A. Francisco de Paula Angard
Álvaro de Campos
António de Seabra
Barão de Teive
Charles James Search
Charles Robert Anon
Chevalier de Pas
Diniz da Silva
Dr. Gaudencio Turnips
Faustino Antunes / A. Moreira
Horace James Faber
Jean-Méluret of Seoul
Joaquim Moura Costa
José Rodrigues do Valle / Scicio
Luís António Congo
Morris & Theodor
Pedro da Silva Salles / Zé Pad
Rev. Walter Wyatt
Torquato Fonseca Mendes da Cunha Rey
Willyam Links Esk
Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher. He co-founded of the literary journal ‘Orpheu’ and art journal ‘Athena’ and owned of the publishing houses ‘Empreza Ibis’ and ‘Olisipo’. He is described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language.
Pessoa usually wrote at night, and while standing up. He would write poetry and prose, not only under his own name but often on behalf of others. These others were ‘heteronyms’, a literary concept invented by Pessoa. These heteronyms have their own supposed physiques, biographies and writing styles, some of them are relatives or know each other; they collaborate, and criticize and translate each other's works.
In Pessoa’s words: ‘I break my soul into pieces, and into different persons. A pseudonymic work is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality, as a person made up by him, just as the utterance of some character in a drama of his would be. I’ve divided all my humanness among the various authors whom I’ve served as literary executor, I subsist as a kind of medium of myself, but I’m less real than the others, less substantial, less personal and easily influences by them all.’
Pessoa started using pen names quite young. He had few friends and from early childhood had the tendency to create a fictitious world around him, surrounding himself with friends and acquaintances that never existed. His earliest heteronym, at the age of six, was Chevalier de Pas. Other childhood heteronyms included Dr. Pancrácio and David Merrick, followed by Charles Robert Anon, an English young man that became Pessoa's alter ego.
In 1906–1907, while studying at Lisbon's University, Alexander Search took the place of Anon. Search was also English, but born in Lisbon, like his author. Search represents a transition heteronym Pessoa used while trying to adapt to the Portuguese cultural reality.
According to translator Richard Zenith, Pessoa established at least seventy-two heteronyms. Pessoa himself said there were three main heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. These heteronyms possess distinct biographies, temperaments, philosophies, appearances and writing styles.
Pessoa collected the name of Alberto Caeiro from a Lisbon pharmacy called A. Caeiro. He created him on the 6th of April 1889 as the ‘Master’ of his ‘brothers’, this included Pessoa himself. Caeiro was a humble man of poor education, unemployed and living with his aunt in the countryside. He was a great naive poet; and although his poetry is full of philosophy, his great aim was a utopia of the intellect: not to think. He wrote ‘Poemas Inconjuntos’ [Disconnected Poems] and ‘O Guardador de Rebanhos’ [The Keeper of Sheep], both published by Fernando Pessoa in his literary journal Athena in 1924 and 1925. He died in 1915 of tuberculosis, for Pessoa, Caeiro's simplicity was too simple and therefore he was too difficult for him.
Ricardo Reis was a Portuguese classicist, poet and physician born in Oporto, on September 19th 1887. Reis attended a Jesuit boarding school where he received a classical education. Politically he was a monarchist, and in 1919 went into exile in Brazil after the defeat of a monarchical rebellion against the Portuguese Republic. Ricardo Reis reveals his Epicureanism and Stoicism in ‘Odes by Ricardo Reis’, published by Pessoa in 1924, in his journal Athena.
Reis outlived Pessoa, who died in 1935. In ‘The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis’ (1984), Portuguese Nobel prize-winner José Saramago, reconstructs the literary world of this heteronym after 1935, creating a dialog between Ricardo Reis and the ghost of his author.
Álvaro de Campos (1890) was a bisexual, unemployed naval engineer who had studied in Glasgow and now living in Lisbon. He was created in 1910 after the Portuguese republican revolution, he inherited his role from Alexander Search and Charles Robert Anon. He sailed to the Orient, living experiences he describes in his poem ‘Opiarium’. He also wrote ‘Lisbon Revisited’ (1923) and ‘Lisbon Revisited’ (1926), while unemployed in Portugal. His greatest works are ‘Tobacco Shop’ and his odes: ‘Ode Triumphal’ and ‘Ode Maritime’, published in the literary journal Orpheu, in 1915. Campos embraced Futurism and his poetry was strongly influenced by Walt Whitman and Marinetti. He was a decadent dandy, he smoked opium and drank absinthe. In him Pessoa invested all the emotion he never allowed in himself or in his living.
In a letter to Adolfo Casais on the 13th of January 1935, Pessoa writes: ‘How do I write in the name of these three? Caeiro, through sheer and unexpected inspiration, without knowing or even suspecting that I’m going to write in his name. Ricardo Reis, after an abstract meditation, which suddenly takes concrete shape in an ode. Campos, when I feel a sudden impulse to write and don’t know what. (My semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares, who in many ways resembles Álvaro de Campos, always appears when I'm sleepy or drowsy, so that my qualities of inhibition and rational thought are suspended; his prose is an endless reverie. He’s a semi-heteronym because his personality, although not my own, doesn’t differ from my own but is a mere mutilation of it. He’s me without my rationalism and emotions. His prose is the same as mine, except for certain formal restraint that reason imposes on my own writing, and his Portuguese is exactly the same – whereas Caeiro writes bad Portuguese, Campos writes it reasonably well but with mistakes such as ‘me myself’ instead of ‘I myself’, etc., and Reis writes better than I, but with a purism I find excessive...).’
The heteronyms dialogue with each other and even with Pessoa in what he calls ‘the theatre of being’ or ‘drama in people’. Sometimes they intervene in Pessoa's social life: during Pessoa's only attested romance, a jealous Campos wrote letters to the girl, who enjoyed the game and wrote back.
Pessoa interest in spiritualism was awakened in 1915, while translating theosophist books. This was further deepened in 1916, when he suddenly started having paranormal experiences, revealed through automatic writing. He also had ‘astral’ or ‘ethereal visions’ and was able to see ‘magnetic auras’ similar to radiographic images. Several times, when looking in the mirror, Pessoa saw what appeared to be his heteronyms: his face ‘fading out’, replaced by another.
Pessoa, also an amateur astrologer, created more than 1,500 astrological charts, of well-known people such as William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Robespierre, Napoleon I, Benito Mussolini, Wilhelm II and Leopold II of Belgium. In 1915 he created the heteronym Raphael Baldaya, a long bearded astrologer. He created horoscopes of his main heteronyms in order to determine their personalities.
On November 29, 1935, the forty-seven-year-old Pessoa died from cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol poisoning. Only one book was published in Portugal during his lifetime: ‘Mensagem’ [Message]; he left a lifetime of unpublished and unfinished work consisting of more than 27,000 manuscripts, in an almost illegible writing scrawled on notepads, loose sheets, receipts, newspapers, and toilet paper. His legendary last line of poetry was: ‘Give me some wine, because life is nothing.’
By taking leave of himself, becoming invisible to the extent that he could, Pessoa had been free to roam in contradiction, paradox, and complexity without being labelled as this or that kind of writer. He could hold up mirrors, play with them, and then smash them to bits. As Borges wrote in his ‘Ultra Manifesto’, the true artist does not reflect himself, but razes himself and creates from there. ‘Two aesthetics exist: the passive aesthetic of mirrors and the active aesthetic of prism. Guided by the former, art turns into a copy of the environment’s objectivity or the individual’s psychic history. Guided by the latter, art is redeemed, makes the world into its instrument, and forges – beyond spatial and temporal prisons – personal vision.’ In private life, Pessoa was a demure and awkward man. But his ‘personal vision’ as a writer was startling and brave, anything but ordinary.
List of Pessoa's heteronyms and their occupation and their relationship to each other:
– A. A. Crosse; author and puzzle-solver
– A. Francisco de Paula Angard; collaborator in O Palrador and author of 'Textos scientificos'
– Abilio Quaresma; character inspired by Pêro Botelho and author of short detective stories
– Adolph Moscow; collaborator in O Palrador, novelist and author of ‘Os Rapazes de Barrowby’
– Alberto Caeiro; poet, author of ‘O guardador de Rebanhos’, ‘O Pastor Amoroso’ and ‘Poemas inconjuntos, and master of heteronyms Fernando Pessoa, Álvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis and António Mora
– Alexander Search; poet and short story writer
– Alfred Wyatt; another brother of Frederick Wyatt and resident of Paris
–Álvaro de Campos; poet, prose writer and a pupil of Alberto Caeiro
– Anthony Gomes; philosopher and author of ‘Historia Cómica do Affonso Çapateiro’
– António de Seabra; literary critic
– António Mora; philosopher, sociologist, theorist of ‘Neopaganism’ and a pupil of Alberto Caeiro
– Barão de Teive; prose writer, author of ‘Educação do Stoica’ and ‘Daphnis e Chloe’
– Bernardo Soares; poet, prose writer and author of ‘The Book of Disquiet’
– Carlos Otto; poet and author of ‘Tratado de Lucta Livre’
– Cecília; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Charles James Search; translator, essayist and brother of Alexander Search
– Charles Robert Anon; poet, philosopher and story writer
– Chevalier de Pas; author of poems and letters
– Claude Pasteur; French translator of ‘Cadernos de reconstrução pagã’ conducted by António Mora
– David Merrick; poet, storyteller and playwright
– Diabo Azul; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Diniz da Silva; author of the poem ‘Loucura’ and collaborator in Europe
– Dr. Caloiro; collaborator in ‘O Palrador, reporter and author of ‘A pesca das pérolas’
– Dr. Gaudencio Turnips; English-Portuguese journalist, humourist and director of ‘O Palrador’
– Dr. Pancrácio; storyteller, poet and creator of charades
– Eduardo Lança; Luso-Brazilian poet
– Efbeedee Pasha; author of humoristic stories
– Faustino Antunes / A. Moreira; psychologist and author of ‘Ensaio sobre a Intuição’
– Federico Reis; essayist, brother of Ricardo Reis, upon whom he writes
– Frederick Wyatt; English poet and prose writer
– Gabriel Keene; author of a novel announced in ‘O Palrador’, called ‘Em Dias de Perigo’
– Gallião Pequeno; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Gervasio Guedes; author of the text ‘A Coroação de Jorge Quinto’
– Henry More; author and prose writer
– Herr Prosit; translator of ‘El estudiante de Salamanca’ by José Espronceda
– Horace James; English short story writer and essayist
– Ibis; character from Pessoa's childhood accompanying him until the end of his life, also signed poems
– Inspector Guedes; character inspired by Pêro Botelho and author of short detective stories
– J. M. Hyslop; poet
– Jean-Méluret of Seoul; French poet and essayist
– João Caeiro; son of Alberto Caeiro and Ana Taveira
– João Craveiro; journalist and follower of Sidonio Pereira
– Joaquim Moura Costa; satirical poet, Republican activist and member of ‘O Phosphoro’
– José Rasteiro; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of proverbs and riddles
– José Rodrigues do Valle / Scicio; collaborator in O Palrador, author of charades and literary manager
– Lucas Merrick; short story writer and perhaps brother David Merrick
– Luís António Congo; collaborator in O Palrador, columnist and presenter of Eduardo Lança
– Maria José; wrote and signed ‘A Carta da Corcunda para o Serralheiro’
– Marvell Kisch; author of a novel announced in ‘O Palrador’ called ‘A Riqueza de um Doido’
– Michael Otto; probably brother of Carlos Otto who was entrusted with the translation into English of ‘Tratado de Lucta Livre’
– Morris & Theodor; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Navas; translated Horace James’ ‘Faber’ in Portuguese
– Nuno Reis; son of Ricardo Reis
– Nympha Negra; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Pantaleão; poet and prose writer
– Parry; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Pedro da Silva Salles / Zé Pad; author and director of the section of anecdotes at ‘O Palrador’
– Pêro Botelho; short story writer and author of letters
– Pip; poet, author of humorous anecdotes and predecessor of Dr. Pancrácio
– Pipa Gomes; collaborator in ‘O Phosphoro’
– Professor Trochee; author of an essay with humorous advice for young poets
– Rafael Baldaya; astrologer, author of ‘Tratado da Negação’ and ‘Princípios de Metaphysica Esotérica’
– Rev. Walter Wyatt; possibly brother of Frederick Wyatt
– Ricardo Reis; poet, prose writer and author of ‘Odes’ and texts on the work of Alberto Caeiro
– Sableton-Kay; author of a novel announced in ‘O Palrador’, called ‘A Lucta Aérea’
– Sher Henay; compiler and author of the preface of a sensationalist anthology in English
– Tagus; collaborator in ‘Natal Mercury’ (Durban, South Africa)
– Thomas Crosse; English epic character/occultist, popularized in Portuguese culture
– Torquato Fonseca Mendes da Cunha Rey; deceased author of a text ‘Pantaleão’ decided to publish
– Uncle Pork; character inspired by Pêro Botelho and author of short detective stories
– Urban Accursio; collaborator in ‘O Palrador’ and author of charades
– Vadooisf; poet
– Vicente Guedes; translator, poet, director of ‘Ibis Press’ and author of a paper
– Wardour; poet
– Willyam Links Esk; signed a letter written in English on April 13, 1905
‘Heteronym’, Wikipedia, retrieved on 1 August 2013
‘Fernando Pessoa’, Wikipedia, retrieved 1 August 2013
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