Here are five online resources of high quality, which are entirely free, where it is possible to read, admire and immerse oneself in the work of Fernando Pessoa. Here are the best websites where you can find the digitalized, organized, transcribed or edited texts of the most universal of Portuguese writers, to view, read and download.
Pessoa´s work is incredibly vast: he left around 27,000 papers in a legendary chest, at the time of his death on November 30, 1935; even today there are thousands of documents still to be published! Although no edition has yet been able to exhaust Pessoa´s work, there are already several high quality editions available, and, in addition to those on paper, there are also digitalizations (of manuscripts, typewritten documents, etc.) and free digital editions, such as the ones presented here.
The selection criteria were as follows: we chose projects carried out by universities or cultural institutions of recognized credibility; we gave visibility to websites that offer a good level of interactivity and navigability. We have given preference to ambitious projects that have made or promise to make a significant and lasting contribution to the worldwide community (and pluralistic, like Pessoa himself) of Pessoa readers. Wherever possible, we chose some bilingual or trilingual websites, for the benefit of non-lusophone browsers. We have selected either transcribed or easily readable editions of “pure” digitalisations of manuscripts and original documents, to show all of the beauty and magic of Pessoa´s materials and handwriting.
In addition to the 5 websites with Pessoa´s writing, we also offer a precious, unique and unforgettable resource to complement the reading and study of this great writer: the Fernando Pessoa Private Library!
1) Fernando Pessoa´s Legacy
Kept at Portugal´s National Library (BNP), Fernando Pessoa´s legacy is mostly made up of Pessoa´s original and autographed documents (manuscripts, typewritten documents, etc.). A small but important part of these documents have been digitalized and are available to consult and download on BNP´s own website, thanks to the technical coordination of Manuela Vasconcelos. This is the work of the heteronym Alberto Caeiro, the original copies of the book ´Message´ (published in 1934) and notebooks that belonged to Pessoa. Despite not showing the transcriptions of the documents, this website is a veritable treasure and is a deserved digital and institutional monument to this great writer’s work. Ideal for anyone who wants to start (to try) to decipher Pessoa´s writing and to delve into the magic of his original materials and penmanship.
Comment: Required step.
2) Pessoa Archive
Between 1997 and 2008 the Institute of Studies into Modernism at Lisbon´s Universidade Nova created this very useful website, which incorporates the MultiPessoa portal, and which is even nowadays the simplest and most complete tool to read Pessoa´s work online, based on paper editions which have been carefully transcribed and organised in digital format. The ease of navigation and searching, the intuitive organization (by heteronyms, themes, etc.), the high number of published texts and the possibility to download as a PDF, make the Pessoa Archive a project far from being out-of-date, despite some of the editions available having been challenged, in the market and in academia, by other more recent editions. The work is directed by Leonor Areal.
Comment: (it continues to be) very valuable
3) The Book of Disquiet Archive
Carried out by the Centre of Portuguese Literature at the University of Coimbra, edited by Miguel Portela, this digital archive is intended to be a collaborative project to edit and read Pessoa´s most read prose book in the world, The Book of Disquiet, partially published from 1913 onwards by its author and published as a book in 1982 for the first time. This very interesting website has published the original documents, four editions since published on paper (and reprinted here), a new transcript and allows the reader/user to produce their own virtual edition. Very original, relatively easy to navigate and ideal for comparing transcriptions and editions. For true enthusiasts!
Comment: disquiet 2.0
4) Digital Edition of Fernando Pessoa
This digital edition, created by the Project ´Wondering about Pessoa” at Lisbon´s Universidade Nova in collaboration with the University of Cologne, is a remarkable and very ambitious work which provides a series of scientific transcripts of each document, by showing and making the original documents in Pessoa´s estate available, as well as the work that he published when alive. It is very useful, both for researchers who work to edit and publish Pessoa´s work, and also for readers who want to discover in detail the labyrinthine, surprising and challenging work it takes to publish Pessoa´s work based on the original documents. This project, coordinated by Pedro Sepúlveda, is now in its initial phase and is one of the most avant-garde and technologically advanced attempts to publish Pessoa in the 21st century, sharing all of the complexity and fascination of publishing the work of the Lisbon genius with the public.
Comment: Pessoa in the future
5) Modern!sm: Fernando Pessoa
Again by the hands of researchers at Lisbon´s Universidade Nova, namely the IELT, and under the coordination of Fernando Cabral Martins, this is yet another digital Pessoa archive project that, although currently limited to Pessoa´s works on “poetic theory”, has the advantage of being part of a rich and comprehensive archive portal on the so-called Orpheu Generation, that is, the group of modernist writers and artists who, led by Pessoa, influenced Portuguese culture from their gatherings in the cafes of Lisbon, in the decade of 1910. An ideal place to read and study Pessoa, from the originals and with an immediate connection to the effervescent cultural and intellectual context in which his work appeared and began to assert itself: magazines, images, other artists, bibliographies, etc.
Comment: Digital literary café
Finally, last but not least, after the five websites containing Pessoa’s works and texts, we highlight and share another gem of the digital Pessoa universe …
+1) Fernando Pessoa´s Private Library
Projeto pioneiro coordenado por Jerónimo Pizarro, Patricio Ferrari e Antonio Cardiello, no contexto de
A groundbreaking project coordinated by Jerónimo Pizarro, Patricio Ferrari and Antonio Cardiello, in the context of a collaboration between the Casa Fernando Pessoa and the Centre of Linguistics of the University of Lisbon. The digitalization and online release of Fernando Pessoa´s private library in 2010 represented a small but great digital Pessoa revolution, allowing readers, enthusiasts and those who are curious, to be able to view, read and download about 1,300 original books (in JPG and PDF formats), which were read by Pessoa (or that belonged to him) during his lifetime. Most fascinating of all in this library is the presence of abundant notes, comments, underlining, and even poems and unpublished texts by Pessoa, that are written in the margins, on the back covers and on the pages of the books that Pessoa read, that intimately interact with, and which are, in several cases, part of his work. The library is very well organised and the portal includes study sheets and critical commentary. A veritable goldmine of culture to enter into the intellectual journey of the writer. The project is also part of the Casa Fernando Pessoa website.
And now … the only thing left to do is to wish everyone happy reading and a good, digital dive into the work of Fernando Pessoa!
Discover Lisboa & Pessoa, from Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, a themed boutique hotel inspired by Fernando Pessoa.