The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture / Tagus Press is a multidisciplinary international studies and outreach unit dedicated to the study of the language, literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. Working in close partnership with the Department of Portuguese and the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, it is the oldest of these units devoted to Portuguese at UMass Dartmouth.

Events - 2010

The UMass Dartmouth Graduate Program in Portuguese (MA & PhD) announces

Fernando Pessoa and the Portuguese New State circa 1930

A lecture by Richard Zenith Lisbon-based Pessoan scholar, translator and writer

Thursday, November 18, 2010, 5:00 PM
Arts & Sciences Dean’s Conference Room, 397-D. Parking lot 1.
All welcome! Pizza and refreshments at 4:30 PM.

Richard ZenithAbstract. Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) lived in the most politicized and volatile period of Portuguese history. In the thirty-year span of his adult life, the poet watched Portugal go from a monarchy to a republic to quasi-anarchy to a military dictatorship and, ultimately, to a civilian dictatorship led by Salazar and denominated the Estado Novo (New State). Pessoa’s attitudes toward those various political regimes are almost never entirely clear, and his take on and relationship to the Estado Novo have been subjects of intense debate ever since his book Mensagem (1934) received a government-sponsored prize awarded to poetry with a “nationalist” feeling. There is no doubt that Pessoa, in the last year of his life, came to despise the New State, but on what grounds? And why did he initially seem favorably inclined to Salazar? What was the relationship of his political stances to his broader world vision and to the literature he cultivated?

Richard Zenith, born in Washington, DC, is a long-time resident of Portugal, where he works as a free-lance writer, translator, researcher and critic. He is responsible for numerous editions of Fernando Pessoa’s works, including Livro do Desassossego (Assírio & Alvim) and the recently published Obra Essencial de Fernando Pessoa, in seven volumes. Author of a Fotobiografia de Fernando Pessoa, he has also published poems and a book of short stories, Terceiras Pessoas. His translations from Portuguese, Brazilian and Lusophone African literatures range from medieval poetry to contemporary writing and include various Pessoa titles, such as The Book of Disquiet and A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems, both available from Penguin. He is the recipient of several prestigious translations prizes, including the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets for his translation of Education by Stone by João Cabral de Melo Neto and the American PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Fernando Pessoa and Co.

As part of Richard Zenith’s visit to Massachusetts he will also give a talk on Pessoa, “Translating Fernando Pessoa and His Personas,” at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Wednesday, November 17 at 5:30 PM; for further information, please contact Valéria M. Souza at