Pessoa was born in Lisbon on June 13, 1888, in the elegant zone of Chiado. For family reasons, between his youth and adolescence, he lived in the British Empire, namely South Africa. This period (1896-1905) spent in the cosmopolitan city of Durban left a strong impression on his life. In 1915, Pessoa founded the magazine Orpheu, which introduced Modernism to Portugal. He changed residences frequently during the 1910s and also came to live in the Carmo zone, near Lisboa Pessoa Hotel. In 1920, he settled into an apartment in Campo de Ourique, in a building that today houses Casa Fernando Pessoa, an indispensable cultural center for anyone who wants to know who this man named Fernando Pessoa was.
The poet lived his anonymously, with little money, working as a translator of commercial documents. His absolute love was literature. He felt like a genius and constantly dedicated himself to his “mission.” He left little room for his own feelings, but at least one woman – Ophelia Queiroz – will remain in history as the girlfriend to whom the genius sent letters full of affection. Pessoa passed away on November 30, 1935, in Lisbon, leaving behind thousands of unpublished papers, one of the most brilliant works in the history of literature. In order to know who Fernando Pessoa was, one needs to read his texts, since, as Octavio Paz affirmed, a poet’s biography is their work.
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