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Livro do Desassossego by Tinta da China
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Livro do Desassossego (original 1982; edition 1900)

by Tinta da China (Author)

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4,048572,235 (4.33)170
In the middle of the conversations with myself that make up this book, I often feel a sudden need to talk to someone else, so I address the light hovering, as it does now, above the roofs of houses...' Seated at his desk in the Lisbon's Rua Dos Douradores, Bernardo Soares, an assistant book-keeper, writes his diary - a self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his everyday life. This is the first translation of a classic of existential literature - a book acknowledged by the critics as 'the most beautiful diary of the century.… (more)
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Title:Livro do Desassossego
Authors:Tinta da China (Author)
Info:Tinta da China (1900)
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Work details

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa (1982)

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» See also 170 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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 |
Less than halfway through his bundle of tedium, Pessoa says

"Let the plotless novel come to an end"

If only …

Instead, Pessoa moans on and on for another half of his eternity.

It wouldn’t be so bad but Pessoa himself undermines his own work by attempting to dismantle such commonly held (and therefore suspect?) beliefs such as truth and opinion. Anyone who takes him seriously would therefore have to dismiss anything he says as worthless. I didn’t need to be forced.

It has been compared to Musil’s epic Man Without Qualities. That’s a stretch. Yes, they’re both authors focussed on how we cope with the tragedy of being human, but at least Musil can do more than have his protagonist stare out of a window.

Whereas Musil was a master of satire, Pessoa is a master of misery. Nothing is really praiseworthy, nothing is really beautiful, and nothing is really worth it in the end. Had we only The Book of Disquiet to inform our lives, there really wouldn’t be any point in going any further. Thankfully for us all, we have. ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 11, 2020 |
This is a slog for me. I did not enjoy it as a novel because it is not a novel. It is a collections of one man's thoughts. Fernando Pessoa is a Portuguese man and this so called book was published posthumously. Yes there are some interesting sentences, prose, but it is not a novel. It used up an entire month which I can only regret. This man may have been deeply depressed and I can only think that his family wants to make money off his writings. I am not sure the man would have wanted it published.

Some quotes;
1. Each autumn that comes brings us closer to what will be our last autumn;
2. How am I to know what evils I may cause when I give alms, or if I attempt to educate or instruct? In case of doubt, I abstain. I believe, moreover, that to help or clarify is, in a way, to commit the evil of intervening in someone else’s life.
3. Yes, tedium is boredom with the world, the malaise of living, the weariness of having lived; in truth, tedium is the feeling in one’s flesh of the endless emptiness of things.

This book is "tedium". I will not go back to read this though I could see using it to find some great quotes perhaps.

Rating is less than 1 star but slightly more than 0. ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 31, 2020 |
10, 71, 112, 128, 135, 136, 146, 149, 150, 160, 165, 169, 175, 193, 208, 227, 235, 237, 242, 245, 254, 255, 283, 311, 313, 317, 330, 345, 346, 359, 362, 363, 364, 381, 382, 393, 405, 412, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 444, 445, 466, 481 ( )
  andrew.malia | May 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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.
added by elenchus | editThe New Yorker, Adam Kirsch (Sep 4, 2017)
 
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.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Guardian, Nicholas Lezard (May 22, 2010)
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pessoa, Fernandoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adam, Alfred J. MacTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crespo, ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guedes, Vicentesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laye, FrançoiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pernu, SannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zenith, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.)
Quotations
To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

In the middle of the conversations with myself that make up this book, I often feel a sudden need to talk to someone else, so I address the light hovering, as it does now, above the roofs of houses...' Seated at his desk in the Lisbon's Rua Dos Douradores, Bernardo Soares, an assistant book-keeper, writes his diary - a self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his everyday life. This is the first translation of a classic of existential literature - a book acknowledged by the critics as 'the most beautiful diary of the century.

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"Il libro di Soares è certamente un romanzo. O meglio, è un romanzo doppio, perché Pessoa ha inventato un personaggio di nome Bemardo Soares e gli ha delegato il compito di scrivere un diario. Soares è cioè un personaggio di finzione che adopera la sottile finzione letteraria dell'autobiografia. In questa autobiografia senza fatti di un personaggio inesistente consiste l'unica grande opera narrativa che Pessoa ci abbia lasciato: il suo romanzo."
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