa and Maria Madalena Pinheiro Nogueira. Grandson on the paternal side of General Joaquim Antonio de Araujo Pessoa, who fought in the Liberal Wars, and Dionisia Seabra; grandson on the maternal side of Councillor Luis Antonio Nogueira, jurisconsult and general director of the Ministerio do Reino, and Madalena Xavier Pinheiro. Lineage: an assortment of nobles and of Jews.
Marital Status: Single
Profession: The most fitting designation would be "translator", the most exact would be "commercial translator". Being a poet and writer is not a profession but a vocation.
Address: Rua Coelho da Rocha, 16, 1o Dto. Lisbon (Postal address--Post Office Box 147, Lisbon)
Social functions undertaken: If this refers to public or high office, none.
Published work: Work is essentially dispersed between various sporadic publications and magazines for the time being. Among books or pamphlets that are considered acceptable are the following: "35 Sonnets" (in English), 1918; "English Poems I-II" and "English Poems III" (also in English), 1922, and the book "Mensagem", 1934, which was awarded a prize in the "Poem" category by the Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional. The pamphlet "O Interregno", published in 1928, defends the Military Dictatorship in Portugal and must subsequently be considered nonexistent. There's a need to review it all and perhaps repudiate a great deal.
Education: His father died in 1893 and his mother re-married in 1895 Commander Joao Miguel Rosa, the Portuguese consul in Durban, Natal, where he was educated. He won the Queen Victoria Prize for English style at the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1903 at the entrance examination at the age of 15.
Political ideology: He believes the monarchical system to be the most appropriate for a nation that is by its nature imperial as is Portugal. At the same time, he believes monarchy to be totally impracticable in Portugal. Subsequently, if there were a plebiscite to choose between regimes, he would vote, although sorrowfully, for the Republic. A British-style conservative, that is to say, liberal within conservatism and absolutely anti-reactionary.
Religious position: Gnostic Christian and therefore totally opposed to all organised Churches and, above all, the Church of Rome. Loyal, for the implicit reasons below, to the Secret Tradition of Christianity, with its close relations with the Secret Tradition in Israel (the Holy Kabbalah) and the occult essence of Freemasonry.
Initiatic position: Initiated through direct communication from Master to Disciple in the three minor degrees of the (apparently extinct) Templar Order in Portugal.
Patriotic position: Supporter of mystical nationalism in which all Roman Catholic infiltration is abolished and a new Sebastianism created, if possible, to replace it spiritually, that is if Portuguese Catholicism ever possessed spirituality in the first place. A Nationalist who is guided by the motto: "Everything for Humanity; nothing against the Nation".
Social position: Anti-communist and anti-socialist. The rest can be deduced from the above.
Summary of these last observations: To remember forever the martyr Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and fight everywhere and at all times his three assassins--Ignorance, Fanaticism and Tyranny.
Lisbon, 30 March 1935.
Fernando Pessoa [signature]
(1) <E> [[up arrow] Mas] (2) da [[up arrow] de] Presidencia [[up arrow] te] do Conselho
(1) 'BNP / E3' refers to Fernando Pessoa's Estate (E3) at the Portugal National Library (BNP). Text from c.1915, first published in Pessoa, Paginas Intimas e de Auto-Interpretacao, ed. by Jacinto do Prado Coelho and Georg Rudolf Lind (Lisbon: Atica, 1966), pp. 162-63. ['It's unacceptable that an artist should write patriotic poems, as it's unacceptable that a politician should write antipatriotic articles.']
(2) 'Fernando Pessoa', autobiographical note dated 30 March 1935, copy of the original belonging to the Fernando Tavora collection (see the Appendix).
(3) Alfredo Margarido tried in various articles to prove that Pessoa was right-wing, which had never been disputed. Not satisfied, he claimed without proof that Pessoa, whom he described as an admirer of Mussolini, had become an 'idol' to the national-syndicalists or Blue Shirts, the Portuguese political movement in the 1930s seen to be the closest to fascism, thereby implying that Pessoa's criticism of Salazar was grounded in his alleged extreme-right views. See his 'Nota curta para lembrar que Pessoa admirava Mussolini', in JL--Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias, 85 (21 February 1984).
(4) Unpublished letter to the director of A Voz, dated 28 January 1934, in defence of Freemasonry. First reprinted in Pessoa Inedito, ed. by Teresa Rita Lopes (Lisbon: Livros Horizonte, 1993), p. 327.
(5) See, among others, the following writings that we believe are still unpublished: 'A funccao da intelligencia e renegar as paixoes' (BNP / E3, 92-3r) and 'A intelligencia e a politica' (BNP / E3, 92-27r and 28r), a criticism in 1934 of Salazar's declarations. There is no evidence that Pessoa had read La Trahison des clercs by Julien Benda (1927), but it is very likely that he had at least known the book through a series of articles by Raul Proenca in the magazine Seara Nova between 1928 and 1930.
(6) Fernando Pessoa, O Interregno: Defesa e Justificacao da Ditadura Militar em Portugal (Lisbon: Nucleo de Accao Nacional, 1928).
(7) See the introduction by Joel Serrao, in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica (Lisbon: Atica, 1979), p. 98.
(8) Joao Gaspar Simoes, Vida e Obra de Fernando Pessoa, 4th edn (Lisbon: Bertrand, 1981), pp. 629 and 651.
(9) O Interregno, reprinted in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica, pp. 326-28. In 1935, Pessoa wrote that the work O Interregno should 'be considered non-existent' and added: 'The whole thing has to be reviewed and maybe a great deal of it repudiated.' ('Fernando Pessoa', autobiographical note).
(10) Militar<:>/.\ <ella> O
(11) <atravez a> como
(12) <verba> Salazar.
(13) Excerpt from 'Ha razoes para suppor ...', first published in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica, p. 385.
(14) Excerpt from a fragment entitled 'Interregno', first published in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica, p. 385.
(15) Excerpt from 'A clareza da intelligencia, a firmeza da vontade ...', unpublished fragment.
(16) Excerpts from the fragment 'Na baixa politica esta bem ...', first published under a wrong title in Pessoa Inedito, pp. 367-68.
(17) Que os <reforca e> nao corrige
(18) <verdadeiramente> deveras
(19) Excerpt from 'Mais valia publicar um decreto-lei ...', first published in Pessoa Inedito, p. 367.
(20) da ordem [[up arrow] das ordens]
(21) Excerpt from 'O Prof. Salazar tem, em altissimo grau ...', first published in Pessoa Inedito, p. 366.
(22) Fragment entitled 'Salazar', first published in Pessoa Inedito, p. 365.
(23) ao contrario <de todos os portug> dos portuguezes vulgares
(24) Excerpt from 'As qualidades mentais e morais necessaries ...', first published in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica, pp. 354-55.
(25) English text under the Portuguese title 'Interregno', which we believe to be unpublished yet.
(26) English text entitled 'Political Conditions in Present-Day Portugal', which we believe to be unpublished yet.
(27) English text under the title 'Democracy and Parliament', which we believe to be unpublished yet.
(28) <normally> [[up arrow] in fact [left arrow] really]
(29) English text in the original.
(30) <condicoes> [[right arrow] circumstancias]
(31) Excerpt from 'O livro e o periodico differem essencialmente ...', unpublished yet.
(32) Jose Blanco, 'A verdade sobre a Mensagem' ['The Truth about Mensagem'], in Steffen Dix, Jeronimo Pizarro, A Arca de Pessoa (Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciencias Sociais, 2007), p. 147. According to another version, it was the owner of the printing press who met the expenses. Both versions agree that it was not Pessoa who paid for the printing.
(33) Blanco, 'A verdade sobre a Mensagem', p. 147.
(34) Joao Ameal received an award for the collection of essays No limiar da Idade Nova (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade, 1934) in which he defended 'Catholic civilization of the West against the threat of communists, materialists and pantheists'.
(35) J. Ameal, 'Mensagem--versos de Fernando Pessoa,' Diario da Manha, 25 January 1935, p. 3.
(36) J. Ameal, 'Mensagem...', p. 3.
(37) Albano Nogueira, 'Uma iniciativa cultural,' Presenca, 40 (December 1933), p. 15.
(38) Arquivo da Assembleia da Republica, Assembleia Nacional, Book 1, docs. 123 to 142 (8 February 1935). This important document, still unpublished, is unknown in the New State historio graphy.
(39) 'Pela primeira vez na minha vida ...', first published in Fernando Pessoa, Da Republica, p. 419.
(40) <.>/;\ <E inutil recordar o que e essa [dagger]> era dirigido indirecta<mente>
(41) [section] | De ha <muito> [[up arrow] bastante] tempo que <e> [[up arrow] se tornou] preciso <visar> [[arrow] atacar]
(42) d<a>/o\ <Alma> [[up arrow] Espirito]
(43) de ha muito [[up arrow] desde sempre]
(44) <atacar> [[down arrow] contrariar]
(45) 'Publiquei neste jornal, em 4 de Fevereiro ...', unpublished manuscript.
(46) No author, 'A danca das horas' ['The Dance of the Hours'], Diario da Manha, 8 February 1935, p. 1.
(47) Jose Cabral, 'O projecto de lei sobre associacoes secretas. O sr. Dr. Jose Cabral responde ao artigo do sr. Fernando Pessoa' [The Secret Associations Bill. Dr. Jose Cabral replies to Sr. Fernando Pessoa's article], Diario de Lisboa, 7 February 1935.
(48) See envelopes 129 and 129A.
(49) e [[up arrow] ou]
(50) <para> [[up arrow]a uma Censura de que]
(51) <dedo> [[up arrow] dedinho]
(52) E [[up arrow] Mas] pelo dedo se conhece o <a>/A\nao.
(53) 'Quando o sr. ... soube do caso, limitou-se, primeiro ...', first published in Pessoa Inedito, p. 336.
(54) <escreva> [[up arrow] publique]
(55) <escrevo> [[up arrow] publico]
(56) <Em nao> Nao
(57) <sei> [[up arrow] e todos nos sabemos]
(58) 'Nao e que nao publique porque nao quero ...', first published in Paginas Intimas e de Auto-Interpretacao, p. 83.
(59) No author, 'Joao Gaspar Simoes--arauto da Presenca--toca apocalipticamente a trombeta da critica', Suplemento Literario do Diario de Lisboa, 8 February 1935, p. 7.
(60) No author, 'Uma grande jornada nacionalista' [A great nationalist day], A Voz, 25 February 1935, p. 6.
(61) No author, 'O chefe do governo presidiu a festa dos premios literarios' [The head of government presided over the literary prize-giving event], Diario da Manha, 22 February 1935, p. 7.
(62) 'O chefe do governo ...', p. 2.
(63) 'O chefe do governo ...', p. 1.
(64) 'O chefe do governo ...', p. 1.
(65) <Nao> Dos
(66) [. isto:]
(67) <susceptiveis, em dialectica sem argumentos, de> susceptiveis
(68) digo, <que nao> com igual fundamento, que nao sei.
(69) <Desconfio.> Confio.
(70) <Alem> [. <Aquem> . Alem]
(71) Unpublished fragment 'Nao sei por que razao se supos ...' (BNP / E3, 92L-94r) and its complement 'Sim, sou situacionista ...' (BNP / E3, 92L-89r to 90r), published in Pessoa Inedito, pp. 362-63.
(72) Typewritten version, signed 'A nostalgic dreamer of decline and decadence', first published by Jorge de Sena in Brazil, in the literary supplement of the Estado de Sao Paulo (20 August 1960), and in Portugal in Comercio do Porto and Diario Popular in May and June 1974. Only the first two poems are dated (29 March 1935) in the manuscript (BNP / E3, 63-7r), while the third poem could be from a little afterwards.
(73) BNP / E3, 66-58r, 59r, 60r. First published in Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, ed. by Luis Prista, Edicao Critica, serie maior, vol. i, tomo v (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2000), pp. 199 and 449.
(74) BNP / E3, 92U-30. First published by Jorge de Sena, Diario Popular (30 May 1974). Cf. Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, pp. 221-23 and 466-71. See complete translation in the Appendix.
(75) 'Mata os piolhos maiores ...', first published in Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, p. 197.
(76) First stanza of a poem entitled 'A Emissora Nacional', first published in Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, p. 198. For the genetic notes, see this volume of the critical edition.
(77) 'Dizem que o Jardim Zoologico ...' (BNP / E3, 63-37r), first published in Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, p. 228.
(78) Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, p. 246. First published in Pessoa Inedito, org. by Teresa Rita Lopes (Lisbon: Livros Horizonte, 1993), p. 379.
(79) BNP / E3, 63-51r to 53r. First published in Fernando Pessoa: O Ultimo Ano, org. by Teresa Sobral Cunha and Joao Rui de Sousa (Lisbon: BNP, 1985), pp. 134-39. Cf. Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, pp. 246-48 e 500-06. See complete translation in the Appendix (no English version is known yet).
(80) The first part of this letter (BNP / E3, 92M-28r to 33r) was published by Teresa Sobral Cunha in 'Fernando Pessoa em 1935. Da Ditadura e do ditador em dois documentos ineditos', Coloquio/ Letras, 100 (November-December 1987), pp. 125-26. Six other fragments of the manuscript (BNP / E3, 92M-41r to 43v and 92M-80r to 82r) were published in Pessoa Inedito, pp. 374-76. See Appendix.
(81) See in the Appendix the transcription of both parts of the letter to the President of the Republic, published together for the first time.
(82) First published in Poemas de Fernando Pessoa 1934-1935, p. 504.
(83) Manuel Rodrigues, 'A Etica Politica do Estado Novo' [Political Ethics in the New State], Diario da Manha, 18 August 1935.
(84) 'O sr. Ministro da Justica, que acumula esse cargo ...', unnumbered manuscript in Manuela Nogueira's keeping, still unpublished.
(85) <obsceno> [[up arrow] immoral]
(86) <mal> [[up arrow] relesmente]
(87) <favor> louvor
(88) Aljubarrota <e> [[up arrow] <ou>] <da instituicao da familia, /que alias nao sei o que seja./> ou das Florinhas da Rua. Nota: 'O sr. Ministro da Justica ...'. At the time this text was written, the Portuguese government was commemorating the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Aljubarrota. The Florinhas da Rua was a Catholic charitable institution for children.
(89) BNP / E3, 92V-73r to 96r, first published in French in Teresa Sobral Cunha, 'Fernando Pessoa em 1935 ...', pp. 127-31.
(90) A 1935 editorial plan of Pessoa's expects a text of his to be published in the Parisian weekly Les Nouvelles Litteraires.
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|Title Annotation:||Antonio de Olveira Salazar|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2008|
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