Pessoa was a mystic and a madman (the two are not synonymous), a magnificent loon who chose to write not only as Pessoa but under a number of “heteronyms” (a term he used to distinguish the distinct personalities which guided his pen from the “pseudonyms” of less imaginative authors). And yet he was nothing if not exact.
“What really troubled the author of The Book of Disquiet,” Gary Lachman tells us, “is that all these mystic masters were such atrocious stylists. ‘When they write to communicate… their mysteries,’ he said, ‘[they] all write abominably. It offends my intelligence that a man can master the Devil without being able to master the Portuguese language.’ Yet Satanists alone are not at fault. ‘To have touched the feet of Christ,’ [he] tells us, ‘is no excuse for mistakes in punctuation.'”