Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pessoa and Negative Capability

The original name for this diary or blog is Disquiet Thoughts and it is only fair that the inspiration be acknowledged.

The book of disquiet, written by Fernando Pessoa remains as one of its kind among literary masterpieces. Not meant for publication at first, it is a celebration of melancholy.Pessoa elevates it to an art.

At times brooding and dark, it is a recollection, a collage of memory.Each chapter so to say, reflects the author at his most pensive. It is difficult to describe the almost morbid languishing nature of his thoughts.Suffice it to say that each chapter carries forward a mood, a memory, a mix of memory and desire. one finds it hard to actually distinguish between memory and desire as both get wrapped under the inconstant fog of time and as it usually happens, one finds asking oneself and questioning the validity of all memory.

Memory is not always what happens. most of it is also what could have been. It is in this territory of mist, fog and dense desire that Pessoa pens down a remarkable anthology of melancholy. I find it hard to actually describe the impact of his thoughts. The book is an invaluable document of Lisbon, of life, of a kind of thinking and an attitude towards life.
it is a great book, one that needs to be read again and again. it never tires, it is never tiring. Some images are explosive and the sombre ones are the most decisive. It elevates to new heights the artistic attitude that Keats extolled, one that he called negative capability.
It is this negative capability, this gloomy and unhopeful cup that Pessoa holds to capture life's rain that should prompt the reader to celebrate and live a life of sadness and disquiet.

2 comments:

Alok said...

this book was on my reading list. thanks for reminding. will move it up! :)

KUBLA KHAN said...

The Book of Disquiet is really one of its kind. have you read his poems? he writes under different heteronymns and that is wonderfully insane and bizarre.
the Ricardo Reis novel by Saramago is a celebration of that heteronymn and one that is absolutely magical.