Fernando Pessoa and the Russian World

Fournier Kiss, Corinne (2020). Fernando Pessoa and the Russian World. Pessoa Plural - A Journal of Fernando Pessoa Studies(18), pp. 124-165. Brown Digital Repository, Brown University 10.26300/n8hg-az69

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A cursory view of Fernando Pessoa’s work shows little emphasis upon either the people or culture of the Slavic world. His overt statements on them are rare, and where such limited comments may be found in his writings, they tend to be disparaging. Most notably, Russia is placed at the bottom of the ladder of civilized nations: he variously observes that it “has no type of culture at all;” that it is comprised of a “half savage people that has no claim to civilization;” and that “in Russia, there is not even Russia yet.”
Do these recurrent assertions, often expressed as obvious conclusions which require no evidence or reasoning, really reveal Pessoa’s thinking about the Slavic world? Are they to be taken at their face value or viewed as jottings out of context? What drove his negativity, which seems so unnuanced in regard to these cultures and peoples? Was it lack of knowledge—for we know that Portugal had the most limited of first hand knowledge of Russia and the other lands of Eastern Europe until the close of the nineteenth century ?
Given some of these conflicting possibilities, some at least provisional answers to these questions require a closer look at Pessoa’s actual knowledge and interest of Slavic literature, politics, and religion. To these areas of inquiry we would like to turn in the frame of this project.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Fournier Kiss, Corinne


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 860 Spanish & Portuguese literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 890 Other literatures




Brown Digital Repository, Brown University




Corinne Ingrid Fournier Kiss

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2020 13:49

Last Modified:

14 Jul 2021 17:05

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

(Special issue)

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Russian literature, Chekhov, Evreinov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gorky, Anarchism, Kropotkin,Communism, Lenin, Genius and madness.





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