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The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 287 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Pessoa died in 1935, a few years short of 50, he left behind a trunk of mostly unpublished writing in a variety of languages; his Lisbon publishers and variously translators are still sifting them. This perpetually unclassifiable and unfinished book of self-reflective fragments was first published in Portuguese in 1982, and it is arguably Pessoa's masterpiece. Four previous English translations, all published in 1991, were compromised either by abridgement, poor translation or error-laden source texts. While he's now a Pessoa veteran-having edited and translated Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems, the 1999 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation winner-Zenith's first pass at this book was one of the four misses. He bases this new translation on his own Portuguese edition of 1998, and has done an admirable job in bringing out the force and clarity in Pessoa's serpentine and sometimes opaque meditations. Pessoa often wrote as various personae (as Pessoa & Co. carefully demonstrated); Disquiet is no exception, being putatively the work of "Bernardo Soares, assistant bookkeeper in the city of Lisbon." Thus it is impossible to ascribe the book's anti-humanist logophilia directly to the author: "I weep over nothing that life brings or takes away, but there are pages of prose that have made me cry." That is just one of many permutations of similar sentiments, but the genius of Pessoa and his personae is that readers are left weighing each and every such sentence for sincerity and truth value.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“I can’t tell which of the three English-language editions of The Book of Disquiet I’ve read . . . most accurately conveys the style and spirit of Pessoa, but judging the English alone, Zenith’s translation is most compelling. . . . I want Pessoa to be as great as the version Zenith presents.” —Chris Power, New Statesman 

“A Modernist touchstone . . . no one has explored alternative selves with Pessoa’s mixture of determination and abandon . . . In a time which celebrates fame, success, stupidity, convenience and noise, here is the perfect antidote, a hymn of praise to obscurity, failure, intelligence, difficulty, and silence.” —The Daily Telegraph
 
“His prose masterpiece . . . Richard Zenith has done an heroic job in producing the best English-language version we are likely to see for a long time, if ever.” —The Guardian
 
The Book of Disquiet was left in a trunk which might never have been opened. The gods must be thanked that it was. I love this strange work of fiction and I love the inventive, hard-drinking, modest man who wrote it in obscurity.” —Independent
 
“Fascinating, even gripping stuff . . . a strangely addictive pleasure.” —Sunday Times
 
“Must rank as the supreme assault on authorship in modern European literature . . . readers of Zenith’s edition will find it supersedes all others in its delicacy of style, rigorous scholarship and sympathy for Pessoa’s fractured sensibility . . . the self-revelation of a disoriented and half-disintegrated soul that is all the more compelling because the author himself is an invention . . . Long before postmodernism became an academic industry, Pessoa lived deconstruction.” —New Statesman
 
“Extraordinary . . . a haunting mosaic of dreams, autobiographical vignettes, shards of literary theory and criticism and maxims.” The Observer
 
“Pessoa’s rapid prose, snatched in flight and restlessly suggestive, remains haunting, often startling, like the touch of a vibrating wire, elusive and persistent like the poetry . . . there is nobody like him.” The New York Review of Books
 
“This superb edition of The Book of Disquiet is . . . a masterpiece.”  —The Daily Telegraph
 
“I plan to use this book every year in my course at Yale. Thanks for making it available.” K. David Jackson, Yale University

 

 


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Product details

  • Publisher : Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (December 31, 2002)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 544 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0141183047
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0141183046
  • Item Weight : 13.1 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.02 x 0.96 x 7.72 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 287 ratings

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
287 global ratings
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars .... beautiful .... and useless?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Probably art
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5.0 out of 5 stars A life without events is a factless autobiography
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2.0 out of 5 stars Didn’t find this comic and repetitive nature made it grate
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