the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: pessoa on memory and the cigarette

Posted by rigorousm on June 19, 2012


Like someone who revisits a place where he lived in his youth, with a cheap cigarette I can return—heart and soul—to the time in my life when I used to smoke them. Through the mild flavour of the smoke, the whole of the past comes back to me.

… it’s cigarette smoke that most subtly, spiritually, reconstructs my past. Since it just barely grazes my awareness of taste, it evokes the moments to which I’ve died in a more general way, by a kind of displacement; it makes them more remotely present, more like mist when they envelop me, more ethereal when I embody them. A menthol cigarette or a cheap cigar wraps certain of my moments in a sweet softness. With what subtle plausibility—taste combined with smell—I recreate the dead stage settings and reinvest them with the colours of a past….

— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet pp 331-332


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