The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis


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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-siecle 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871404961
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Pages: 960
Sales rank: 663,271
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Machado De Assis (1839–1908) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is the groundbreaking author of such works as Quincas Borba, Dom Casmurro, as well as The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis.

Award-winning translator Margaret Jull Costa lives in England.

Award-winning translator Robin Patterson lives in England.

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Wood ix

Introduction xvii

Rio Tales (1870)

Miss Dollar 3

Luis Soares 26

The Woman in Black 47

Augusta's Secret 77

Confessions of a Young Widow 103

Straight Line, Curved Line 127

Brother Simão 174

Midnight Tales (1873)

The Blue Flower 187

Luis Duarte's Wedding 227

Ernesto What's-His-Name 242

Much Heat, Little Light 264

The Gold Watch 283

Point of View 291

Miscellaneous Papers (1882)

The Alienist 315

How to Be a Bigwig 363

The Turkish Slipper 372

In the Ark 383

Dona Benedita 390

The Bonze's Secret 411

Polycrates's Ring 419

The Loan 428

The Most Serene Republic 436

The Mirror 444

A Visit from Alcibiades 453

Testamentary Disposition 460

Undated Stories (1884)

The Devil's Church 475

The Lapse 483

Final Chapter 492

Nuptial Song 500

A Strange Thing 505

Posthumous Picture Gallery 513

The Chapter on Hats 522

An Alexandrian Tale 536

Cousins from Sapucaia? 545

A Lady 554

Pecuniary Anecdote 562

Fulano 572

Second Life 578

Admiral's Night 586

A Sacristan's Manuscript 593

Ex Cathedra 601

Galvão's Wife 609

The Academies of Siam 617

Assorted Stories (1896)

The Fortune-Teller 631

Among Saints 640

Her Arms 648

Fame 657

The Object of Desire 667

The Secret Cause 676

Trio in A Minor 686

Adam and Eve 694

The Gentleman's Companion 700

Mr. Diplomat 709

Mariana 719

A School Tale 728

An Apologue 736

Dona Paula 739

Life! 748

The Canon, or the Metaphysics of Style 756

Collected Pages (1899)

The Cane 765

The Dictionary 773

A Wanderer 777

Eternal 795

Midnight Mass 806

Canary Thoughts 814

Xerxes's Tears 819

Old Letters 826

Relics from an Old House (1906)

Father Against Mother 841

Maria Cora 852

Funeral March 870

A Captain of Volunteers 878

Into the Mire! 891

The Holiday 896

Evolution 904

Pylades and Orestes 910

The Tale of the Cabriolet 920

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