Disquiet Lisbon: literary representation as an experience of an invisible city in Livro do Desassossego


  • Bernat Padró Nieto Universitat de València


Fernando Pessoa’s literary work can be read as a fantastic response to the situation of experiential impoverishment (Benjamin) and indolence of the soul (Simmel) that urban environments subject individuals to. Livro do Desassossego offers an incomparable description of the possibilities and conditions of an urban representation that omits the monumental dimension of the city to give meaning to the banal situations, mediocracy of life, and routines of the social mechanisms that bring this space to life. Soares develops an aesthetic theory based on indifference, which he calls “erudition of sensitivity” and the imaginative work operating in the “inner modality of the outside”. An aesthetic theory that causes rifts to open in art in the least favourable places. Faced with the processes of disintegration suffered by the protagonist and the impossibility of completely experiencing the city, writing becomes the space of mediation that gives meaning to a wrecked individual and a blurred city, insofar as they communicate with each other. This allows a personal Lisbon to emerge, one which is allegorised and turned into literature


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Biografia de l'autor/a

Bernat Padró Nieto, Universitat de València

Bernat Padró received his doctorate from the University of Zaragoza and is now a professor of the theory of literature and of comparative literature at the Universitat de Barcelona. His current lines of research deal with intellectual history as well as the study of cultural journals related to Ibero-America from a comparative perspective.




Com citar

Padró Nieto, B. (2019) “Disquiet Lisbon: literary representation as an experience of an invisible city in Livro do Desassossego”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 3. Available at: https://revistadebats.net/article/view/1758 (Accessed: 11 December 2023).