Fernando Antonio Nogueira Pessoa (1888–1935) was a Portuguese Writer, Poet, and Translator. He has been described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century.
During his lifetime, he wrote not only under his own name, but also as the voices of over one hundred ‘others’. ‘Other’ writers and poets he created. Writers with independent intellectual lives, personas and opinions. Not pseudonyms, not aliases, he called them Heteronyms, they were, simply put, the writers creative altered egos, although Pessoa was not a simple man or a simple writer. There is an amazing depth, breadth and richness to his ‘Oeuvre’.
Then why haven’t I heard of him; you might be asking?
I hadn’t either, until a fortuitous introduction at University. My lecturer, overwhelmed by my many characters and voices who write on my behalf, suggested I might Fernando Pessoa interesting.
I did. Fernanda Pessoa turned my ‘upside-down-world’, the right way up.
Finally after so many years of struggling to understand why I write the way I do my writing style was defined.
In a review of a recent Pessoa biography, ‘Pessoa: An Experimental Life’ (Zenith, 2021), Alexander Adams said that ‘these ‘heteronyms’ seem to have freed him creatively and allowed him licence to intellectually position himself outside of his life experience’. (Adams, 2021). I completely relate to this.
More ‘ Pessoa & Me’ to come.
Adams, A. (2021, December 27th). Fernando Pessoa – shadow of a ghost. Retrieved from The Brazen Head: https://brazen-head.org/2021/12/27/fernando-pessoa-shadow-of-a-ghost/
Zenith, R. (2021). Pessoa: An Experimental Life. London: Allen Lane.