Sometimes there’s a forbidden mixing of worlds, a collision of universes. Like this thing I just found out about in the Verlag am Goetheanum’s pamphlet highlighting this season’s new books: they’re  publishing one of my favourite authors, Fernando Pessoa. How can this be, I ask, and I don’t know. Why do I have this feeling that it is somehow inappropriate? Such as when two separate realms of my life get confused. I want important things organised in an orderly fashion: Steiner in one drawer, Pessoa in another, rigidly kept apart. No, perhaps I’m just kidding. But still, isn’t it odd? Curiously, my fascination for Pessoa predates my interest in Steiner by several years. In fact, back then I was quite unaware of — or uninterested in — Pessoa’s esoteric leanings, which of course was just a weakness in my perception. In all those years since, though, I haven’t noticed a wide interest in Pessoa among anthroposophists — well, in fact, no such interest at all, as far as I can remember now. And then this!

I find their description of him delightful, perhaps especially in light of my own earlier inability to identify him as an esotericist at all:

Nicht zuletzt aber war er ein Esoteriker eigenster Prägung, dessen innere Biografie vom dauernden Erleben der Schwelle geprägt war.

His biography as an enduring threshold experience — that’s surely something!

Well, I very much recommend Pessoa to you. Richard Zenith, whom you can watch and listen to here, has made some lovely translations into English. Of course, I can’t read Portuguese, so I can’t compare. But they’re lovely.


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