The Maias

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Overview

One of the key classics of Portuguese literature, by an author compared to Proust, Flaubert, Stendhal, Dickens, Balzac, and Tolstoy.

Eca de Queiros was Portugal's greatest nineteenth-century novelist, whose works brilliantly evoke--and condemn--the rapidly changing society of his times. The Maias (1888) depicts the declining fortunes of a landowning family over three generations as they are gradually undermined by hypocrisy, complacency, and ...
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The Maias

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Overview

One of the key classics of Portuguese literature, by an author compared to Proust, Flaubert, Stendhal, Dickens, Balzac, and Tolstoy.

Eca de Queiros was Portugal's greatest nineteenth-century novelist, whose works brilliantly evoke--and condemn--the rapidly changing society of his times. The Maias (1888) depicts the declining fortunes of a landowning family over three generations as they are gradually undermined by hypocrisy, complacency, and sexual license. With a vivid, comprehensive portrayal of nineteenth-century Portuguese politics and social history, Eca creates a kind of comedie humaine that, despite the force of its social satire and its damning critique of the Portugal from which he had exiled himself, is a supreme work of humor and irony.

The author was a diplomat who traveled widely, and although he claimed to be an apostle of naturalist realism, he reveals with detached irony the lethargy and decadence of his native land. The book initially attracted attention through its account of an incestuous romance, yet today we can see this as just one element in a novel whose compelling story, depth of thought, and compassion make it one of Europe's great literary masterpieces.

"A restless mingling of poetry, sharp realism and wit . . . his excellent prose glides through real experience and private dream in a manner that is leading on toward the achievements of Proust." --V. S. Pritchett
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140446944
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

One of the leading intellectuals of the "Generation of 1870," José Maria de Eça de Queirós (1845-1900) wrote twenty books, founded literary reviews, and for most of his life also worked as a diplomat, in Havana, London, and Paris.

Margaret Jull Costa is an award-winning translator of Portuguese and Spanish literature. She lives in the United Kingdom.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Portuguese Classic

    This family saga by Portugal's greatest 19th-century novelist will tell you everything you needed to know about Portugal in the latter part of the century. Perhaps the intimate details of literary, philosophical, and political currents will be more than a lot of readers need to know, but this is a brilliant portrait of a colonial power on the cusp of decline, as well as a whacking good yearn in the old tradition.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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