the book of disquiet

The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
—  Fernando Pessoa, Book of Disquiet
I’m still obsessed with creating a false world, and will be until I die. […] in my imagination I line up the characters – so alive and dependable!– who occupy my inner life, and this makes me feel cosy, like sitting by a warm fire in winter. I have a world of friends inside me, with their own real, individual, imperfect lives.
—  Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
…tired of all illusions and everything about illusions—the loss of illusions, the uselessness of having them, the prefatigue of having to have them in order to lose them, the sadness of having had them, the intellectual shame of having had them knowing that they would have to end this way.
—  Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet


With the soul’s equivalent of a wry smile, I calmly confront the prospect  that my life will consist of nothing more than being shut up for ever in Rua dos Douradores, in this office, surrounded by these people.


I had great ambitions and extravagant dreams, but so did the errand boy and the seamstress, for everyone has dreams… .


Perhaps it’s my destiny to remain a book-keeper for ever and for poetry and  literature to remain simply butterflies that alight on my head and  merely underline my own ridiculousness by their very beauty.


I know that the day I’m made chief book-keeper to Vasques & Co.  will be one of the greatest days of my life. I know it with a prescient  bitterness and irony but I know it with all the finality that certainty can bring.


Fernando Pessoa - The Book of Disquiet