The Hungarian translator of Pessoa who discovered Portuguese in the music of Gilberto Gil

It took Ferenc Pal more than a year to discover a Portuguese manual, but that made him want to learn a language that fascinated him even more, despite the fact that he did not understand it. And on April 25 he came to know Portugal. He has now edited a collection of Fernando Pessoa.

It is with pride that Ferenc Pal claims to have coordinated "the most complete ever edition of Fernando Pessoa in Hungary". They are, says the academic, "almost 500 pages, weighing a lot, about 820 grams". The talk is made by Skype, with Professor Pal in Budapest, a city where is for sale, since February, Bensőmben Sokan Élnek, or Living in Numerous Knots, the title of a poem by Ricardo Reis, one of Pessoa's most famous heteronyms along with Álvaro de Campos, Alberto Caeiro and Bernardo Soares. We spoke, of course, in Portuguese, a language Ferenc Pal heard for the first time in the early 1970s by the voice of the singer Gilberto Gil, whose music was heard by some Brazilian friends, refugees in Budapest from the military dictatorship in power in Brasilia.

The former director of the Portuguese Department of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, a retired professor since 2014, counted on two dozen poets for this translation, some of them "bigger names of the Hungarian lyric", as can be read in the poster announcing his lecture in Lisbon about Fernando Pessoa, on the 15th in the Faculty of Letters. This is the pretext for the publication of this conversation, which took place in February, shortly after the edition, but was postponed due to a false polemic about Pessoa depicted as a racist, who some months ago appeared in the newspapers until disappearing for not making sense.

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