Zenosbooks

epitaph of a small winner noondayEpitaph Of A Small Winner by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis. New York. 1952. Noonday Press. Drawings by Shari Frisch. Translated from the Portuguese by William L. Grossman. 223 pages. Cover: Shari Frisch. (original title: Memorias postumas de Bras Cubas).

THE POSTHUMOUS MEMOIRS OF BRAS CUBAS by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, also translated as EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER, is a Brazilian classic. The narrator of the story is Bras Cubas, who unfortunately for him, is now dead.

FROM THE PUBLISHER –

Funny and profound are these reflections and musings of a man from beyond the grave. Satirical, witty, completely human in feeling, EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is that rarest of works, a book which is at the same time both profound and thoroughly delightful. It tells the story of Braz Cubas, a wealthy Carioca, or rather it is Braz, now dead, who tells his story. For EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is a posthumous memoir, the memories of a ghost, a man who now beyond life can view it with dispassion - the illicit love affairs, the political ambitions, the jealousies and hatreds which comprised his sixty-four years. But though the grave has given Braz distance, it has not dampened his sense of humor. On the contrary, it has sharpened it; Braz Cubas is certainly the wittiest ghost in literature. Most ghosts take themselves far too seriously; but not Braz. If he has returned to haunt mankind, it is by means of laughter. He is the spirit of satire moving among us, pointing out our idiosyncrasies and foibles. 'Machado de Assis, son of a poor mulatto of Rio, became the most illustrious of Brazilian writers. His work brings to mind at once Anatole France and Lawrence Sterne, yet is nonetheless original. ' - Andre Maurois. 'A master of psychology and of an ironic brand of humour.' Samuel Putnam. 

 

Assis Joaquim Maria Machado De

Born June 21, 1839

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, often known as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho, (June 21, 1839, Rio de Janeiro-September 29, 1908, Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian novelist, poet and short-story writer. He is widely regarded as the most important writer of Brazilian literature. However, he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. Machado's works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th century and 20th century. Jose Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, Susan Sontag and Harold Bloom are among his admirers and Bloom calls him 'the supreme black literary artist to date. ' Son of Francisco Jose de Assis (a mulatto housepainter, descendent of freed slaves) and Maria Leopoldina Machado de Assis (a Portuguese washerwoman), Machado de Assis lost both his mother and his only sister at an early age. Machado is said to have learned to write by himself, and he used to take classes for free will. He learned to speak French first and English later, both fluently. He started to work for newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, where he published his first works and met established writers such as Joaquim Manuel de Macedo. Machado de Assis married Carolina Xavier de Novais, a Portuguese descendant of a noble family. Soon the writer got a public job and this stability permitted him to write his best works. Machado de Assis began by writing popular novels which sold well, much in the late style of Jose de Alencar. His style changed in the 1880s, and it is for the sceptical, ironic, comedic but ultimately pessimistic works he wrote after this that he is remembered: the first novel in his 'new style' was Epitaph for a Small Winner, known in the new Gregory Rabassa translation as The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (a literal translation of the original title, Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas). In their brilliant comedy and ironic playfulness, these resemble in some ways the contemporary works of George Meredith in the United Kingdom, and Eca de Queiros in Portugal, but Machado de Assis' work has a far bleaker emotional undertone. Machado's work has also been compared with Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Machado de Assis could speak English fluently and translated many works of William Shakespeare and other English writers into Portuguese. His work contains numerous allusions to Shakespearean plays, John Milton and influences from Sterne and Meredith. He is also known as a master of the short story, having written classics of the genre in the Portuguese language, such as O Alienista, Missa do Galo, 'A Cartomante' and 'A Igreja do Diabo. ' Along with other writers and intellectuals, Machado de Assis founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1896 and was its president from 1897 to 1908, when he died. The translator, Dr. William L. Grossman, is of all things an authority on transportation law and economics. Called to Brazil in 1948 as head of the economics department of a Brazilian college, he learned Portuguese, and, fascinated by the works of Machado de Assis, spent his academic holidays translating Epitaph of a Small Winner. Dr. Grossman has returned to this country as a transportation consultant and professor at New York University.

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.


 

 

 

 

 

 


Search

Zeno's Picks

New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books

Recent items from nybooks.com
  • The Romanovs’ Art of Survival
    Almost all the Romanovs had an artistic bent: they painted, doodled, carved, embroidered, cut jewelry, or sculpted. For many Romanov exiles after 1917—hounded, stripped of their wealth, living under the constant fear of further reprisals—art...
  • Dr. Death
    The historian Edith Sheffer’s book Asperger’s Children is an impassioned indictment, one that glows with the heat of a prosecution motivated by an ethical imperative. She charges Hans Asperger, the Viennese pediatrician whose name has since...
  • The Serious Charm of Edward Bawden
    Some critics mutter “tame” and—dread word—“charming,” and sneer at the twee marketing of Edward Bawden’s prints on greetings cards, handbags, kitchen tea-towels, and fridge magnets. But there’s more to Bawden than that. His admirers proclaim him as...
  • World Cup 2018: A View from the Stands
    When friends hear that I’m at the World Cup, they often say how envious they are. They don’t need to be. I watch games squeezed in among other chubby, middle-aged British journalists in the press stand, eating my dinner of peanuts from the stadium...
  • A Ballot on the Brothels of Nevada
    The legal brothels of Nevada, dotted amid expanses of deserts and mountains, have existed in the state since around 1870 and are seen as part of the fabric of society by some, though they are loathed by others. Today, though, this Nevadan...
  • Sisters in Arms
    #MeToo has too often ignored the most frequent victims of abuse, such as waitresses or hotel housekeepers. These are among the invisible people who keep society going—cleaning homes, harvesting our vegetables, and serving salads made of these...
  • How the BBC Lost the Plot on Brexit
    The BBC’s reporting of the scandals around the Brexit referendum is not biased or unbalanced: it barely exists. It is as though the US networks had decided the Mueller investigation was no concern of theirs. There have been three huge stories the...
  • World Cup 2018: Croatia’s Conflict Resolution
    I sat on our sofa in Zagreb with my son, now the same age as I was back in 1990, to watch Croatia play Argentina in our second match in the World Cup in Russia. Twenty-eight years have passed since the summer that’s stuck in my mind, ever after, as...
  • A Place at the Table: An Exchange
    Judy Chicago: To clarify, except for Clarice Lispector, all of the women Allen mentions are included on the “Heritage Floor” of The Dinner Party and the accompanying “Heritage Panels,” which visually detail those women’s various...

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • A Look at the Tadpoles, by Kathleen Sully (1970)
    What a contrast between Kathleen Sully’s last novel, A Look at the Tadpoles, and her first, Canal in Moonlight (1955). Canal was about a family of umpteen kids living in rat-infested digs in the midst of some nameless industrial hellhole. Tadpoles is about two only children who spend a lovely summer day traipsing merrily around... Read more
  • Merrily to the Grave, by Kathleen Sully (1958)
    Kathleen Sully published 17 novels between 1955 and 1970. She was compared to Muriel Spark and Brigid Brophy. John Betjeman called her “above all things a born writer.” In 1960, John Davenport wrote, “If she is not among the leading English writers of the day, she is certainly among the most arresting and original.” Her... Read more
  • The Flagellants, by Carlene Hatcher Polite (1967)
    My annual visit to Montana was shorter than usual this year, but still I made sure to take a run out to the legendary Montana Valley Book Store in Alberton. I’ve been going through its stacks for years now, yet somehow I manage each visit to find something surprising. This time, it was a little... Read more
  • Grand Concourse, by Eliot Wagner (1954)
    From what I can determine, there are all of three available copies of Eliot Wagner’s first novel, Grand Concourse for sale. One goes for $25; a second for almost $650; and the third for nearly a grand. Pretty impressive for a book that received only mildly positive reviews when it came out. Commentary’s reviewer praised... Read more
  • “Mrs. Ferris Next Door,” from The Kindness of Strangers, by Salka Viertel (1969)
    If you loved Clive James’ Cultural Amnesia, you’re going to find Salka Viertel’s memoir, The Kindness of Strangers as addictive as a bag of potato chips. Born in Galicia–meaning Poland–er, now Ukraine, coming of age in Vienna, working as an actress on stage and screen, marrying screenwriter and director Berthold Viertel, living in Berlin in......
  • What’s Right with the World, by Marcus Bach (1973)
    Marcus Bach was something like the Jan Morris of religion. Starting with They Have Found a Faith (1946), he wrote around a dozen books about his encounters with religions, cults, sects, and other groups of people gathered around a belief system, be it large or small. Every once in a while, I read a chapter... Read more
  • “The Black Day,” from Collected Poems (1917-1952) by Archibald MacLeish
    The Black Day to the memory of Lawrence Duggan God help that country where informers thrive Where slander flounshes and lies contrive To kill by whispers Where men lie to live! God help that country by informers fed Where fear corrupts and where suspicion’s spread By look and gesture, even to the dead God help... Read more
  • Eleanor Saltzman, Novelist and Poet
    In and among all the dispiriting and infuriating news we’ve been exposed to lately, several efforts to recognize the work of some women writers have provided some refreshing and inspiring relief. Last week, the Paris Review debuted a new monthly feature, Feminize Your Canon, written by Emma Garman, which will explore “the lives of underrated... Read more
  • A Little to the East, by Robert Cenedella (1963)
    Robert Cenedella spent a lifetime writing, but A Little to the East was the one and only novel he ever published. Cenedella began writing short stories as a high school English teacher, got some of them published in popular magazines, then moved to New York City and into radio. By the late 1940s, he was... Read more
  • Murder City, by O. M. Hall (Oakley Hall) (1949)
    Murder City was Oakley Hall’s first novel, published under the name of “O. M. Hall.” Although Hall came to be known as the dean of Western writers, particularly based on his 1958 novel, Warlock, he developed his chops with a number of thrillers full of guns, girls, and gangsters. The next four of these after... Read more
Copyright © 2018 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.