Pessoa’s Heteronomy

Fernando Pessoa, 1910. © Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Born in 1888, raised between South Africa and Portugal, Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was and remains an enigmatic modernist Portuguese poet, who wrote predominantly in Portuguese and also English language.

As well as writing under his own name he is also known for using so-called ‘heteronyms’. The term ‘heteronym’ in this context is often confused or replaced with ‘alter ego’, ‘pseudonym’ or 'alias’ and similar, which negates the meaning of ‘heteronym’, and contradicts what Pessoa was in fact deploying. According to him, a ‘heteronym’ was an author with distinguished biography, point of view, opinion and also the style of writing. Most importantly a heteronym wasn’t a fictional character nor Pessoa himself.

Pessoa’s heteronomy is a definitive element that gives multitude and the foundation to the HP Collection, which consists of works made by Włodzimierz Umaniec’s heteronyms, with some exceptions.

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