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Mário de Sá-Carneiro (May 19, 1890 – April 26, 1916) was a Portuguese poet and writer. He is one of the best known authors of the "Geração D'Orpheu", and is usually considered their greatest poet, after Fernando Pessoa.
Mário de Sá-Carneiro was born to a wealthy family with a strong military tradition. His mother died in 1892 when he was two years old, and he was subsequently raised by his grandparents. He lived on a farm near Lisbon where he would spend most of his life. Sá-Carneiro started writing poems at the age of 12. By the age of 15, he had already translated several works by Victor Hugo. By 16, he had translated some works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. He began to write fiction in high school, partly due to his work as an actor. In 1911, he left for Coimbra, where he was admitted to law school, although he never progressed beyond his first year. However, he met a man who would soon become his closest friend, Fernando Pessoa, and who introduced him to the group of modernists of Lisbon.
After leaving the i>city of students,, as Coimbra is known, Sá-Carneiro went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Although his father continued to pay for his studies, Sá-Carneiro stopped attending classes very soon after arriving in Paris. He lived a bohemian lifestyle, roaming round the theatres and bars.
It was in Paris that he met Guilherme de Santa-Rita (Santa-Rita Pintor), the legendary Portuguese painter.
Together with Fernando Pessoa and Almada Negreiros, he wrote for Orpheu, a literary journal of poetry and artistic prose influenced by cosmopolitanism and the European Avant-Garde. The magazine caused a scandal in Portuguese society because of its futuristic idealism. Only two issues of the magazine were published. A third one was prepared but never published, owing to the controversy surrounding the magazine and a lack of money. Today, Orpheu/i> is known for being one of the finest and most important examples of Portuguese literature, and for introducing modernism in Portugal.
In 1912, he wrote his first play, i>Amizade (the title means friendship), in partnership with Tomás Cabreira Júnior. In the same year, he published Príncipio,, a collection of novels.
In 1913, he published A Confissão de Lúcio, one of his most famous works. This novel has a story where the fantastic reigns and it's a mirror to this age of Avant-garde. Homosexuality, although not mentioned by name, permeates A Confissão de Lúcio. This is presented as an account by a man wrongly imprisoned for killing his friend. With fin de siècle Paris and Lisbon as his setting, the narrator, Lúcio, tells the story of his friendship with a poet, Ricardo, who confesses that he cannot feel friendship, only tenderness and a desire to kiss and possess his friends. To be someone's friend he would first have to possess him, but since he cannot possess someone of the same sex, the only way he can be the friend of another man would be if one of them changed sex. Ricardo acquires a wife, Marta, in mysterious circumstances, a shadowy and unreal woman with whom the narrator becomes increasingly obsessed. The two of them have an affair but Lúcio never feels he fully possesses her. Ricardo appears blissfully ignorant of the affair although it is carried on under his nose, and Lúcio comes to despise the apparently complaisant husband, suspecting that Marta has other lovers as well. The novel reaches a climax when, confronted by Lúcio, Ricardo tries to explain that he created Marta in order to respond to Lúcio's friendship and affection without possessing him physically. Following this, Ricardo runs to his house and shoots Marta but then, mysteriously, it is Ricardo who is found dead, with his smoking revolver lying at Lúcio's feet, while Marta has disappeared.
SSá-Carneiro's first publication of poetry was Dispersão, published in 1913, which included twelve poems. He wrote another book, Indícios de Oiro, but it was not published until over twenty years after his death, in the magazine Presença. In 1946 these two books were published along with some of Sá-Carneiro's poems in the Orpheu magazine as a unique book.
InIn 1915, the work Céu em Fogo, that gathered twelve novellas, was published. This book reveals the obsessions and disturbances that Sá-Carneiro was living with at the time.
In July 1915, Sá-Carneiro returned to Paris by train. He planned, with Fernando Pessoa, to publish issue no. 3 of Orpheu, but his father and sponsor of the magazine, living in Mozambique at the time, refused to disburse more money. While World War I was in progress in the north of France, he left the university and started a relationship with a prostitute. A few months later, with growing financial problems and suffering from depression, Sá-Carneiro wrote a dramatic letter to Fernando Pessoa on March 31, 1916:
ExtExtremely unhappy with his life, he still delayed the suicide by almost one month. But, as he had proclaimed, at the age of 25 he killed himself by swallowing a large dose of strychnine on 26 April 1916, at the Hôtel de Nice in the Montmartre district of Paris. Orpheu nr.3 was never published.
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