Camilo Pessanha's Missing City


Adam Mahler. In Press. “Camilo Pessanha's Missing City.” Portuguese Studies, 39, 1.


The Portuguese poet Camilo Pessanha’s long stint in Macau has been the subject of much scholarly debate and biographical intrigue. Prior scholars have either denied the city’s poetic import altogether, erroneously claiming that Pessanha wrote virtually no poetry in Macau, or else presented a highly romanticised portrait of the poet’s time there, focussing on his opium addiction and heralding the city’s exoticism. In this article I seek to problematise both portrayals, examining Pessanha’s poetry in light of his critical writings on Macau.  My analysis shows that Macau’s heady cultural life interacted powerfully with Pessanha’s unique notions of pastoral poetics and theory of race.

Last updated on 10/07/2022