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30 March 2010

Heteronyms

Gathered here for reference, the biographical details of Pessoa's heteronyms.

Alberto Caeiro, born Lisbon 1889, died of tuberculosis in 1915. Average height, and frail build, blond, blue-eyed. Only completed primary school. His parents died at a young age and he was brought up by an old great-aunt. The others, including Pessoa-himself, regard him as "o mestre", the master.

Alvaro de Campos, born Tavira, 15/10/1890 at 13:30. "Branco e moreno" (I'm not sure what that means), uses a monocle, brings to mind a Portuguese jew. He's 1.75m tall, thin, slightly hunched. Trained as a navel engineer, he has been around, stays in the best hotels, and drives a Chevrolet. There are three distinct phases to his work: the decadent, the futurist, and the apathetic. But Pessoa wrote the poems of the second stage first.

Ricardo Reis, born 1887 in Porto, jesuit-educated. Trained in medicine. After 1919 he goes into exile in Brazil, since he is a monarchist. Pessoa never killed him off, which is why Jose Saramago had to do it.

Bernardo Soares, who wrote O Livro do Dessassossego, is described as a semi-heteronym, a simple mutilation of Pessoa's own personality.

(All this is from the introduction to Poesias: Heterónimos, which in turn derives from a letter of 13 January 1935 from Pessoa to Adolfo Casais Monteiro).

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