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The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002
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"I plan to use this book every year in my course at Yale. Thanks for making it available." —K. David Jackson, Yale University
Top Customer Reviews
Pessoa is unlike any other writer you will ever read. The closest match to this book that I can think of is Augustine's Confessions, albeit a more lovely written, more moving, post-modernist, secular version of that classic. It is existential philosophy, literary theory, diary, poetry, dream journal and confession all wrapped into one. A profound and profoundly moving book which will leave you wondering why such an incredible writer and thinker remains so obscure. The book is written in snatches, better to be dipped into at leisure than read straight thru. You'll find yourself annotating passages, writing down qoutes, rereading sections endlessly. You'll begin to question the reality of your existence, if not your own sanity, if you read it too thoroughly.
This is truly Art of the highest order and should be read by every thinking person. I'd give it 6 stars if I could.
Let me first say this book is astonishing in every way. Written in a prose/poetry/diary format, the images and landscapes invade your imagination and stay with you. With imagary such as: "To drag my feet homeward weighs like lead on my senses. The caress of extinction, the flower proffered by futility, my name never pronounced, my disquiet like a river contained between the banks, the privilege of abandoned duties, and - around the last bend in the ancestral park - that other century, like a rose garden." (page 391)
At times, it reads like a beautiful suicide note. But just when you think he's ready to do himself in, he says: "In certain particularly lucid moments of contemplation, like those of early afternoon when I observantly wander through the streets, each person brings me a novelty, each building teaches me something new, each placard has a message for me." (page 297)
I would say that Pessoa was the greatest writer to never publish. And the greatest of poet-philosophers to never exist. His place in history is long overdue. He should stand with the likes Baudelaire and Goethe and tower over most 20th century authors.
In summary, Pessoa has invented a new language for the forgotten, the alienated, the damned, the dispossessed, the "disquieted". The "Book of Disquiet" is the greatest masterpiece never finished. Read it with caution. You may find yourself in love with words again.
These semi-autobiographical reflections are dominated by an all-pervading world-weariness and negation of ordinary life--a book of disgust, as it were--saved from out and out nihilism only by a sort of idealistic solipsism--a perverse counter-celebration of dream, inertia, solitude, impotence, and failure. From this unlikely recipe, Pessoa manages to distill a formula for taking a morbidly decadent pleasure from a total rejection of the bleak facts of human existence just this side of suicide!
The short texts that make up *The Book of Disquiet* range from philosophical speculations to surrealistic prose poems, from misanthropic diatribes worthy of Dostoyevsky's "underground man," to daily diary entries that reflect on a wide-range of everyday subjects. The result is an exhaustive if uneven and often repetitive text, although through no fault of Pessoa's inasmuch as putting together a finished book from these fragments was a project that eluded him in his shortened life. As an editor, what Zenith has done here--for better and for worse--is give us a text almost scholarly in its completeness. As such, there is a great deal of redundancy in this edition of *Disquiet.* It's hard to imagine that Pessoa wouldn't have cut and shaped a finished version differently.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read a few passages each evening. Love this book, will reference it for years to come.Published 25 days ago by Suzanne robinson
Astonishing and eloquent expressions of ennui. Pessoa expresses moods and feelings with a subtlety and precision not often encountered, though sometimes I found myself wishing he'd... Read morePublished 4 months ago by B Wilson
A famously amazing piece of writing. Bewildering and enlightening by turns. I saw an adaptation of this as a theater piece and was so haunted by bits of the dialog that I had to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by the eternal answering machine
A fascinating work of an interesting mind, The Book of Disquiet is not like any other book I've read. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ellen Archer
This book will mess with your mind, it's difficult to explain but something about Pessoa's writing brings you into his psyche. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Daniel
Well, i am still in the middle of it. It will probably take me ages to read it, since i am reading it slowly on purpose. Why am i reading it slowly, you ask? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sharon Riddick Groppi