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Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) is perhaps the most engaging of the great Western modernists of this century. Born in Portugal but raised and educated in southern Africa, Pessoa wrote poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

George Monteiro provides refreshingly new interpretations of Pessoa's Mensagem (Message) and the modernist novella 0 Banqueiro Anarquista (The Anarchist Banker). But he is primarily interested in tracing Pessoa's influence on a wide range of contemporary writers.

Among those Monteiro finds putting Pessoa's work to their own surprising—and sometimes comic—uses are Joyce Carol Oates, Allen Ginsberg, John Wain, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and earlier poets including Thomas Merton, Edouard Roditi, and Roy Campbell. In addition, the complete text of Campbell's pioneering biocritical study of Pessoa is published here for the first time.

George Monteiro, professor of English and of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University, is also the author of The Presence of Camões: Influences on the Literature of England, America, and Southern Africa.

"An exceptional contribution toward the knowledge and study of the oeuvre and influence of Fernando Pessoa."—British Bulletin of Publications on Latin American, the Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain

"A fine piece of research. The chapter discussing Pessoa’s influence on myself is very original in its comparison of my novel Love in the Days of Rage and Pessoa’s novella, The Anarchist Banker, laying bare the enormous debt I owe Pessoa."—Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"Characterized by meticulous scholarship, clear writing, and attention to connections and relationships, the essays relate fascinating details about celebrated poets who discovered Pessoa and what they made of him."—Choice

"Shows that Pessoa has always enjoyed a secret reputation in the English-speaking world as a 'poet's poet'."—Parnassus

"Explores the responses of contemporary writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Allen Ginsberg, John Wain, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, to the work of the Portuguese-corn, South African-raised writer Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)."—American Literature

"By carefully weaving together literary history, unobtrusive biographical anecdote, and secondary sources With penetrating textual analysis, Monteiro makes this a fascinating narrative to read"—Francisco Cota Fagundes, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Fernando Pessoa, Southern African literature


Spanish Literature

The Presence of Pessoa: English, American, and Southern African Literary Responses
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