Modernist Polyphonic Geographies of The Book of Disquiet

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Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet has recently become a landmark on the European modernist map. This paper proposes a spatial reading of TBOD through its three dislocalized categories of space: the identity who writes, the city it writes (Lisbon), and the books ultimately conformed by those writings. These spaces are placed in parallel with Paul Ricoeur’s three narrative categories proposed in Time and Narrative: prefiguration, configuration and refiguration. Pessoan spatial levels and Ricoeur’s three categories provide us with a basis to propose a cyclical spatial interpretation of TBOD. This paper aims to link the correspondences between different spatial levels of The Book, and to propose connections between spatial aspects of literature and the real world. In this case, for example, how a city can transform a book, and how a book can transform a city.


Fernando Pessoa, modernism, space, Ricoeur


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