Foreword (Richard Zenith)
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It took about fifty years for Fernando Pessoa, deceased in 1935, to be recognized as a major European Modernist and not just a Portuguese prodigy who wrote under many different names. A hundred years have passed since the death of Mário de Sá-Carneiro, who still tends to be confined to Portuguese Literature departments – even in Portugal. Mário de Sá-Carneiro, a Cosmopolitan Modernist seeks to pull him out of that fascinating but vision-skewing space, so that we can see the writer more completely, in his relations to the rich cultural and literary milieu of Paris in the lead-up to World War I; and more complexly, in his relationship to other Portuguese Modernists and to the Portuguese literary tradition. Sá-Carneiro was not a passive receptor of Cubism, Futurism, and the still lingering spirit of Decadence; he assimilated elements from these movements into his poetry and prose, making for a body of work that, while singularly his own, can be profitably juxtaposed with the work of other writers and artists from his generation.
In their introduction to this book, which helps to redress the comparative lack of critical attention paid to Mário de Sá-Carneiro, the editors point out that it would be absurd to exclude all talk of the writer who habitually overshadows him, Fernando Pessoa, for the simple reason that the work produced by the two men in the years 1913–16 was...
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