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May 8, 2007

The Book of Disquiet — by Fernando Pessoa [1888-1935]


In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless autobiography, my lifeless history. These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it's because I have nothing to say.

I was born in a time when the majority of young people had lost faith in God, for the same reason their elders had had it — without knowing why.

For those few like me who live without knowing how to have life, what's left but renunciation as our way and contemplation as our destiny?

I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I'm given and the soul I was given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek.

Sadly I write in my quiet room, alone as I have always been, alone as I will always be. And I wonder if my apparently negligible voice might not embody the essence of thousands of voices, the longing for self-expression of thousands of lives, the patience of millions of souls resigned like my own to their daily lot, their useless dreams, and their hopeless hopes.

To express something is to conserve its virtue and take away its terror.

I'd woken up early, and I took a long time getting ready to exist.

The mere thought of having to enter into contact with someone else makes me nervous. A simple invitation to have dinner with a friend produces an anguish in me that's hard to define. The idea of any social obligation whatsoever — attending a funeral, dealing with someone about an office matter, going to the station to wait for someone I know or don't know — the very idea disturbs my thoughts for an entire day, and sometimes I even start worrying the night before, so that I sleep badly. When it takes place, the dreaded encounter is utterly insignificant, justifying none of my anxiety, but the next time is no different.

May 8, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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This is a great book from a true Portuguese genius! If you liked this one, you must read the other heteronyms - Ricardo Reis, Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos are as different as snow flakes, but as complex as it comes.

Thank you for the post. I feel proud to be Portuguese because of personalities like Fernando Pessoa :) And by the way, congrats on your work with the blog!

Posted by: Nolwe | May 8, 2007 11:51:34 AM

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