SEG a SEX 10h00 to 18h00
Clube de Tavira
exhibition of documents
…What I am today is like the humidity in the corridor at the end of the house, Streaking the walls with green mould… What I am today (and the house of those who loved me trembles through my tears), What I am today is that they have sold the house That they have all died, That I myself am surviving like a cold match.
In Aniversário, Álvaro de Campos
Exhibition of documents found by Rui Cansado Guedes in a chest of a descendent of relatives of Fernando Pessoa in Tavira.
NOTES ABOUT TAVIRA Álvaro de Campos
I finally arrived in the town where I spent my infancy.
I got down from the train, I remembered, I looked, I saw, I compared.
(All of this took the length of time of a tired look).
Everything was old where I was young.
And now – other shops, and other painted fronts to the same buildings,
A dark-yellow car I've never seen (there were none before)
Stagnates in front of a half-opened door.
Everything is old where it was new.
Yes, because even what is newest in relation to me means the rest being older
The house they newly painted is old because it is newly painted.
I stop in front of the landscape, and what I see is me.
I have imagined myself here before, splendidly aged 40 – Lord of the world –
But I'm 41 when I get down from the train [indolent?]
What have I conquered? Nothing.Nothing, that is, worth conquering.
I bring my tedium and my insolvency, physically making my suitcase heavier
Suddenly I proceed secure, resolutely.
I have got round my hesitation This town of my infancy is, in the end, a foreign city
(I make myself at home, as always, faced with what is strange, what means nothing to me).
I am a foreign tourist, transient.
It is clear; this is what I am.
Even in myself, oh God, in myself.
8-12-1931 Álvaro de Campos - Livro de Versos . Fernando Pessoa. (Edição crítica. Introdução, transcrição, organização e notas de Teresa Rita Lopes.) Lisboa: Estampa, 1993. - 154.
When we talk about Álvaro de Campos we talk about Fernando Pessoa, and when we talk about Pessoa, we are talking about the most universal poet of the Portuguese language, a language spoken by more than 273 million people all over the world. It seems to me that these three factors all by themselves justify Tavira’s claim, getting stronger every time, to the right to be a “Fernandian” city.
This small exhibition is part of a collection of documents from my family that have been discovered recently and that will help us to learn more about his family on his father’s side. Who were they, where did they live, what did they do, these Pessoa(s) from Tavira, cousins of the poet?
One part of this selection of documents was “forgotten” in an old safe (due to the fact that they were related to wills, shares, acquisitions and sales of properties, marriage and death registrations, among other family matters); another part was gathered in boxes that possibly would have ended up in the trash and would have been lost forever, were it not for the good sense of a family member of the poet who salvaged them and handed them to me.
Often it is a chance like this that is at the origin of great discoveries in the investigations we are working on and that, for so much time, have been just sitting there!
Initially, going through the documents was no more than a query into some bureaucratic subjects related to the Pessoa family, but, not much later, it became clear that the information about the Pessoas, family ties, assets, homes was abundant.
Not only did we get to know the cousin “Lisbela”, but also other family members on the side the author’s father, who certainly will have accompanied him during his travels to the city of Tavira.
We know that Fernando Pessoa visited Tavira more than once, the city where his grandfather was born, General Joaquim António de Araújo Pessoa as well as his uncle Jacques Cesário Pessoa.
It was in this Algarvian city that the author let his heteronym Álvaro de Campos be born (1890 – two years after his own birth) and Álvaro de Campos several times alluded to his adventures in his poems:
At the scoop-wheel in the garden of my house,
the donkey drives the scoop-wheel, drives the scoop-wheel
And the mystery of the world is the size of this.
All this time I have not taken my eyes off my distant dream
Of my house at the foot of the river,
Of my childhood at the foot of the river,
Of my bedroom windows giving out onto the river at night,
And the peace of the moonlight scattered on the water! ...
My old aunt, who loved me because of the son she lost,
My old aunt used to send me to sleep as she sang to me.
The old aunt the author refers to was probably Maria da Cruz Lampreia Pessoa, the wife of his uncle Jacques Cesário Pessoa, who saw three children die before she herself passed away (Alfredo Augusto Pessoa, José Firmino Pessoa e Olímpio Júlio Pessoa).
The river from his childhood that Álvaro de Campos mentions must have been the rio Gilão, while the house at the foot of the river could very well be the house of his aunt Maria da Cruz, that was situated in the Rua Borda d’Água d’Aguiar and had a view of the river that crosses Tavira.
In another poem, Álvaro de Campos refers to:
All the dead aunts make tea again.
In the old house of the old farmstead.
Stop, my heart!
Rest, my unreal hopes!
I wish I had never been except for the boy I was...
I sleep well because I simply sleep with no ideas to forget!
My horizon of garden and beach!
Could this “old farm” and this “horizon of garden and beach” be the Quinta de Maria José, that today carries the name Quinta do Alvisquer, situated in Conceição de Tavira, and still today owned by descendants of Fernando Pessoa’s uncle, with a privileged view of the sea?
I believe so… Thus, it becomes more and more important and imperative that Tavira identifies itself with the author, with the heteronym and with the man.
I believe that this discovery will further their approach because, as Professor Teresa Rita Lopes said one day, we must “go to Tavira, not just to visit the city where Álvaro de Campos was born, but to visit the city of the Engineer of Tavira, in the way you visit Fernando Pessoa’s Lisbon, Kafka’s Prague and the Dublin of James Joyce!”
Rui P. Cansado Guedes Bachelor degree in History . Scientific approach Post-graduation in Contemporary History .