The Transformation Book, which belongs to Pessoa’s pre-heteronymic period, contains a series of fragments written in English, Portuguese, and French, none of which were ever published during Pessoa’s lifetime.
Conceived by Pessoa in 1908, a year of great social and cultural transformation in Portugal, The Transformation Book was designed to reflect and advance social and cultural transformation in Portugal and beyond. Moving between a number of literary forms, including poetry, fiction, and satire as well as essays on politics, philosophy, and psychiatry, The Transformation Book marks one of the fundamental stages in Pessoa’s elaboration of a new conception of literary space, one that he came to express as a “drama in people.”
Alexander Search, Pantaleão, Jean Seul de Méluret, and Charles James Search are the four “pre-heteronyms” to which the texts of The Transformation Book are attributed. These four figures constitute a plural literary microcosm — a world that Pessoa makes, but that is occupied by a multiplicity of authors — and clearly anticipate the emergence of Pessoa’s heteronyms.