Fernando Pessoa: Message
Translated from the Portuguese by Jonathan Griffin
Published 15 September 2007
Paperback, 108pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15
The only collection of his work in Portuguese that Pessoa saw through publication was Mensagem (Message, 1934), a long sequence which on the face of it appears to be a series of poems on patriotic themes. While the poet is engaged with Sebastianismo, national myths, the "matter of Portugal", and perhaps the country's view of itself, as seen through school history books, there is something else at work here. As Jonathan Griffin argued: "Most of its poems go beyond patriotism: those in which King Sebastian figures are metaphors for the religious quest, and those about the ordeals of the seafarers dramatize the poet's inner perseverance." Helder Macedo tellingly argues that the emblematic Portugal of this sequence is in fact a further heteronym for the restless poet, another of his masks.
Jonathan Griffin's translation first appeared in 1992 from Menard Press / King's College London. This new edition retains Helder Macedo's introduction and also contains a revised foreword by Anthony Rudolf, the translator's literary executor, and publisher of Menard Press.
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