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The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas Paperback – Feb 18 2003
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Fans of Latin American literature will be thrilled by Oxford University Press's new translations of works by 19th-century Brazilian author Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. His novels are both heartbreaking and comic; his limning of a colonial Brazil in flux is both perceptive and remarkably modern. The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas is written as an autobiography, a chronicle of the erotic misadventures of its narrator, Brás Cubas--who happens to be dead. In pursuit of love and progeny, Cubas rejects the women who want him and aspires to the ones who reject him. In the end, he dies unloved and without heirs, yet he somehow manages to turn this bitter pill into a victory of sorts. What makes Memoirs stand up 100 years after the book was written is Machado's biting humor, brilliant prose, and profound understanding of all the vagaries of human behavior. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
A 19th-century classic of Brazilian literature, Machado de Assis's 1880 novel is written as a posthumously composed memoir (according to the fictional author Bras Cubas, a superior way of writing memoirs, since a dead writer can be frank about events). Bras Cubas's life is less interesting than the book's style and structure: 160 brief chapters in which Bras Cubas comments both on his life and the novel's composition. The fictional author was a politician, writer, and celebrity who has an affair with the wife of a friend. His sister wants him to marry a shy young woman, but she dies before the wedding. A school friend preaches the gospel of a new secular religion but never writes a long-anticipated book on the subject. Meanwhile, Bras Cubas is working on a poultice to relieve melancholy. With a masterful translation by Rabassa and a contextual foreword and afterword that tell us that the work anticipates Calvino and Garcia Marquez, this book is recommended for collections rich in Latin American and literary holdings. [This book is one of several new titles launching Oxford's "Library of Latin America" series, which will make available 40 works of fiction, poetry, history, and memoir that in most cases have never been translated into English.?Ed.]?Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib. of New Yor.
-?Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib. of New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Now, about Machado de Assis? what could I say. He was born into extreme poverty, his mother was sort of portuguese and his father sort of black (I apologize for my vocabulary limitations :-). Despite of all his health problems and the inferiority complex he had, (he was about 2.5/8 black - that meant prejudice expressed outward and inward) He came to be the greatest Brazilian writer of the 19th century. His writing style differs from the hall of fame writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky (who could articule the complexity of human nature describing feelings that even I wasn't aware of their existence) in both prose and point of view (perspective). His works certainly stand on their own (just like Fernado Pessoa). That's why he is regarded as great and certainly he could easily cast shadow on all the Brazilian Mordenism writers when compared with them. And I really mean ALL!!!
Machado's own view of the book was that it was too serious and deep for the frivolous and too playful and radical for the erudite readers of the time, and concluded in his usual pessimism that it would have "perhaps five" readers. Since the book continues to accumulate "fives and fives" of readers, perhaps humankind, like the flawed Brás Cubas, is also a "small winner" after all.
Factoid about the chapter size: As other reviewers noted, the book has numerous short chapters. One chief reason for this was that Machado was afflicted by epileptic attacks and could not write for extended periods.
This novel accurately portrays the enivronment of upper classes in Rio de Janeiro in the middle XIX century. But note that, despite being funny and comical, in the background there is always a tone of sadness and pessimism. It is an intelligent, bittersweet and excellent work of literary art. Read it and you'll be much rewarded.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book, fun to read. I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend.Published 14 months ago by cililoca
A Fun Novel. It could have been written recently, none of the awkward turns of phrase and insinuations found in many 19th century novels.Published 14 months ago by Peter Biehl
The story begins by the end, literally,by showing the end of the narrator's life. From this moment on we are compelled to see how his life had been, his evaluations, regrets and... Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by Barbara Neves
Well I always thought that the critics of Machado de Assis were exaggerating his capability, mainly because the critics usually point that he focus more on the psychological... Read morePublished on March 17 2001 by Leonardo Motta
"The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas" is a landmark of 19th century Brazilian fiction. The original Portuguese version by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis has been... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2000 by Michael J. Mazza
One of the best brasilian writers and this book may be his best work! It's brilliant the way Machado deal in the book with feelings,words and atitudes wich is so present in the... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 1999
I cannot understand the review that claims not to have found a single interesting paragraph in a book that is dedicated to "The worm that first ate of my corpse's cold... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 1999
Machado de Assis is one of the most important brazilian authors, without a shadow of doubt. And Bras Cubas is Machado at his best, in a work that is ageless. Read morePublished on June 2 1999 by Daniel C. Sobral
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