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Margaret Jull Costa

Margaret Jull Costa has been a translator for over thirty years and has translated the
works of many Spanish and Portuguese writers, including novelists Javier Marías, José
Saramago, Bernardo Atxaga, Maria Judite de Carvalho and Eça de Queirós, as well as
poets Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Mário de Sá-Carneiro, and
Ana Luísa Amaral.


Álvaro de Campos is a heteronym created by Portugal’s greatest modernist writer Fernando Pessoa. According to Pessoa, Campos was born in Tavira (Algarve) in 1890 and studied mechanical engineering in Glasgow (Scotland) though never managed to complete his degree. Orphaned at an early age, he embarked to the East in his early 20s where he became an opium addict, much like the Portuguese symbolist poet Camilo Pessanha (1867-1926). Back in Portugal, on a visit in the Ribatejo province, Campos met Alberto Caeiro—the literary master of Pessoa’s fictitious coterie. A dandy and flaneur, Álvaro de Campos read Blake, Whitman, and Nietzsche, among others. In his own day he was celebrated and slandered for his vociferous poetry imbued with Whitmanian free verse rhythms, his praise of the rise of technology and polemical views on the industrial civilization—also attested in manifestos, interviews and essays. Some of his most notable works such as the “Ode Marítima” [Maritime Ode], “Ultimatum,” and “Tabacaria” [Tobacconist’s Shop] were published during Pessoa’s lifetime. Fernando Pessoa didn’t end Campos’s life, so that this heteronym would survive his author who died in 1935.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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