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Fernando Pessoa’s ‘The Book of Disquiet’ is being translated into Chinese

The posthumously-published work, in the form of fictional ‘factless autobiography,’ is considered an important part of Portugal’s literary canon.

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One of the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa’s best-known works is about to be translated into Chinese for the first time as part of an effort by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) to promote sino-luso literary exchanges. 

Jornal Tribuna de Macau reports that Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet will join works by other Portuguese-language authors (including Luís Vaz de Camões, Eça de Queirós and Macao’s own Henrique de Senna Fernandes) in the IC’s official Chinese and Portuguese Literature Collection.

Pessoa is considered a central figure of Portuguese modernism whose literary genius wasn’t fully recognised until long after his passing in 1935 at the age of 47. The Book of Disquiet wasn’t published until nearly 50 years later, in 1982. 

[See more: Henrique de Senna Fernandes exhibition honours the ‘guardian of Macao’s heritage’]

By and large a work of fiction, it is written in the form of an intimate, fragmentary diary belonging to “Bernardo Soares” – one of several pseudonyms under which Pessoa published his work.

The IC has not announced when the translation of The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa will be finished.

The Chinese and Portuguese Literature Collection spans a wide range of genres, including illustrated children’s books, the IC says. Its aim is to “break linguistic borders” as well as give readers access to “a richer and broader literary world.”

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