A Voyage in Immanence: Alberto Caeiro as an expression of Spinoza's Ethics

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This is an article published in the volume Literature and the Encounter with Immanence (published by Brill, New York/Amsterdam, 2017). I argue that the poet Alberto Caeiro (one of Fernando Pessoa’s invented poets or heteronyms) is an important literary expression of Spinoza’s philosophy. In making my case, I apply Deleuze’s concept of “a voyage in immanence” in defining Spinoza’s Ethics to Caeiro. The two qualities of the Ethics (abstract speculative quality and practical human experience quality) that make it a voyage in immanence are to be found transformed in the poetry of Caeiro. First, we have the great speculative themes far from human pain and confusion in his collection of forty-nine poems called “The Keeper of Sheep” [O Guardador de Rebanhos]; and then we have the second quality in the struggle in being human in accidental encounters, temporality, doubt, passions and falling in love - expressed in the eight ‘love poems’ called “The Shepherd in Love” [O Pastor Amoroso] and the seventy diverse poems grouped together as “Uncollected Poems” [Poemas Inconjuntos]. Thus, the essay is split into two parts according to the two qualities - “The Non-Teleological Journey” and “Every Victory is a Defeat” – to bring forth my argument that ultimately Caeiro is not only a great literary expression of Spinoza’s thought, but also and equally provides a subtle critique of Spinoza.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and the Encounter with Immanence
EditorsBrynnar Swenson
Place of PublicationNew York / Leiden
PublisherBrill | Rodopi
Number of pages25
EditionPhilosophy, Literature and Politics
ISBN (Print)97890-04-31192-3 , 97890-04-31193-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameValue Inquiry Book Series
PublisherBrill | Rodopi
ISSN (Print)0929-8436


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