"Pessoa is among the modernist giants in whose shadows we live and who made our century one of extraordinary poetic richness."—The New York Times
"Anglomaniac, myopic, courteous, evasive, dressed darkly, reticent and agreeable, a cosmopolitan who preaches nationalism, solemn investigator of futile things, humorist who never smiles but chills our blood, inventor of other poets and destroyer of himself, author of paradoxes as clear as water and, as water, dizzying: 'to pretend is to know yourself,' mysterious man who does not cultivate mystery, mysterious as the mid-day moon, taciturn phantom of the Portuguese mid-day—who is Pessoa?"—Octavio Paz
Fernando Pessoa was born in Lisbon in 1888. As a young man, he dropped out of university and made his living by translating, writing in avant-garde reviews, and drafting business letters in English and French. He began publishing criticism in 1912, creative prose in 1913, and poetry in 1914. He published his works under a variety of alter egos he called heteronyms—Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Alvaro de Campos, and nearly seventy others. He died in Lisbon, in 1935.