“The other I am”: Poetics of otherness in the works of Emerson, Whitman and Fernando Pessoa

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This text aims to elucidate the impact of Emerson’s and Whitman’s works in the construction of a poetics of otherness in Fernando Pessoa. Throughout Pessoa’s Archive and the Portuguese author’s Private Library one finds numerous clues that make it possible to attest the importance of the two American authors in the elaboration of Pessoa’s poetics. In addition to the copies of Whitman's poetry, one also find’s in the bibliographical collection of the Portuguese poet a volume entitled Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which presents traces of reading that lie at the base of Pessoa’s literary creation. We emphasise Emerson's essay “The Poet”, corresponding to a lecture given by Emerson in 1842, which was attended by Whitman and was of fundamental importance not only in the writing of the Leaves of Grass, but also in aspects of Pessoa’s poetics of otherness, namely the theoretical heteronymic texts, where it is possible to verify the absorption of numerous elements present both in Whitman and in Emerson. Thus, taking all these indications into consideration, we shall try to elucidate the extent to which the thoughts of Emerson and Whitman present fundamental data for the poetic genesis of Fernando Pessoa's heteronymic otherness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish Literature in the World
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Manuscript to Digital
EditorsAlcinda Pinheiro de Sousa, Alda Correia, Angélica Varandas, Maria de Jesus C. Relvas
Place of PublicationV. N. Famalicão
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9789897555657
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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