The Book of Concern

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Title: The Book of Concern

Author: Fernando Pessoa

Translator: Jahed Jahanshahi

Publisher: Look

Subject: Biography / Portuguese poets

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 335

Language: Farsi

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Introducing the book Concerns by Fernando Pessoa
The Concern is by Portuguese author and poet Fernando Pessoa (1935-1888). Pessoa wrote and revised the book gradually over a period of 20 years. But it died before its final edition.

In an excerpt from the book we read:
He was about thirty years old. He was stressed and tall. When he sat down, he bent and straightened exaggeratedly, but as he stood, his movements slowed down. It was somewhat unusual. But you do not dress with sheer carelessness.

His pale and awkward face could not even clearly show his pain. He pretended to be a difficult person, to be more precise, what pains did this face want to relieve more? – He seemed to be referring to things like deprivation, fear, and finally the calm that came from pain. Conditions that one can experience if one has experienced the hot and cold of the times.
He always ate a small dinner, and on the back, he smoked a cheap tobacco cigarette. He looked at the guests carefully, distrustfully, and in a special way, but with this in mind, he did not want to examine them with curiosity. Rather, he wanted to share them equally, without wanting to highlight their facial features or personality in detail. This trait, above all, aroused my interest in him.

When I looked at him more closely, I noticed that there was more or less a sign of tact in his face. There was a silent pain in his face. Pain that was difficult to recognize in the faces of others.
Coincidentally, I heard from one of the waiters at a restaurant that he was an employee of a nearby business. One day, something happened on the street under our window. The two young men were beating each other. At that moment, someone on the middle floor of the guest house, like me, went to the window, said something to him, and he answered in the same way. His voice resounded tired and hesitant, like a human being who does not expect anything, because waiting is completely useless.

Fernando Pessoa is a Portuguese author who worked on it for twenty years and was published 47 years after his death. The book is a collection of pieces written by Pessoa during these twenty years, which includes his life and thoughts.
Pessoa was in no hurry to write these pieces and wrote them calmly at the opportunity. He took notes of some, typed some, and left others in the form of drafts. This, among other factors, led to the publication of The Concern 47 years after the author’s death.

In his book, Fernando Pessoa presents the document and the wonder of man who suffers from his surroundings and himself. The first pieces of this book are from 1913 and the last ones are from 1934. On the back cover of the book is the content of the book and the author:

The initial content of the work is tied to symbolism. Subsequent sections, beginning in 1924 and ending in 1934, are based on historical material. Surprisingly, Pessoa first introduced the book as the work of a man named Vincent Guerres, but in 1930 Bernardo Suarez called the accountant the creator of the work, which is similar to his own.

The Book of Concern
This book consists of several pieces that are put together. The story of collecting these pieces is itself a long story told in the book’s introduction. The book, which consists of more than 300 small and large pieces, is Fernando Pessoa’s philosophical reflections on various subjects, which are generally ontological suffering, moralistic man, human origin, observation, the meaning of life, and so on.

The darkness and heavy space of the book’s writings can be seen in most of the pieces to the extent that it is considered heavier than Borges’s works. “Sorrow of existence”, which is also the author’s concern, is always conveyed to the audience. In the introduction of the book it is said about this:

No reader can escape the impact of the deep sadness that comes from this work alone. It is the sorrow of the universe that neither hopes nor expects, and everything adapts itself to the atmosphere of events in the outside world, such as the sun shining and the wind blowing, and moderates itself with the author’s subtle humor.
The book does not have a storyline and at first it seems that the pieces of the book are also very scattered, but it gradually becomes clear that the assistant accountant, Bernardo Suarez (who can be considered Fernando Pessoa himself), is constantly present in different parts and he Can be considered the main character of the book.

A person who works in the office looks at his boss and colleagues critically and constantly looks out of the office window, and in the middle we read his thoughts. The accountant first asks more than anything about the origin of man and the reason for human life, and after feeling doubt about everything, he returns to the literary art he believes in.
In general, the book of concern includes everything that the accountant deals with in daily life with a special look at his place in the universe. Pieces of the book may sometimes be your thoughts and feelings, and sometimes we may not have any idea or understanding of them, but a half century between us and the writings of the book can be one of the reasons for this. In fact, to better understand the book, one must know the space in which Fernando Pessoa was and the content of his book.

Symbolism has a special place in Pasua’s book, and in different parts of the book it must be seen for what purpose he has named different places, objects and characters. For example, in the book Dos-Duradores street, it is nothing but a real symbol of Portugal and helps the main character of the book to understand the meaning of life.
The bottom line is that Anxiety is not a simple book to read and is unlikely to be read by the average reader. However, as mentioned, some parts of the book may say exactly what you have been thinking about or looking for for a long time. But in order to understand what the author is trying to say, one must discover and understand the relationship between the different pieces of the book.

Excerpts from Fernando Pessoa’s book Anxiety
The destructive work of the previous generation had its effect so that in the world in which we were born, there was not the slightest security in the realm of religion, no reliance in the realm of morality, and no least peace in the political realm. We were born in fear of the transcendent and fear of morality and political turmoil. (Book of Anxiety – Page 23)

If the heart can think, it will stop beating. (Book of Anxiety – Page 27)

Just something beyond the stupidity that most human beings live by surprises me; And that is the wisdom that lies in this stupidity. (Book of Concern – Page 34)
Whoever manages his existence uniformly is wise. In that case, every small incident enjoys the blessings of a miracle. The lion hunter does not see any more adventure after the third hunt. For the uniformed chef of the inn, the scene on the street is more than the humility of John’s revelation. (Book of Anxiety – Page 36)

The worst thing about fantasy is that everyone supports it. The porter thinks of something in the dark, and during the day, between two missions, he fantasizes about the light pole. I know what comes to mind: the same thing that drowns me in the middle of filing accounts in the general office, the summer boredom of my quiet office. (Book of Anxiety – Page 58)

How good it is to be alone, one can talk to oneself loudly and walk, without being disturbed by looks, one can lean on one’s back in an unwanted dream! The whole house is turned into a farm and each hall benefits from the vast agricultural land. (Book of Concern – Page 70)

I create different characters in myself. I am constantly discovering people. Each of my dreams, as soon as it seems imaginary, is an embodiment of myself in the existence of another person. And he’s drowning in the dream, not me. In order to be able to create, I destroyed myself, so much so that I surrendered myself to myself, that I do not exist in myself except in an external form. I am a living scene in which various actors appear and perform various plays. (Book of Concern – Page 76)
Writing is a personal humiliation for me, but I can not get rid of writing. Writing for me is like an addiction I hate and still use. Like an ugly habit that I despise, but I can not get rid of it. (Book of Concern – Page 135)

To be pure is not to be noble or strong, but to be oneself. (Book of Concern – Page 162)

Some say life without hope is inconceivable, while others say life with hope is empty. For me, who now has neither hope nor doubt, life is just a superficial painting that surrounds me and I watch it with the slightest movement like a painter. Life is created just for the pleasure of our eyes. (Book of Concern – Page 177)

It seemed to me more like a lie when it was said yesterday that an employee of a cigarette stand had committed suicide. The unfortunate one was the same! All of us, all of us who knew him in the same way, like all those who did not know him, forgot all things. (Book of Anxiety – Page 196)
I have reached the point where grief becomes a person, a form of fantasy of my coexistence with myself. (Book of Anxiety – Page 238)

For most people, life is a torture they endure, without realizing it, something sad emerges from the happy curtain that resembles a joke, and man defines himself as he washes the corpse to bridge the silence of the night and his commitment to the awakened. To look at life as a valley of tears has always been fruitless to me: of course, life is a valley of tears, but they seldom shed tears in this valley. (Book of Concern – Page 270)

Art frees us from the pain of existence in a dreamy way. As long as we feel the suffering and humiliation of Prince Hamlet of Denmark, we do not feel our own suffering and humiliation – the common sufferings belong to us and are insignificant, because the sufferings are insignificant. (Book of Anxiety – Page 23)

Related books

1- Introducing the book  on YouTube

2- Introducing the book  in Aparat

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