urban literary-knot

Post Holiday-New Year Detox… January 3, 2009

The Book of Disquiet

 

It’s been one hell of a year, and right about now I’m desiring some good ‘heteronym’.  Mr Pessoa still remains relatively obscure here in the states, all the more reason to rekindle this genius work…

‘Like Kafka, Pessoa left his work in disarray, much of it to be published posthumously. And throughout Europe, Pessoa has already become a literary icon of postmodernism, as Kafka was of modernism. He is portrayed on postcards and bookmarks, and in Portugal he is even on the 100 escudo bill.

Much of Pessoa’s mystique comes from his unique practice of writing under different “heteronyms”. These heteronyms generated radically different texts, and Pessoa supplied them with distinct biographies, life spans, and even horoscopes. In The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa came as close as he would to autobiography. But the book is, like everything about Pessoa, an object of mystery. Left on disordered scraps of paper in a trunk discovered after the author’s death, the fragments that make up The Book of Disquiet have no fixed sequence, and therefore every reader must make out of it a different text. It is the ultimate postmodern novel: hypertext perfected long before the advent of the internet.’   -Exact Change

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