Fernando Pessoa, Mensagem
Parceria A. M. Pereira – 1934


Synopsis
Message was the only portuguese book Fernando Pessoa published in his lifetime and received the Antero de Quental prize, awarded by the Portuguese government.
Originally, the book title was Portugal. However, influenced by a friend, Pessoa considered Message a more appropriate title. The author chose the word inspired by a latin quote by Virgil, in Aeneid: “Mens agitat molem” that means “the spirit animates the matter”.
Eventhough the poet called this work “a little book of poems”, it’s in these pages that he looks at the mythical and glorious past of Portugal,  comparing it to the decay of the present, remembering the unique force of the Portuguese soul and its regeneration through the Fifth Empire.


Biography
With a short life that didn’t make to half a century, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was – and still is – the most universal contemporary poet of all. Born in South Africa, he started writing in English and it was in this language that he published three of the four books he released in his lifetime. In Portuguese, he only saw Message come to life – one year before he died.
Known for the multitude of personas that lived inside him, Fernando Pessoa fathered many heteronymous, with unique single lives and thoughts, like Ricardo Reis, Álvaro de Campos and Alberto Caeiro.
Harold Bloom, the famous critic, considered Pessoa a “Walt Whitman reborn”, including him as the 26th best writers of western literature. 


FunFacts
PESSOA WAS A POET AND A POLITICIAN
In addition to being a poet, Pessoa had some political roles, worked as a translator, journalist, literary critic, editor, publicist and even inventor. In a biographical note from 1935, Pessoa described his profession as follows: “The most proper designation will be 'translator', the most accurate being 'foreign correspondent in business houses'. Being a poet and writer is not a profession but a vocation.”

PESSOA IS KNOWN TO HAVE SOME PHOBIAS
Pessoa is known to have some phobias: he could not stand to be photographed, disliked to speak on the phone, and was terrified of thunder.

PESSOA'S HETERONYMS
He created numerous heteronyms, many with their own style, biography and even handwriting. Ricardo Reis, Alberto Caeiro and Alvaro de Campos are three of the best known.
One day, having arrived late for a meeting with writer José Régio, he said he was Álvaro de Campos and apologized that Fernando Pessoa could not attend the meeting.

THE STARS SAID THAT THE TWO COULD NOT MEET THAT DAY
The writer Cecilia Meireles, on a visit to Portugal, had as her greatest wish to meet Fernando Pessoa. The poet, however, did not attend the meeting and left Cecilia waiting for almost two hours. When she returned to the hotel, the writer found a copy of Message and a letter from Pessoa. In it, the poet apologized for not attending the meeting, justifying the absence with the fact that, according to him, the stars said that the two could not meet that day.

FERNANDO PESSOA WAS NAMED ONE OF THE 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONALITIES
In 2008, the International Bureau of Capitals of Culture named poet Fernando Pessoa one of the 50 most influential personalities in European culture, along with names such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart and Einstein.

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