«The Book of Disquiet»
by Bernardo Soares
Translated by Richard Zenith*
«To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarate, and the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however, retreats from life by turning it into a slumber. The other arts make no such retreat – some because they use visible and hence vital formulas, others because they live from human life itself.This isn't the case with literature. Literature simulates life. A novel is a story of what never was, and a play is a novel without narration. A poem is the expression of ideas or feelings in a language no one uses, because no one talks in verse.» p. 116
«I don't write in Portuguese. I write my own self.» p. 443
*Richard Zenith’s translations from the Portuguese include works by António Lobo Antunes and Fernando Pessoa. His «Fernando Pessoa & Co. – Selected Poems» won the 1999 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and his new version of Pessoa’s «The Book of Disquiet» was awarded the 2002 Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Prize. He is the author of «Terceiras Pessoas» (Third Persons) and has published his poetry in literary reviews. He lives in Lisbon.
(From «Archipelago books»)