Embodying Pessoa: Corporeality, Gender, Sexuality
Published: October 2007© 2007
336 Pages, 6.25 x 9.33 x 1.04 in
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The multifaceted and labyrinthine oeuvre of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) is distinguished by having been written and published under more than seventy different names. These were not mere pseudonyms, but what Pessoa termed 'heteronyms,' fully realized identities possessed not only of wildly divergent writing styles and opinions, but also of detailed biographies. In many cases, their independent existences extended to their publication of letters and critical readings of each other's works (and those of Pessoa 'himself').
Long acclaimed in continental Europe and Latin America as a towering presence in literary modernism, Pessoa has more recently begun to receive the attention of an English-speaking public. Embodying Pessoa responds to this new growth of interest. The collection's twelve essays, preceded by a general introduction and grouped into four themed sections, apply a range of current interpretative models both to the more familiar canon of Pessoa's output, and to less familiar texts – in many cases only recently published. As a whole, this work diverges from traditional Pessoa criticism by testifying to the importance of corporeal physicality in his heteronymous experiment and to the prominence of representations of (gendered) sexuality in his work.