The human soul is a madhouse of the grotesque.

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa

Profession: Author
Nationality: Portuguese

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If the office in the Rua dos Douradores represents Life for me, the second floor room I live in on that same street represents Art. Yes, Art, living on the same street as Life but in a different room; Art, which offers relief from life without actually relieving one of living.

If there is one thing I loathe, it's a reformer. A reformer is a man who sees the superficial ills of the world and proposes curing them by making the more deep-seated ills still worse.

To pretend is to know oneself.

I want to be a work of art, at least in my soul, since I can't be one in my body.

Inch by inch I conquered the inner terrain I was born with. Bit by bit I reclaimed the swamp in which I'd languished. I gave birth to my infinite being, but I had to wrench myself out of me with forceps.

Civilization consists in giving something a name that doesn't belong to it and then dreaming over the result.

The presence of another person derails my thoughts; I dream of the other's presence with a strange absent-mindedness that no amount of my analytical scrutiny can define.

The abstract intelligence produces a fatigue that's the worst of all fatigues. It doesn't weigh on us like bodily fatigue, nor disconcert like the fatigue of emotional experience. It's the weight of our consciousness of the world, a shortness of breath in our soul.

A disdain full of disgust for those who don't realize that the only reality is each man's soul, and that everything else - the exterior world and other people - is but an unaesthetic nightmare.

Civilization consists in giving an inappropriate name to something and then dreaming what results from that. And in fact the false name and the true dream do create a new reality. The object really does become other, because we have made it so.

O night in which the stars feign light, O night that alone is the size of the Universe, make me, body and soul, part of your body, so that—being mere darkness—I'll lose myself and become night as well, without any dreams as stars within me, nor a hoped-for sun shining with the future.

To be an illustration seems to me the only ideal worthy of a contemporary woman.

Only when night comes do I feel, if not happiness, at least some kind of repose which I experience as contentment.

Anyone who wants to be understood will never know the delight of being understood, because this happens only to the complex and misunderstood; simple souls, the ones whom other people can understand, never feel a desire to be understood.