Sep 30

The Art of Being Portuguese?

by in What people are saying

Two of our 2004 guests were Margaret Atwood and her charming husband, Graeme, who came to “walk in Pessoa’s footsteps.”  I had always considered Pessoa a literary kook until then, but I’ve since come to think of him fondly.  This New York Times article has some amusing insights into Pessoa and the Portuguese psyche including:

“But he had a way of being that is distinctly Portuguese.” He paused to find the right words. “It has to do with everything and nothing — that we Portuguese can have everything, but still feel we have nothing.”

Portugal, he explained, had discovered half the world by the 16th century but still felt itself a failure for having not discovered the rest. The national mind-set, Mr. Lourenço said, is “a combination of megalomania and humility.”

… Mr. Lourenço gathered his thoughts one more time. “He is the most tragic of the Portuguese poets,” he said. “The pleasure of unhappiness is particularly Portuguese.”

Full article:  Portugal Holds on to Words Few can Grasp (NYTimes)
15 July 2008

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