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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Machado de Assis

Machado de Assis (1839-1908)
pintado por Henrique Bernardelli, c.1905
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Machado de Assis is a genius, a realistic writer with a very biting sense of irony comparable to Voltaire's. If you like Voltaire, I think you'll surely like Machado; of course they are centuries apart but they share this delicious irony about them (Filipe Ponzi).

Well, I knew one or two things about Voltaire, but the name of Machado came totally as a surprise. And from what followed I must say it was a wonderful surprise. Machado de Assis was, no more, no less, the greatest Brazilian writer of all time, known in his country as O Bruxo de Cosme Velho (the Wizard of Cosme Velho), porque fazia coisas mirabolantes com as palavras [answers.yahoo] (the things he was creating with words were too wonderful to be considered other than magic).

I looked immediately for some of his writings, and I found very easily three of his short stories, in a collection of Brazilian Tales translated into English. I read them, and at least the first one (The Attendant's Confession) gave me the feeling of a great writer, a wizard, a magician, and not only of words, also of situations, of sentiments, of a whole universe.

I looked then to find some of his novels. I ordered on Amazon The Posthumous Memoirs of BrĂ¡s Cubas, and it will come here sometime in September. I found then a Romanian translation of Dom Casmurro at a bookstore nearby. It is a little fuss with it, they have only one copy, actually they are not sure if they have it anymore. So I'm waiting for their final say.

And anyway I'll come back to Machado, there is a lot to talk about.

(dedicado a Filipe Ponzi)

(Una Vida Entre Libros)



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