- Resurrection (1872)
- Epitaph of a Small Winner (1880)
- The Alienist (1882)
- Philosopher or Dog? (1891)
- Dom Casmurro (1899)
- Esau and Jacob (1904)
- The Psychiatrist and Other Stories (1963)
- Devil’s Church and Other Stories (1987)
- A Chapter of Hats (2008)
- The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis (2018)
- 26 Stories (2019)
Novels Book Covers
Collections Book Covers
Machado de Assis Books Overview
Epitaph of a Small Winner
‘Be aware that frankness is the prime virtue of a dead man,’ writes the narrator of The Posthumous Memoirs of Br’s Cubas. But while he may be dead, he is surely one of the liveliest characters in fiction, a product of one of the most remarkable imaginations in all of literature, Brazil’s greatest novelist of the nineteenth century, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. By turns flippant and profound, The Posthumous Memoirs of Br s Cubas is the story of an unheroic man with half hearted political ambitions, a harebrained idea for curing the world of melancholy, and a thousand quixotic theories unleashed from beyond the grave. It is a novel that has influenced generations of Latin American writers but remains refreshingly and unforgettably unlike anything written before or after it. Newly translated by Gregory Rabassa and superbly edited by Enylton de S Rego and Gilberto Pinheiro Passos, this Library of Latin America edition brings to English speaking readers a literary delight of the highest order.
Philosopher or Dog?
The rich and eccentric philosopher Quincas Borbas names his dog after himself because he knows his pet will outlive him. Quincas does die first, leaving his fortune to his friend Rube provided that he takes care for the dog. The dim witted friend is hardly prepared for the life that awaits him.
Like other great nineteenth century novels The Scarlet Letter, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary Machado de Assis’s Dom Casmurro explores the themes of marriage and adultery. But what distinguishes Machado’s novel from the realism of its contemporaries, and what makes it such a delightful discovery for English speaking readers, is its eccentric and wildly unpredictable narrative style. Far from creating the illusion of an orderly fictional ‘reality, ‘ Dom Casmurro is told by a narrator who is disruptively self conscious, deeply subjective, and prone to all manner of marvelous digression. As he recounts the events of his life from the vantage of a lonely old age, Bento continually interrupts his story to reflect on the writing of it: he examines the aptness of an image or analogy, considers cutting out certain scenes before taking the manuscript to the printer, and engages in a running, and often hilarious, dialogue with the reader. But the novel is more than a performance of stylistic acrobatics. It is an ironic critique of Catholicism, in which God appears as a kind of divine accountant whose ledgers may be balanced in devious as well as pious ways. It is also a story about love and its obstacles, about deception and self deception, and about the failure of memory to make life’s beginning fit neatly into its end. First published in 1900, Dom Casmurro is one of the great unrecognized classics of the turn of the century by one of Brazil’s greatest writers. Newly translated and edited by John Gledson, with an afterword by Joao Adolfo Hansen, this Library of Latin America edition is the only complete, unabridged, and annotated translation available of one of the most distinctive novels ofthe last century.
Esau and Jacob
Esau and Jacob is the last of Machado de Assis’s four great novels. At one level it is the story of twin brothers in love with the same woman and her inability to choose between them. At another level, it is the story of Brazil itself, caught between the traditional and the modern, and between the monarchical and republican ideals. Instead of a heroic biblical fable, Machado de Assis gives us a story of the petty squabbles, conflicting ambitions, doubts, and insecurities that are part of the human condition.
Devil’s Church and Other Stories
The modem Brazilian short story begins with the mature work of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis 1839 1908, acclaimed almost unanimously as Brazil’s greatest writer. Collectively, these nineteen stories are representative of Machado’s unique style and world view, and this translation doubles the number of his stories previously available in English. The stories in this volume reflect Machado’s post 1880 emphasis on social satire and experimentation in psychological realism. If he had continued to produce the moralistic love stories and parlor intrigues of his earlier fiction, Machado’s legacy would have been an entertaining but inconsequent body of work. However, by 1880 he had begun a devastating satirical assault on society through his fiction. In spite of his ruthlessness, Machado does at times reveal an ironic sympathy for his characters. He is not indifferent to human conflict but uses humor and irony to stress the absurdity of these conflicts, acted out against the backdrop of an indifferent universe. Such a spectacle creates a sense of helplessness that can only inspire wistful amuseme*nt. In his technical mastery of the short story. Machado was decades ahead of his contemporaries and can still be considered more modern than most of the modernists themselves. That his stories elicit such strong and diverse reactions today is a tribute to their richness, complexity, and significance.
A Chapter of Hats
Two gentlemen standing outside a church in Rio de Janeiro see a respectable lady emerge one of them has an unexpected, and to him inexplicable story to tell about her past life as a prostitute; a popular composer of polkas burns the midnight oil in a desperate attempt to create great classical music; a teenager finds himself caught up by the sight of the bare arms of an older woman who lives with his employer; an impoverished, lazy young man turns to the lucrative trade of catching runaway slaves; and, dull, monotonous Mariana has a tiff with her husband about the hat he wears to town, and decides to sing ‘the Marseillaise of matrimony’ by going off on a trip to town herself with her more daring, flirtatious friend Sophia. These are some of the situations developed in these stories, some of the most brilliant to have been written in the nineteenth century. They echo Poe and Gogol, they anticipate Joyce, they have been compared to contemporary works by Chekhov, Maupassant, and Henry James, yet they are not quite like any of these. Anyone who has read ‘Epitaph of a Small Winner’ or ‘Dom Casmurro’, his most famous novels, will want to savour these stories those who haven’t, will find them a varied and enjoyable introduction to Machado’s work.