Fragments of the Future: Pessoa’s Orpheu and the Athenaeum


  • Pedro Sepúlveda


Fernando Pessoa understood literary work as a project always to be realized, as a fragment of a pursued but never achieved totality. His publications in the journal Orpheu, together with his numerous earlier editorial projects, reveal a particular understanding of the fragment that can be applied to his work as a whole. It links to the concept of the fragment as developed by Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, particularly in the versions published in the Athenaeum, the founding journal of German romanticism, which Pessoa knew through a French edition of Novalis’s fragments. This essay analyzes commonalities and differences in the concept of the fragment in these works, distinguishing Pessoa’s by showing how the fragment in his writing is not an aesthetic program but the result of a failure






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