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The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition

The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition (1982)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
4,153592,217 (4.34)174
'Kenties jonain päivänä tajutaan, että täytin kaikkia muita paremmin synnynnäisen velvollisuuteni vuosisatamme yhden aikakauden tulkkina. Ja kun se tajutaan, kirjoitetaan, että minua ei ymmärretty aikanani...' Fernando Pessoan pääteos Levottomuuden kirja syntyi vuosina 1913-1934, mutta ilmestyi ensimmäisen kerran vasta 1982. Kirjassa Lissabonin kaupungin apulaiskirjanpitäjä Bernando Soares tarkkailee valppaasti ja täydellisin lausein maailman menoa ja ennen kaikkea itseään.… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:Fernando Pessoa, modernism


Levottomuuden kirja (tekijä: Fernando Pessoa) (1982)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 59) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This was, frankly, a struggle, and I feel bad about that because so many have taken so much from the writings of Fernando Pessoa. I simply found it nigh-on impossible to latch onto much of what he was talking about. Stripped of characters and action, his thoughts seemed untethered and rambling. In places I found things to take away of value, but the effort I had to put into finishing this book was rarely rewarded. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Nov 8, 2021 |
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Without question a unique book. Compiled from scraps of paper the book consists of 437 fragments none more than a page or two in length and some as short as one sentence. Pessoa inscribed these words between the years 1917 and 1934 and not until well after his death were they discovered in a trunk filled with 25,000 pages of his writings.

The Book of Disquiet is presented as the diaries of two separate individuals: Vicente Guedes and the bookkeeper Bernardo Soares. Guedes is an isolated misanthrope, disconnected from the rest of daily human activity, caught up in his own dreary view of life. Soares, while of the same ilk – questioning the very meaning of existence – is connected to the daily routines of life in Lisbon. There he functions as an observer, flaneur, and bookkeeper for a textile firm yet, like Guedes, he is in fact quite isolated, living in his own thoughts which then determine his daily relationship to others and life itself.

These are both men who continuously, sometimes ad nauseum, question themselves, life, happiness, writing, and the vey act of living. One can not but assume that both Guedes and Soares are channeling some of the demons, Pessoa himself, lived with. While Pessoa worked himself as a bookkeeper, he was active in the literary space in Lisbon while living an isolated single life.

Guedes extols this lifestyle choice: “blessed are those who do not entrust their lives to anyone…all pleasure is a vice because seeking pleasure is what everyone does in life, and the worst vice of all is to do what everyone else does.”

What is often mesmerizing about reading The Book of Disquiet is the fact that anyone who has spent some time in self-reflection, questioning themselves or life itself, have come to similar thoughts. What usually occurs though is that we become, one could say, distracted by life, by relationships, seeking meaning and pleasure we go on with the illusion of life, pushing aside the doubts and sadness that both Guedes and Soares seem unable to do. Instead, they dwell in their miseries, in their thoughts and accept the limitations life provides. It is their honest human doubts that I as a reader identified with but also grew weary of. At times I found my thoughts drifting seeking relief from the totality of the vision Pessoa documents here within these pages.

To gather more the contexts and the brilliance of Pessoa’s writing. I again quote Guedes:

“Whatever you create for humanity is at the mercy of the cooling Earth. Whatever you left behind for posterity is either so imbued with your own ideas that no one will understand it or else is so typical of the age you are living in that other ages will not understand it, or else it will appeal to all ages, but will not be understood by the final abyss, into which all ages finally plunge.”

“We mere shadows, make gestures in the darkness. Behind us, the Mystery…we are all mortal, made to last only for a certain amount of time. Neither more or less. Some die as soon as they die, others live on for awhile in the memories of those who saw and heard them…however we are all of us surrounded by the abyss of time, which in the end consumes us…Life then is an interval…between what happened and what will happen, a dead interval between Death and Death.”

“He saw death arrive with no hope that it would bring a new life, he saw life pass with no hope for a better life beyond…he plunged into the darkness like someone going through a door, having reached his destination…he was guided by the same thing that makes roses bloom and the falling of leaves sad. Life has no better reason, nor death a better reward.”

It is ironic, that while reading these passages can indeed increase one’s sense of doom, it can also fortify us with the realities of our existence. Indeed, we are here but for a blink of time immortal, and knowing this we can endeavor to make the most of our lives, and in part what sustains us is being able to read the words of a great poet and narrator such as is Pessoa.

A case in point: as I was writing this review, I was interrupted to run a brief errand outside. Approaching the elevator, I met the elderly twin of a neighbor whose wife had been seriously ill.

While aware that she had made some minimal progress, I asked, “how is your sister-in-law doing?"

He answered” well she is still struggling, as you get older and get sick it doesn’t go as well” to which I perhaps lamely added, “Yes, that’s life. We make the best of it, life is still good”.

He replied” Yes. Life, whatever it is.”

Here in real lifetime was a confirmation of Pessoa’s words; “the Mystery”. Yes, for those of us who are conscious and self-reflective, we live with these existential truths. The Book of Disquiet once consumed will surely resonate as one sleepwalks through part of his day.

In the second phase we are introduced to Bernardo Soares, the bookkeeper is less isolated yet has the same existential dread as Guedes. Though “exploited” he appreciates his job, boss, and fellow employees.

Soares often documents his dreams and intimates that dreams are all we have, even awake we are like a dream, unconscious as a potted plant. Consumed in one continuous reading (over the course of two weeks) this book often left me awed by the language and depths of self-refection. In totality this is a poetic, philosophical and metaphysical work of art, raising questions about the existential meanings of a life cut short and limited by its own demise.

“All dreams are the same because they are dreams. May the gods change my dreams, but not my talent for dreaming”. It is helpful in context to know that Pessoa was well aware of Freud’s writing, psychoanalysis, and well-schooled in Theosophy and metaphysics.

Whereas Guedes was mostly morose bordering on hopelessness, Soares appears to also have a cynicism tempered with empathy: “All ideals and ambitions are just ravings of gossiping men…like me, they all have sad, exalted hearts…but all of them, poor things, are poets and seem to me…to drag with them the same misery of our common incongruousness. Like me, their future is already in the past.”

While the book is often repetitive, this adds to its density and the sense one gets of being immersed in the diarists’ world of thought. At times though, taken as a whole, the book can bemoan a dreariness to which the reader can grow tiresome.

Over a recent weekend spent (by the beach) with friends who I would not consider to be great readers, one talked of the thrillers he enjoys reading mentioning Daniel Silva and Andrew Gross, writers who produce page turners with good guys and bad guys, with plots that twist and turn.

“I love conspiracies”, my friend said and, as I turned back to Pessoa, I wondered at its lack of direction, its circuitous self-reflection, never ending self-doubts and came across this passage…
Soares questions: “did I say I reread these pages? I lied. I didn’t reread them. I can’t. What good would it do me? It’s some other person there. I no longer understand any of it…my book of random impressions.”

My friend asks, “what is that you’re reading?”

What do I say? How to describe The Book of Disquiet?

“It’s a book with no plot. It takes place between the ears in a man’s mind. His self-reflections on the meaning of life…mystical…philosophical…a poet searching for antidotes to life’s banality.”

Clearly this is a book for readers who are intrigued with exploring the depths of life’s mysteries.

Pessoa, writing as Soares, distinguishes himself from others: “I think what creates in me the deep sense I have of living out of step with others is the fact that most people think with their feelings whereas I feel with my thoughts… [spoken like a true cognitive psychologist] …for the average man, to feel is to live, and to think is to know that one lives. For me, to think is to live, and to feel just provides food for thought.”

Yet as much as Soares swears to thought over feelings, he falls again into the abyss:
“I am filled like the sea at high tide, by a feeling worse than tedium…a feeling of desolate desolation, as if my entire soul were shipwrecked.”

I was struck on more than one occasion how Pessoa’s image of The Abyss contrast to the image most associated with Jorge Luis Borges, The Labyrinth. For me the difference between the two maestros speaks to a variation and difference these contemporary writers.

Pessoa’s Abyss is a state one cannot escape from: "I'm falling through a trap door, through infinite, infiniteness space, in a directionless empty fall.” There is no hope. Fate is overriding and man is, but an aimless agent succumbed to a life that is lived between two states of death-prior to and after life.

Likewise Borges creates a Labyrinth; ambiguous and paradoxical, from which man’s imagination may never escape. Both Pessoa and Borges are mining the same realm yet using different metaphors. For me it comes down to a matter of style. Pessoa’s vison is dominated by a dreariness while Borges seems amused by a mystical muse. If asked to choose, I would pick the Argentine over the Portuguese.

Pessoa’s trunk full of 25,000pages represents a lifetime of compulsive writing.

“Like all great lovers, I enjoy the pleasure of losing myself…I often write without even wanting to think…letting the words caress me…certain pages of prose can reduce me to tears.”

In lieu of relationships Pessoa had his notebooks filled with thoughts, illusions, his creative writing to which he partnered in life, his spouse in lieu of a devoted wife.

Indeed, he writes elsewhere: “If a man writes only when he is drunk, I would tell him: DRINK. And if he were to tell me his liver suffers as a consequence, I would say: and what is your liver? It is a dead thing that lives only while you live, whereas there is no ‘while’ about the poems you write.” Having read a review of the recent biography of Pessoa by Richard Zenith I noted a critique that Zenith failed to explore Pessoa’s alcoholism.

For Pessoa the only possible afterlife appears to be the life affirming trunk he left behind.
Creativity, as Soares portrays it, provides an empathic stance to balance the Abyss:

“Art consists in making others feel what we feel, in freeing them from themselves, by offering them our own personality as a liberation.”

In the realm of art Pessoa (as Soares) explores “hypersensitivity…I’ve never loved anyone. What I have loved most have been sensations…I am nothing except an abstract center of impersonal sensations, a sentient mirror fallen from the wall…I don’t know if this makes me happy or unhappy., and I don’t very much care.”

Elsewhere he celebrates the “nostalgia for our lost childhood” as the one thing that enables us to communicate to others in the human realm.

That forgotten sense of awe we felt when we first innocently discovered joy; I am reminded of my toddler grandson, the first time he ate French toast dipped in maple syrup, a sense of joy, his body momentarily trembled as he lifted his head in ecstasy, and turned to strangers at the next table with an infantile pronouncement, unintelligible in words, yet immediately translatable: pure joy, pure ecstasy as if he had experienced his first orgasm.

The totality of The Book of Disquiet can indeed be "disquieting". Entering the worlds of Guedes/Soares/Pessoa is a daunting task. I was both mesmerized and exhausted when I came to the end. There was so much to digest that I had to write such a long review; my way to capture its essence before I returned my copy to the New York Public Library (they have but 1 copy to loan out).

One cannot review The Book of Disquiet without mentioning the monumental task left to those who sifted through Pessoa’s trunk. The translator Margaret Jull Costa took on this task working in part from an Italian translation by the novelist Antonio Tabucchi.

As I was composing this review, I came across an interview with Costa from The Paris Review and was amused that Jull Costa says, “I think it’s actually a great mistake to read it straight through. Dip and skip is definitely the best approach, with The Book of Disquiet”.

However, you decide to read The Book of Disquiet you will not be disappointed.
( ( )
  berthirsch | Aug 19, 2021 |
A collection of short prose pieces — a kind of diary — from the thirties, which Pessoa attributes to one of his heteronyms, "Bernardo Soares", supposedly a somewhat antisocial, depressed bookkeeper in an import/export business in Lisbon's Baixa. Soares reflects paradoxically on the benefits of not engaging with real life, social interactions, love, travel, the literary world, and all the rest: he steadfastly maintains that it's far more satisfying to live your life in dreams and imagination; better to have boredom to dream about escaping from than to achieve something that leaves you disappointed. Rather a negative position, but Soares argues it with a great deal of humour and irony, and this is a book with a quotable sentence or two on every page. Indeed, its supreme quotability is perhaps what undermines it a bit: it can feel at times as though you are reading a tear-off calendar. The solution seems to be to take it slowly, almost as if it were actually a calendar.

Like much of Pessoa's work, this was published posthumously, so there are a lot of arguments about which parts really belong to the book, which are meant to be by Soares and which by Pessoa, and so on, and various rival English translations based on different editions of the original text. You can have endless fun with that, if you want... ( )
  thorold | Jul 18, 2021 |
Pessoa is one of my favourite authors and I am looking forward when they get around to compiling the rest of his scraps of writing bundled in the thousands from his big old chest. "The Book of disquiet" is not just disjointed prose but a travel-log of thought, for me it is the moment you put up the umbrella when it is raining and the moment you put it down when the rain stops, if that makes any sense, it is that between thought.

I actually had someone reading over my shoulder on a long train journey whilst reading this book, and they had to ask before I got off who the author was. ( )
  RupertOwen | Apr 27, 2021 |
Una importante laguna en el conocimiento de uno de los mayores poetas europeos de nuestro tiempo ha sido colmada con la publicación...
  socogarv | Feb 14, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 59) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In addition to the size and the disorder of the Pessoa archive, there is another confounding level of complexity: it is, in a sense, the work of many writers. In his manuscripts, and even in personal correspondence, Pessoa attributed much of his best writing to various fictional alter egos, which he called “heteronyms.” Scholars have tabulated as many as seventy-two of these. His love of invented names began early: at the age of six, he wrote letters under the French name Chevalier de Pas, and soon moved on to English personae such as Alexander Search and Charles Robert Anon. But the major heteronyms he used in his mature work were more than jokey code names. They were fully fledged characters, endowed with their own biographies, philosophies, and literary styles. Pessoa even imagined encounters among them, and allowed them to comment on one another’s work. If he was empty, as he liked to claim, it was not the emptiness of a void but of a stage, where these selves could meet and interact.
Pessoa was mostly a poet and The Book of Disquiet can be read, if you wish, as a series of notes for poems as yet unwritten; or prose poems, of a kind, themselves. If all this sounds rather vague then that is because Pessoa wished it so. To read and then contemplate him is to be lifted a little bit above the earth in a floating bubble. One becomes both of the world and not of it. There's no one like him, apart from all of us.
Here in the famously striving city I’d been infected by a book whose credo, if it has one, is that “Inaction is our consolation for everything, not acting our one great provider.” ... Reading a page or two a day, I would find myself curiously preoccupied along certain lines for a week or more—weird: in the sunlight I’d been thinking constantly of rain—and then the topic would change and, like a spell of weather, move on.

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (39 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Pessoa, Fernandoensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Adam, Alfred J. MacKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Costa, Margaret JullKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Crespo, ÁngelKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Guedes, Vicentemuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Laye, FrançoiseKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Pernu, SannaKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Zenith, RichardToimittajamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Ensimmäiset sanat
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I'm writing to you out of sentimental necessity - I have an anguished, painful need to speak with you. It's easy to see that I have nothing to tell you. Just this: that I find myself today at the bottom of a bottomless depression. The absurdity of the sentence speaks for me.
I was born in a time when the majority of young people had lost faith in God, for the same reason their elders had had it—without knowing why. (Penguin Classics ed., trans. Zenith, skipping the Preface.)
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.
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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (3)

'Kenties jonain päivänä tajutaan, että täytin kaikkia muita paremmin synnynnäisen velvollisuuteni vuosisatamme yhden aikakauden tulkkina. Ja kun se tajutaan, kirjoitetaan, että minua ei ymmärretty aikanani...' Fernando Pessoan pääteos Levottomuuden kirja syntyi vuosina 1913-1934, mutta ilmestyi ensimmäisen kerran vasta 1982. Kirjassa Lissabonin kaupungin apulaiskirjanpitäjä Bernando Soares tarkkailee valppaasti ja täydellisin lausein maailman menoa ja ennen kaikkea itseään.

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