Fernando Pessoa

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Fernando António Nogueira de Seabra Pessôa, known mainly as Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃du pɨˈsoɐ]; b. June 13, 1888 in Lisbon, Portugal — d. November 30, 1935 in the same city at the Hospital of São Luís), was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic and translator, and one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century. The critic Harold Bloom has referred to him in the book The Western Canon as the most representative poet of the 20th century, along with Pablo Neruda. He was trilingual in Portuguese, English, and in French.

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Early years in Durban

Nothing had ever obliged him to do anything. He had spent his childhood alone. He never joined any group. He never pursued a course of study. He never belonged to a crowd. The circumstances of his life were marked by that strange but rather common phenomenon – perhaps, in fact, it’s true for all lives – of being tailored to the image and likeness of his instincts, which tended towards inertia and withdrawal.

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