In Brazil, a New Rendering of a Literary Giant Makes Waves

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism on 2019-07-16 01:44Z by Steven

In Brazil, a New Rendering of a Literary Giant Makes Waves

The New York Times
2019-06-14

Shannon Sims

A widely known image of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, left, that appears on his books, compared with the one that has gone viral on Brazilian social media in recent months, right.
A widely known image of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, left, that appears on his books, compared with the one that has gone viral on Brazilian social media in recent months, right.
Left: Academia Brasileira de Letras

Machado de Assis Real, developed by a Brazilian university and an ad agency, shows the 19th-century writer in color, challenging some long-held ideas about him in the process.

RECIFE, Brazil — Throughout elementary and middle school, Ricardo Pavan Martins remembers reading Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, one of Brazil’s most famous writers.

So the 29-year-old, who lives in Bauru, was shocked to see a new image of Machado that has gone viral in the country. It shows him with chocolate-brown skin, considerably darker than how he appears in the black-and-white photograph that appears on virtually all of his books and hangs prominently in the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

“I always imagined him as white because this is the default image of most writers,” Martins said. “I am certain that if the skin color of an author so important was at the very least discussed during my experience at school, my black friends would have felt more represented.”

Among Brazilian writers, Machado, who lived from 1839 to 1908, inhabits a unique position. “Dom Casmurro,” his 1899 masterpiece about cuckoldry and jealousy, is required reading at some schools around the country. His name has been lent to streets and subway stops across Brazil. Susan Sontag called him “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America,” and others have compared him to Flaubert, Kafka, Henry James and Alice Munro.

[“The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis,” one of the Times critics’ top books of 2018, “reveals the arc of Machado’s career, from the straightforward love stories to the cerebral and unpredictable later works.” ]

The traditional historical photo of him shows a man whose skin is nearly as light as his crisp white dress shirt. But a new project, developed by the São Paulo office of the advertising agency Grey and São Paulo’s University Zumbi dos Palmares, a predominantly black university, re-creates that photo in a way that the project’s leaders say more accurately reflects what Machado looked like.

Machado was known to be the descendant of freed slaves, but the new rendering, which shows him as a black man, has shaken Brazilians, prompting some to reconsider how they previously read his work and angering others who feel his legacy had been whitewashed…

…It isn’t clear how or why Machado’s image was lightened. Machado scholars like G. Reginald Daniel, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said that in 19th-century Brazil, Machado’s publishers “would have totally wanted him white to sell. For people to see this great author as of African descent would have been very troubling for many.”…

“He was celebrated during a period of Brazilian society where to be recognized and valued you had to be white,” Matos said. “He would have never been taken seriously, and never achieved commercial success, if people had known his true racial identity. He would have been a failure if he had been known as black.”

But some of those most familiar with Machado’s life are ambivalent about the push to identify him as black. Daniel, who wrote a book exploring Machado’s mixed-race identity, said that while he commended the efforts to “re-racialize” him, “the real Machado de Assis was not a black man but mixed. Portraying him otherwise misses the duality and in-between experience he had as a biracial man.”…

Read entire article here.

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Machado de Assis: 26 Stories

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2019-07-16 01:32Z by Steven

Machado de Assis: 26 Stories

W. W. Norton
July 2019
320 pages
5.5 x 8.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63149-598-4

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Translated by: Robin Patterson and Margaret Jull Costa

Foreword by: Michael Wood

This “watershed collection” (Wall Street Journal) now appears in an essential selected paperback edition, with twenty-six of Machado’s finest stories.

Widely acclaimed as “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America” (Susan Sontag), as well as “another Kafka” (Allen Ginsberg), Machado de Assis (1839–1908) was famous in his time for his psychologically probing tales of fin-de-siècle Rio de Janeiro—a world populated with dissolute plutocrats, grasping parvenus, and struggling spinsters. In this original paperback, Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, “the accomplished duo” (Wall Street Journal) behind the “landmark . . . heroically translated” volume (The New Yorker) of the Collected Stories of Machado de Assis, include twenty-six chronologically ordered stories from the seven story collections published during Machado’s life—featuring all-time favorites such as the celebrated novella “The Alienist”; the tragicomic “parable of bureaucracy, madness, and power” (Los Angeles Review of Books), “Midnight Mass”; “The Cane”; and “Father Against Mother.” Ultimately, Machado de Assis: 26 Stories affirms Machado’s status as a literary giant who must finally be fully integrated into the world literary canon.

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The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2019-07-16 01:10Z by Steven

The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

W. W. Norton
June 2018
960 pages
6.6 x 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87140-496-1

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Translated by: Robin Patterson and Margaret Jull Costa

Foreword by: Michael Wood

New York Times Critics’ Best of the Year

A landmark event, the complete stories of Machado de Assis finally appear in English for the first time in this extraordinary new translation.

Widely acclaimed as the progenitor of twentieth-century Latin American fiction, Machado de Assis (1839–1908)—the son of a mulatto father and a washerwoman, and the grandson of freed slaves—was hailed in his lifetime as Brazil’s greatest writer. His prodigious output of novels, plays, and stories rivaled contemporaries like Chekhov, Flaubert, and Maupassant, but, shockingly, he was barely translated into English until 1963 and still lacks proper recognition today. Drawn to the master’s psychologically probing tales of fin-de-siècle Rio de Janeiro, a world populated with dissolute plutocrats, grasping parvenus, and struggling spinsters, acclaimed translators Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson have now combined Machado’s seven short-story collections into one volume, featuring seventy-six stories, a dozen appearing in English for the first time.

Born in the outskirts of Rio, Machado displayed a precocious interest in books and languages and, despite his impoverished background, miraculously became a well-known intellectual figure in Brazil’s capital by his early twenties. His daring narrative techniques and coolly ironic voice resemble those of Thomas Hardy and Henry James, but more than either of these writers, Machado engages in an open playfulness with his reader—as when his narrator toys with readers’ expectations of what makes a female heroine in “Miss Dollar,” or questions the sincerity of a slave’s concern for his dying master in “The Tale of the Cabriolet.”

Predominantly set in the late nineteenth-century aspiring world of Rio de Janeiro—a city in the midst of an intense transformation from colonial backwater to imperial metropolis—the postcolonial realism of Machado’s stories anticipates a dominant theme of twentieth-century literature. Readers witness the bourgeoisie of Rio both at play, and, occasionally, attempting to be serious, as depicted by the chief character of “The Alienist,” who makes naively grandiose claims for his Brazilian hometown at the expense of the cultural capitals of Europe. Signifiers of new wealth and social status abound through the landmarks that populate Machado’s stories, enlivening a world in the throes of transformation: from the elegant gardens of Passeio Público and the vibrant Rua do Ouvidor—the long, narrow street of fashionable shops, theaters and cafés, “the Via Dolorosa of long-suffering husbands”—to the port areas of Saúde and Gamboa, and the former Valongo slave market.

One of the greatest masters of the twentieth century, Machado reveals himself to be an obsessive collector of other people’s lives, who writes: “There are no mysteries for an author who can scrutinize every nook and cranny of the human heart.” Now, The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis brings together, for the first time in English, all of the stories contained in the seven collections published in his lifetime, from 1870 to 1906. A landmark literary event, this majestic translation reintroduces a literary giant who must finally be integrated into the world literary canon.

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Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-12-18 02:21Z by Steven

Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Comparative Civilizations Review
Volume 75, Number 75, Fall 2016
Article 11
pages 125-126

Pedro Geiger

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2012

The long and excellent book by Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis, of 338 pages, focuses on two related issues. One deals with racial questions in the USA and in Brazil, detailing their historical development.

Racial problems were established in both countries by the encounter of the European colonization with the prior Colombian population and by the colonial introducing of African slaves in the American continent. The book deals with the behavior and the perceptions of the racial issue by the different social sectors of the American and of the Brazilian societies, and with the evolution of the legal policy measures taken by both states in regard to it. Brazil has earned the reputation of being a racial democracy for the reason of not having had legalized social barriers based in race. However, discrimination among sectors of the population existed and still exists there.

The opportunity of dealing with racial questions was taken by the author to cover with accurate studies the full Brazilian history. Based on a large and good bibliography, he discusses a wide variety of themes, comparing interpretations of known Brazilian historians, like the ones made by the Marxian Caio Prado Júnior with the ones made by the Weberian Raymundo Faoro, or describing cultural traits brought by the slaves (like their religions), how they influenced Brazilian culture, and how they were treated by the government institutions.

The second theme of the book deals with the Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839- 1908) an icon of Brazil’s literature and the founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. The linkage between the two themes treated in the book is the fact that, like Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis had an African ancestry…

Read the entire review here.

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Machado de Assis and Female Characterization: The Novels

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2016-07-28 00:47Z by Steven

Machado de Assis and Female Characterization: The Novels

Bucknell University Press
2015
252 pages
ISBN 9781611486209

Earl E. Fitz, Professor of Portuguese, Spanish, and Comparative Literature
Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

This book examines the nature and function of the main female characters in the nine novels of Machado de Assis. The basic argument is that Machado had a particular interest in female characterization and that his fictional women became increasingly sophisticated and complex as he matured and developed as a writer and social commentator. This book argues that Machado developed, especially after 1880 (and what is usually considered the beginning of his “mature” period), a kind of anti-realistic, “new narrative,” one that presents itself as self-referential fictional artifice but one that also cultivates a keen social consciousness. The book also contends that Machado increasingly uses his female characterizations to convey this social consciousness and to show that the new Brazil that is emerging both before and after the establishment of the Brazilian Republic (1889) requires not only the emancipation of the black slaves but the emancipation of its women as well.

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A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-28 00:36Z by Steven

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism

Duke University Press
2001
232 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2210-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-2239-9

Roberto Schwarz

Translated by:

John Gledson, Emeritus Professor of Brazilian Studies
University of Liverpool

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism is a translation (from the original Portuguese) of Roberto Schwarz’s renowned study of the work of Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839–1908). A leading Brazilian theorist and author of the highly influential notion of “misplaced ideas,” Schwarz focuses his literary and cultural analysis on Machado’s The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, which was published in 1880. Writing in the Marxist tradition, Schwarz investigates in particular how social structure gets internalized as literary form, arguing that Machado’s style replicates and reveals the deeply embedded class divisions of nineteenth-century Brazil.

Widely acknowledged as the most important novelist to have written in Latin America before 1940, Machado had a surprisingly modern style. Schwarz notes that the unprecedented wit, sarcasm, structural inventiveness, and mercurial changes of tone and subject matter found in The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas marked a crucial moment in the history of Latin American literature. He argues that Machado’s vanguard narrative reflects the Brazilian owner class and its peculiar status in both national and international contexts, and shows why this novel’s success was no accident. The author was able to confront some of the most prestigious ideologies of the nineteenth century with some uncomfortable truths, not the least of which was that slavery remained the basis of the Brazilian economy.

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism will appeal to those with interests in Latin American literature, nineteenth century history, and Marxist literary theory.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction / John Gledson
  • Preface
  • 1. Initial Observations
  • 2. A Formal Principle
  • 3. The Practical Matrix
  • 4. Some Implications of the Prose
  • 5. The Social Aspect of the Narrator and the Plot
  • 6. The Fate of the Poor
  • 7. The Rich on Their Own
  • 8. The Role of Ideas
  • 9. Questions of Form
  • 10. Literary Accumulation in a Periferal Country
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Daniel, G. Reginald. Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2012. Print. [McNee Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-07-28 00:09Z by Steven

Daniel, G. Reginald. Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2012. Print. [McNee Review]

ellipsis (now Journal of Lusophone Studies)
Volume 13 (2015)
pages 255-257

Malcolm K. McNee, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), pp. xi + 338, \$74.95, hb.

In this smart, ambitiously interdisciplinary, and exhaustively researched book, G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology at UCSB and pioneer in the study of multiracial identity and experience from a transnational perspective, considers the life and work of Machado de Assis. It is a sweeping book that draws upon the vastness of Machadian studies, in which Daniel is clearly versed, along with the sociology of race and culture, literary history and periodization, and theories of modernity and postmodernism. In  its engagement with this range of theoretical and disciplinary configurations, Daniel’s book, organized into an introduction, nine chapters, and an epilogue co-authored with Gary L. Haddow, is in some senses two books in one, each with a distinct yet analogous argument. Each line of inquiry results in a significant and original contribution to Machadian studies. Combined, they position Daniel’s book as the most thorough English-language treatment of the Brazilian writer’s life and work since John Gledson’s translation of Roberto Schwarz’s A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism (Duke UP, 2001). Standing along with Earl Fitz’s Machado de Assis and Female Characterization (Bucknell UP, 2014), and a welcome round of new translations, Daniel’s book will help to reinvigorate and deepen Machado’s reception among English-language readers and his stature among the major figures of world literature…

Read the entire review here.

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The Deceptive Realism of Machado de Assis. A Dissenting Interpretation of Dom Casmurro

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-27 20:11Z by Steven

The Deceptive Realism of Machado de Assis. A Dissenting Interpretation of Dom Casmurro

Francis Cairns Publications
1984
215 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-905205-19-9

John Gledson, Emeritus Professor of Brazilian Studies
University of Liverpool

The Brazilian Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1839, is regarded as the greatest Latin-American novelist of the nineteenth century. Dom Casmurro (1899) is one of his most important works. Its narrator, Bento, who is also its central character, sets out to convince the reader, on insufficient grounds, of the adultery of his wife, Capitu. The complexity and irony which results from this mode of presentation have led critics to see Dom Casmurro as a precursor of the fictional experimentation of the twentieth century.

This book argues, against the critical consensus, that Machado’s work is in essence realist, and that Dom Casmurro in particular offers a coherent and disenchanted vision of Brazilian society in the reign of Pedro II. Slavery, the “religious question”, the relationship between traditional values and developing capitalism, even the Paraguayan War – all lie ominously concealed in the background to the domestic history of Bento and Capitu.

John Gledson begins his analysis of Dom Casmurro by negotiating the labyrinth of Bento’s narration; in the first chapter he shows that there is not only another possible version of the events related by Bento, but also another Bento, a sinister representative of his social class. The second chapter establishes the “true” plot of the novel, drawing its origins both from Machado’s earlier fiction and from the patriarchal and paternalistic society of the period. Chapters three and four explain how various key episodes must be allegorically understood as part of Machado’s vision of the politics and ideology of the Second Reign. The concluding chapter, summing up the main strands of the argument, points out that the habits of thought which govern the narration are also those which govern the class and society to which Bento belongs.

The argument throughout is supported by extensive quotations from the Portuguese, with English translation.

This study of Dom Casmurro lays the basis for a more “realistic” and comprehensive understanding of a major novelist. It has important implications for the general study of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century novel, as well as for the history of Brazilian and Latin-American literature.

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G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), pp. xi + 338, \$74.95, hb. [Gledson Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-07-27 16:59Z by Steven

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), pp. xi + 338, \$74.95, hb. [Gledson Review]

Journal of Latin American Studies
Volume 47 / Issue 03 / August 2015
pages 607-608
DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X15000528

John Gledson, Emeritus Professor of Brazilian Studies
University of Liverpool

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), pp. xi + 338, \$74.95, hb.

Increasingly, over the last 10 or 20 years, critics have taken an interest in Machado de Assis’s racial origins, and in the effect they may have had on his career, his opinions and his writings. We know that he was the child of a father described as ‘pardo, forro’, and a Portuguese mother, from the Azores. In 2007, Eduardo de Assis Duarte published his Machado de Assis afrodescendente, which documents most of the references to the matter, and more generally to slavery and its effects, in the works, novels, stories crônicas, and so on.

It is a complex topic: we have little or no unambiguous evidence of what this most ironic and secretive writer thought about the colour of his skin, though we can have little doubt that he would have smiled with a certain amount of bitterness (and who knows, some perverse satisfaction) at the description of his colour as ‘branco’ on his death certificate.

G. Reginald Daniel’s book is certainly the longest treatment of the subject, and perhaps the most comprehensive. A great deal is given over to discussions of the contexts, historical and theoretical, which surround it. The first chapter deals with the history of miscegenation in Brazil since 1500, the second with other mulatto writers before Machado and contemporary with him (Caldas Barbosa, Luís Gama, José do Patrocínio, Lima Barreto); in the third Machado’s life is recounted in some detail. It is a faithful account, though with some mistakes. Machado did not translate Oliver Twist from English, as Jean-Michel Massa proved, nor is it necessarily true that he suffered from epilepsy all his life. The first of two stories entitled ‘Mariana’ is twice given the date 1864, instead of 1871 (the year of the Law of the Free Womb). There is no series of crônicas entitled Crônicas do relojoeiro signed ‘Policarpo’. José Galante de Sousa’s Bibliografia de Machado de Assis is, astonishingly, missing from the very extensive bibliography. Some important and relatively unknown facts, however, are there, like Gonçalves Crespo’s 1871 hesitant letter saying he has heard he is an ‘homem de cor’. Large parts of the later chapters are given over to accounts of other writers (Graça Aranha, for instance, and Euclides da Cunha) and other issues which sometimes have no real connection to Machado (negritude, for instance)…

Read or purchase the review here.

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The Alienist and Other Stories of Nineteenth-Century Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels on 2015-12-22 04:23Z by Steven

The Alienist and Other Stories of Nineteenth-Century Brazil

Hackett Publishing Company
March 2013
ca. 152 pages
Cloth ISBN: 1-60384-853-3; 978-1-60384-853-4
Paper ISBN: 1-60384-852-5; 978-1-60384-852-7
Examination ISBN: 1-60384-852-5; 978-1-60384-852-7

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Edited by:

John Charles Chasteen, Patterson Distinguished Term Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Accompanied by a thorough introduction to “Brazil’s Machado, Machado’s Brazil”, these vibrant new translations of eight of Machado de Assis’s best-known short stories bring nineteenth-century Brazilian society and culture to life for modern readers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Introduction.
  • 1. To Be Twenty Years Old!
  • 2. The Education of a Poser.
  • 3. The Looking Glass.
  • 4. Chapter on Hats.
  • 5. A Singular Occurrence.
  • 6. Terpsichore.
  • 7. Father Against Mother.
  • 8. The Alienist.
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