“The philosophical essays [of Pessoa] are thematically similar to Schopenhauer’s writings, especially his essay on free will, which Pessoa owned in a French translation. The writing style resembles Pascal’s Pensees, Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human, and even Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Remarks in that they are fragments on various philosophers and topics: rationalism, free will, causation, Pascal, Heraclitus, and Thomas Aquinas.
The essays will unlikely appeal to Anglo-American philosophers who eschew literary writing in favor of formal logic and linguistic analysis. Pessoa’s meditations are impressionistic and fragmentary, not rigorously argumentative. Thereby, he provides no deductive proofs or formulae. Rather, he provides notebook entries that show a brilliant mind at work—profound insights without logical apparatus.
The newly published essays will allow readers to explore Pessoa’s philosophy in the context of his work. Although Pessoa claimed to be a “poet animated by philosophy,” we can now consider him to be a philosopher, not merely a poet who researched philosophy. In this way, Pessoa was a poet-philosopher akin to W.B. Yeats, not like T.S. Eliot or Wallace Stevens, who wrote on philosophical themes.”
Read the whole review here.