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

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

17 November 2018

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • The Unspeakable Scot, by T. H. W. Crosland (1902)

    “This book is for Englishmen,” T. H. W. Crosland writes in his introduction to The Unspeakable Scotsman. “It is also in the nature of a broad hint for Scotchmen,” he adds, and the hint is a none-too-subtle invitation to back in their place, which Crosland defines as intrinsically inferior to that of any Englishman. He... Read more

    The

    ...
  • Shade of Eden, by Kathleen Sully (1960)

    I wrote in my post on Kathleen Sully’s Canaille that she was an unstudied novelist — sometimes clumsy in her prose and style but also free of many of the conventions of more mainstream writers. In Shade of Eden, she amply demonstrates that one set of conventions she felt free to ignore was that of... Read more

    The post ...

  • Once Around the Sun, by Brooks Atkinson (1951)

    January 5th For seventeen years, seven days a week, Joe Berman has efficiently presided over his newsstand at the corner of Eighty-sixth Street and Broadway. He opens it before five in the morning. Mrs. Berman, wearing a smart hair-do and a Persian lamb coat, relieves him for an hour at breakfast and for two hours... Read more

    The post ...

  • Canaille, by Kathleen Sully (1956)

    In his Observer review of Canaille, Kathleen Sully’s second book, John Wain wrote, “one never knows what she will do from one page to the next, only that it will probably be something surprising.” After reading over a dozen of Sully’s novels, I can say that truer words have rarely been written. Canaille (French for... Read more

    The post ...

  • Red Salvia!, from The Tribulations of a Baronet, by Timothy Eden (1933)

    He turns his attention to the head gardener, who has been hovering in the background. They go through the houses — orchids, gardenias — a whole house full of these — a purple lasiandra climbing against a grey wall, the cool malmaisons, where he picks himself a button-hole, cherry-pie, verbena, sweet-scented geranium, and so out... ...

  • The Tribulations of a Baronet, by Timothy Eden (1933)

    I first mentioned The Tribulations of a Baronet in a post derived from an article titled “Out of Print” from the TLS in 1961. At the time, I wrote that it “appears to be a bit like Joe Gould’s Secret, another masterful portrait of a man of great promise and much disappointment.” Having since read... Read more

    The post ...

  • Complete eTexts of Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage Now Available

    As faithful readers of this site (both of them) know, I devoted nearly two months’ reading and writing back in 2016 to Dorothy Richardson’s 13-volume masterpiece, Pilgrimage, and it remains perhaps the most profoundly revealing experience in by reading life. I personally think that all self-respecting adult males should be required to read Pilgrimage, as... ...

  • “To my Daughter on her Birthday,” from Yorkshire Lyrics, collected by John Hartley

    To my Daughter on her Birthday Darling child, to thee I owe, More than others here will know; Thou hast cheered my weary days, With thy coy and winsome ways. When my heart has been most sad, Smile of thine has made me glad; In return, I wish for thee, Health and sweet felicity. May... Read more

    The post ...

  • Luxury Cruise, by Joseph Bennett (1962)

    Reading Luxury Cruise is a bit like thumbing through issues of Holiday magazine, the glossy travel magazine of the 1950s. The look, the ads, the content — they all spell “M,000,000,000Ney.” The passengers aboard the Olympic have paid at least $14,000 each for their berths on this round-the-world cruise. That’s over $120,000 in today’s dollars,... Read

    ...
  • Appius and Virginia, by G. E. Trevelyan (1933)

    I’ll admit that I bought G. E. Trevelyan’s novel, Appius and Virginia, on the briefest of descriptions: “A story of a spinster who raises an ape in isolation in hopes of turning him into a man.” It seemed to promise another His Monkey Wife, John Collier’s sublime account of … well, as the title says.... Read more

    The post ...

Copyright © 2018 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.