Our Authors & Translators

Mario de Sa-Carneiro

Sa-Carneiro (1890-1916) published an extraordinary enigmatic short novel in 1914, translated by Dedalus in 1993 as Lucio's Confession. His short stories deal obsessively with the problems of identity, madness and solitude and a collection of them were published in 1996 under the title of The Great Shadow (and other stories). A friend of Pessoa, who was his literary executor, he spent the last years of his life in Paris, where he was only marginally less bored than he was in Lisbon. He committed suicide when he was 26 by taking a large quantity of strychnine and died alone in excruciating pain, the unwitting friend he had invited to keep him company in death having rushed off in search of a doctor. One reason for his suicide was his father's squandering the family fortune and Sa-Carneiro was about to have his allowance stopped and return to provincial Lisbon. His father had taken up with a prostitute whom he had recently married, much to his son's chagrin. Marriage and women come out badly in his short stories, where there is a strong repressed gay element.

Back to listing