Fernando PESSOA (1888 – 1935)
While Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa is internationally now known mostly for his masterpiece The Book of Disquiet, he was also an outstanding poet. 35 of his sonnets are collected in this volume. – Summary by Carolin
Fernando Pessoa, born Fernando António Nogueira de Seabra Pessoa (Portuguese pronunciation: [feɾˈnɐ̃du ɐ̃ˈtɔnju nuˈgɐi̯ɾɐ dɨ siˈabɾɐ pɨˈsoɐ]; June 13, 1888 – November 30, 1935), was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He also wrote in and translated from English and French. On 13 July 1893, when Pessoa was five, his father, Joaquim de Seabra Pessoa, died of tuberculosis. The following year, on 2 January, his younger brother Jorge, aged only one, also died. His mother, Maria Madalena Pinheiro Nogueira, married again in December 1895. In the beginning of 1896, he moved with his mother to Durban, capital of the former British Colony of Natal, where his stepfather João Miguel dos Santos Rosa, a military officer, had been appointed Portuguese consul. The young Pessoa received his early education at St. Joseph Convent School, a Catholic grammar school run by Irish and French nuns. He moved to Durban High School in April, 1899, becoming fluent in English and developing an appreciation for English literature. During the Matriculation Examination, held at the time by the then University of the Cape of Good Hope, forerunner of the University of Cape Town, in November 1903, he was awarded the recently-created Queen Victoria Memorial Prize for best paper in English. While preparing to enter university, he also attended the Durban Commercial School during one year, in the evening shift. Meanwhile, he started writing short stories in English, some under the name of David Merrick, many of which he left unfinished.