Fernando Pessoa and the Lyric: Disquietude, Rumination, Interruption, Inspiration, Constellation is an in-depth exploration of Pessoa’s major innovations in lyric writing and thinking. This book is an original contribution to comparative literature and poetic theory that puts Pessoa side by side with several other poets. It delves into Pessoa’s poetic theory, with an emphasis on Livro do desassossego and the heteronymic drama, and discovers new approaches to reading and appreciating the lyric. Such Pessoan literary concepts as disquietude, rumination, interruption, inspiration, and constellation are carefully examined in relation to a number of different poets, yielding unprecedented results in comparative poetics.
Irene Ramalho-Santos is Professor Emerita of English and Feminist Studies of the Faculty of Letters and Senior Researcher of the Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra.
Introduction. The Truth of Fiction
Chapter One. The “Great Book,” Caeiro, and Pessoa’s Theory of Poetry
Chapter Two. The Tail of the Lizard: Pessoan Disquietude and the Subject of Modernity
Chapter Three. The Art of Rumination: Pessoa’s Heteronyms Revisited
Chapter Four. Poetic Interruption: A Pessoan Concept for Reading the Lyric
Chapter Five. ‘The God That Was Missing’: Poetry, Divinity, Everydayness
Chapter Six. Modernist Muses That Matter. Inspiration in Pessoa and Stevens
Chapter Seven. The Truant Muse and the Poet’s Body
Chapter Eight. Orpheu et al. Modernism, Women and the War
Chapter Nine. The Accidental Bridge: Hart Crane’s Theory of Poetry
Chapter Ten. Being Blind . Being Nobody . Being a Poet: Emily Dickinson “Reads” Fernando Pessoa
Source of Texts
About the Author
In this collection of ten essays, two of them original to this volume, Ramalho-Santos returns to the work she did in Atlantic Poets (2003) by connecting Pessoa to American poets—Whitman, Stevens, Crane, and Dickinson. Each essay takes on one of the themes in the subtitle, with attention to Pessoa's Book of Disquietude and the heteronyms. To read these essays is to participate in an illuminating conversation and adventure, a broad consideration of Pessoa and his work across literatures and theories by an experienced scholar. Concepts of rumination and interruption are brought to Pessoa’s fragmented corpus. This book is for Pessoa scholars and advanced students of literature. Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
This is an exciting, even brilliant manuscript.The book will contribute significantly to the study of lyric poetry in general, opening up the objects of reading to include the voices of this extraordinary poet, and of the author, an extraordinarily eloquent and perceptive reader.
Fernando Pessoa and the Lyric begins with the traditional claim that every lyric poem spells out a theory of its own making, only to overturn that claim by showing how this theory is not only the making of the poem itself but also the rigorous unmaking of the poet-maker as an a priori subject. Practicing the very “kind of rigorous and detached surrender to language” that she identifies as the true North of Pessoa’s poetry, Ramalho-Santos brings his dispersed heteroynms to life within a constellation of Anglo-American poetry from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to Wallace Stevens and the Language Poets of the later twentieth century.
Irene Ramalho-Santos’s Fernando Pessoa and the Lyric is as forceful and elegant a contribution to Pessoa studies as its title appears humble. For, although at the centre of this — one of the most important new works on Pessoa.