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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2000 March;41(1):59-66

language: Italian

Psychodynamic sphere of imaginary companion. Pessoa and his heteronimies

Lazanio S., Tatarelli R.


This paper, about the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa develops in a psychodynamic psychoanalytic sphere. It aims to contribute to the study of the phenomenon of the imaginary companion, which can typically be placed in the borderline area between physiology and pathology. In order to be able to survive and create things coincidental for him, Pessoa has always felt the need for his heteronymies. According to the perspective in which the imaginary companion belongs to Winnicott's transitional area while its role and function correspond to the Self-object described by Kohut. The development of this work is traced in a passage from Pessoa's poems and fragments from the poet's life. Pessoa's heteronymy my can be interpreted as a re-activation of the transitional area and of the imaginary companion of his childhood, in an extreme attempt to keep a narcissistic balance and avoid the fragmentation of Self. It is possible that the greatness of Pessoa's poetry wouldn't exist without his heteronymies.

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