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Pessoa-Crowley letters to be auctioned upsets Portugal’s literati

Posted By Psyche On Tuesday, June 17, 2008 @ 9:00 am In News & Shiny,Occulture | Comments Disabled

Aleister Crowley and Fernando Pessoa Play Chess [1] Fernando Pessoa [2] is said to be one of the greatest Portuguese poets of modern times; indeed, some say the four greatest poets, due to his penchant for writing under alter egos with distinct literary personalities all their own. Though when he died in 1935 he was virtually unknown.

When the poet died in obscurity in 1935, he left a trunk full of documents that included extensive correspondence with the eccentric English astrologist and magician Aleister Crowley, a practitioner of the occult said to have inspired satanism in Britain.

- Independant.co.uk, “Portugal angry over sale of papers ‘vital to nation’s literary heritage’ [3]

Pessoa’s heirs plan to auction his letters and papers, but Portugal’s National Library opposes the sale, deemed “vital to the nation’s literary heritage” and has warned it will “take all legal measures to stop the sale and dispersal of the archive”.

The dossier includes voluminous correspondence with Crowley, and hundreds of pages of an unfinished novel about Crowley’s faked suicide. The work is called Boca do Inferno, (Hell’s Mouth) after a rocky inlet near the Portuguese resort of Cascais.

Pessoa, intrigued by Crowley’s mysticism, struck up a correspondence with the Englishman. The flamboyant Crowley visited Lisbon in 1930, and the friends played chess together. Crowley then disappeared, leaving his cigarette case and a handwritten suicide note on the clifftop above the crashing waves at Hell’s Mouth.

It was a trick, apparently to elude a discarded lover. Crowley slipped across the border to Spain, emerged weeks later in Berlin and died in Hastings, Sussex, in 1947, penniless and addicted to heroin. Pessoa mounted a polemical play about the “suicide” and doubts swirled over his role in the affair, and the nature of his relationship with Crowley.

The Library argues that the dispersal of these papers would render a definitive study of the poet’s unpublished work virtually impossible.

Via LAShTAL.com [4].

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URL to article: http://ahrfoundation.org/2008/06/17/news-pessoa-crowley-letters-to-be-auctioned-upsets-portugal/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://ahrfoundation.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/aleister-crowley-chess-fernando-pessoa.jpg

[2] Fernando Pessoa: http://portugal.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=7051

[3] Portugal angry over sale of papers ‘vital to nation’s literary heritage’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugals-literati-up-in-arms-at-plan-to-sell-aleister-crowley-papers-846950.html

[4] LAShTAL.com: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Article1067.phtml

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