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After TranslationThe Transfer and Circulation of Modern Poetics Across the Atlantic$
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Ignacio Infante

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251780

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251780.001.0001

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/ Heteronymies of Lusophone Englishness: Colonial Empire, Fetishism, and Simulacrum in Fernando Pessoa’s English Poems I–III

/ Heteronymies of Lusophone Englishness: Colonial Empire, Fetishism, and Simulacrum in Fernando Pessoa’s English Poems I–III

Chapter:
(p.22) 1 / Heteronymies of Lusophone Englishness: Colonial Empire, Fetishism, and Simulacrum in Fernando Pessoa’s English Poems I–III
Source:
After Translation
Author(s):

Ignacio Infante

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823251780.003.0002

This chapter explores the notion of poetic transfer in the work of the modernist Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) by focusing on his relatively unknown English Poems (1921), a collection composed in English after Pessoa had been exposed to the educational system of the British Empire in colonial South Africa. Using various definitions of the fetish developed by Marx, Freud, and Giorgio Agamben, this chapter analyzes how Pessoa manages to turn the English language into a surprisingly malleable medium through which he alternately masks and expresses his differing libidinal impulses (hetero- and homosexual) by effectively re-creating his voice into a multiplicity of heteronyms or poetic personae belonging to different colonial empires (classical Greece, Renaissance England, and modern Portugal). The chapter explores Pessoa’s intensely erotic English Poems as a fetishized translation of the English poetic tradition—as mainly figured in the work of John Keats and Edmund Spenser—through which Pessoa carves out not only his own space within the English poetic tradition but also his hybrid postcolonial version of the English language.

Keywords:   Pessoa, Fernando, Heteronyms, Portuguese poetry, English poetry

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