Fernando PESSOA; correspondence part I.

June 12, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

An excerpt from The Selected Prose of Fernando PESSOA

Edited and Translated by Richard Zenith


ABEL’s, 25 September 1929

Dear Miss Ophelia Queiroz:

An abject and sorry individual named Fernando Pessoa, my dear and special friend, has asked me to communicate to you–since his mental state prevents him from communicating anything, even to a split pea (a notable example of obedience and discipline) — that you are hereby prohibited from:

1) losing weight

2) eating too little,

3) not sleeping

4) having a fever,

5) thinking of the individual in question.

As the sincere and close friend of the good-for-nothing whose message I have (reluctantly) undertaken to communicate, my own advice to you is to take whatever mental images you may have formed of the individual whose mention is sullying this reasonably white paper and to throw it down the toilet, since it is materially impossible for such a Fate to befall the pseudohuman entity who would justly deserve it, if there were justice in the world.

Respectfully yours,

Alvaro de Campos

Naval Engineer

26 September 1929

Dearl little Ophelia,

I’m not sure you like me, and that’s why I’m writing you.

Since you said you’d avoid seeing me tomorrow until between quarter after five and five thirty at the streetcar stop that’s not that one there, I’ll be there waiting.

But since the engineer Alvaro de Campos will be with me for most of tomorrow, I’m not sure I can avoid his company–which at any rate is pleasant–during the ride to Janelas Verdas.

This engineer, who’s an old friend, has something to say to you. He refuses to give me any details, but I hope and trust that, in your presence, he’ll see fit to tell me, or tell you, or tell us, what it’s all about.

Until then I’ll remain silent, respectful, and even expectant.

Till tomorrow, sweet lips,



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