Pessoa's Papers Up For Grabs

From The New York Times:

The latest brouhaha involving cultural property is unfolding here — and not, for a change, over stolen vases or precious war booty, but a poet’s correspondence. As usual, it’s a window onto a nation’s character. The elderly heirs of Fernando Pessoa, the exalted Portuguese writer, plan this fall to auction Pessoa’s correspondence with Aleister Crowley, the early-20th-century British mystic, mountaineer, writer and practitioner of black magic. Portugal's culture minister is among those who have shown distress in recent days about the letters’ leaving the country.

Already the heirs have sold several of Pessoa’s notebooks, which the National Library of Portugal bought last year. Since much of Pessoa’s work remains unpublished, scholars fear that dispersing his papers (he left behind some 30,000 of them, in trunks in his home) will make it harder to decipher what remains one of the trickiest and most voluminous legacies among the great writers of the modern era.

More here.

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