Exhibition about Eduardo Lourenço’s Pessoana Library donated by the author to BGUC opens tomorrow

The General Library of the University of Coimbra (BGUC) announces the opening tomorrow, May 21st, Tuesday, at 6 pm by «Eduardo PESSOA Lourenço».

The exhibition will be on display in the Sala de São Pedro (2nd floor of BGUC) until July 30, from Monday to Friday, 2:30 pm–5:30 pm (except holidays), with free entry.

«Eduardo PESSOA Lourenço» is curated by A. E. Maia do Amaral, António Pedro Pita, Rui Jacinto and Manuel Portela. It is an organization of BGUC, the University of Coimbra and the Center for Iberian Studies, with the support of the Municipality of Coimbra and the League of Friends of the General Library of the University of Coimbra (LIBUC) and is integrated into the Eduardo Lourenço Centenary Program.

biblioteca pessoana na bguc 1 © duarte belo
Biblioteca Pessoana na BGUC ©Duarte Belo

In addition to the exhibition, it is possible to attend conferences (May 21, Tuesday, 6 pm, Opening: «Livros de Pessoa de Lourenço», by João Dionísio (FLUL), July 16, Tuesday, 6 pm, within the scope of the LIBUC Treasures of BGUC initiative, «Submerging greatness under the explanations: Pessoa by João Gaspar Simões in an annotated reading by Eduardo Lourenço», with Osvaldo Manuel Silvestre (FLUC) and A. E. Maia do Amaral (BGUC) and participating in guided tours with the curators (António Pedro Pita June 4th, Tuesday, 6 pm; Rui Jacinto June 18th, Tuesday, 6 pm and Manuel Portela July 2nd, Tuesday, 6 pm. Place reservation is mandatory for conferences and guided tours, via email at All information is available on the BGUC website.

Eduardo Lourenço loved and needed his books and, however, during his lifetime he decided to let them go with the obvious intention of giving others a read. He divided his library among different entities, in several cities [1], with the General Library of the University of Coimbra being responsible for part of «Pessoana», books by and about Fernando Pessoa, one of his great and heterodox intellectual interests. Separated by his hand, according to his criteria, there are around 500 works, incorporated in 2014, which are treated and accessible in our integrated catalogue.

biblioteca pessoana na bguc 2 © duarte belo
Biblioteca Pessoana na BGUC ©Duarte Belo

Writers’ libraries have been analyzed on the assumption that knowledge of content and reading practices can elucidate their works. However, the movement from reading marks to writing marks is neither linear nor unidirectional, that is, from read texts to written texts. This transit also happens in the opposite direction as acts of reading generate processes of written invention that give new meaning to the texts read. Furthermore, most of this dynamic does not leave a direct record: it occurs only in the expanded cognitive system formed by lectowriting, that is, by the expansion of the thinkable and the writable in a subject’s consciousness.

When dealing with processes of appropriation of reading that are the basis of literary creation, genetic criticism has distinguished between marginalists and extractors. Marginalist authors leave their reading marks on the documents themselves, underlining in the body of the text and writing between the lines, in the margins and on the title and end pages. Extractor authors transcribe steps into their notebooks, sometimes without clear identification of the sources, using them to feed their imagination.

biblioteca pessoana na bguc 4 © duarte belo
Biblioteca Pessoana na BGUC ©Duarte Belo

But the explicit reading marks – which academic conventions have transformed into the obligatory list of references – constitute only one of the dimensions of the process of appropriation and transformation of reading presupposed in all acts of writing. Eduardo Lourenço often works with implicit allusions that he weaves into his essayistic speech, and that can only be identified through reverse engineering. A good example of this procedure is the work Heterodoxia I (Coimbra Editora, 1949), whose network of citations and references was partially reconstituted in one of the panels in this exhibition.

The exhibition «Eduardo PESSOA Lourenço» has two main objectives: on the one hand, to showcase Eduardo Lourenço’s Pessoan library; on the other, to reveal from his reading practices, as can be inferred from the marks and signs in the books themselves, the decisive nature of his encounter with Pessoa. The polyhedral look we propose on Pessoa’s reading is divided into eight facets: «Active Person», «Passive Person», «make a library/read it», «read or give up reading», «return to the book», «a life inside the book», «using books and libraries» and «using BGUC».

biblioteca pessoana na bguc 5 © duarte belo
Biblioteca Pessoana na BGUC ©Duarte Belo

The exhibition also allows us to imagine broader questions: how does Eduardo Lourenço’s Pessoa production dialogue with his readings? How do explicit references relate to implicit references in this production? How does a writer read? How do you read heteronymically? With the exhibition «Eduardo PESSOA Lourenço», the General Library of the University of Coimbra joins the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Eduardo Lourenço (1923-2023).

[1] In Coimbra, there are other centres of the EL Library: the Faculty of Arts and the former Casa da Escrita (Casa da Cidadania da Língua) since 2015. In addition to these centres, around 3000 volumes (mostly in the fields of Philosophy, History and Literature) were donated in 2008 to the Guarda Municipal Library, whose new building, which opened in 2008, was renamed the Eduardo Lourenço Library. It should also be noted that its documentary archive (about 100,000 documents, including 11,000 items of correspondence) was acquired by the National Library in 2015.

Activities and registrations

All activities will take place in the Sala de São Pedro, on the 2nd floor of BGUC. Entry is free, but subject to prior registration (email or using the forms indicated), due to limited capacity.

OPENING «Books by Pessoa de Lourenço», João Dionísio (FLUL), May 21, Tuesday, 6:00 pm

BGUC TREASURES «Submerging greatness under explanations: Pessoa by Joao Gaspar Simões in an annotated reading by Eduardo Lourenço», with Osvaldo Manuel Silvestre (FLUC) and A. E. Maia do Amaral (BGUC), July 16, Tuesday, 6:00 pm

António Pedro Pita June 4th, Tuesday, 6pm

Rui Jacinto June 18, Tuesday, 6:00 pm

Manuel Portela July 2nd, Tuesday, 6pm

Always confirm with the concert hall or promoter the conditions of access, confirmation of the date or time, ticket place of sale, price, and availability.

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