Richard Zenith

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Richard Zenith (born February 23, 1956, Washington, D.C.) is an American-Portuguese writer and translator, winner of Pessoa's award in 2012.


He graduated from the University of Virginia, in 1979.[1] Has lived in Colombia, Brazil, France and Portugal since 1987. He has Portuguese citizenship.[2][3]

Considered by many personalities[4] a Fernando Pessoa's expert (former[5] Secretary of Culture Francisco José Viegas called him "one of the greatest")[6] has translated into English language the poet's works as much as defending Pessoa's poetry in English. Has also translated Antero de Quental, Sophia de Mello Breyner, Nuno Júdice, António Lobo Antunes, Luís de Camões among other writers.[7]

Organized the hugely successful Fernando Pessoa, Plural como o Universo exposition, alongside Carlos Felipe Moisés, dedicated to Pessoa's life and heteronyms, in Lisbon's Gulbenkian Foundation,[8] São Paulo's Museum of Portuguese Language[9][10] and Rio de Janeiro's Centro Cultural Correios.[11]





As a result, there can be no definitive edition of The Book of Disquiet. Written on and off over a period of more than 20 years, seemingly beginning as a book by another of Pessoa's heteronyms, Vicente Guedes, and slowly evolving into the imaginary testament of Soares, it is a dishevelled album of thoughts, sensations and imagined memories that can never be fully deciphered. Any version is bound to be a construction. In his notes on the text, Richard Zenith recognises this and suggests that readers "invent their own order or, better yet, read the work's many parts in absolutely random order". Despite this disclaimer, readers of Zenith's edition will find it supersedes all others in its delicacy of style, rigorous scholarship and sympathy for Pessoa's fractured sensibility.[13]


  1. ^ "Richard Zenith", Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009.
  2. ^ "se tornou cidadão de Portugal por dedicação e louvor a uma obra, a de Fernando Pessoa, uma literatura, a nossa, e uma língua, a portuguesa". Publico newspaper online (in Portuguese). December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ "he has had Portuguese nationality". Up Magazine. November 1, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Inês Pedrosa's statement, director of Fernando Pessoa's House, on Zenith's award". TSF (in Portuguese). December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ pt:XIX Governo Constitucional de Portugal
  6. ^ "um dos melhores". Francisco Jose Viegas' blog "Origem das espécies" post (in Portuguese). December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Instituto de Estudos sobre o Modernismo, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (in Portuguese) |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (in Portuguese) |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  9. ^ (in Portuguese) Retrieved December 14, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Museu da Língua Portuguesa (in Portuguese) |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Agência Brasil (in Portuguese) |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ John Gray (28 May 2001). "Assault on authorship. Fernando Pessoa invented at least 72 fictive identities. His jostling aliases, argues John Gray expressed his belief that the individual subject – the core of European thought – is an illusion". The New Statesmen.