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Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, more often known as Machado de Assis (June 21, 1839–September 29, 1908), was a Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright and Short Story writer. He started his career as a proofreader on a small newspaper and died recognized by many as the most important Brazilian writer. He was also the first President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, founded in 1897.

Some of his works, which often display his witty, sarcastic attitude, are still read in Brazilian schools to this day. Although he is mainly unknown outside Brazil, he has attracted some attention: Woody Allen admitted to being his fan and Harold Bloom called him "the supreme black literary artist to date".

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Examples of his works:


Works by Machado de Assis with their own pages:

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Other works by Machado de Assis contain examples of:

  • Brazilian Folklore: Referenced in some of his works.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several of his first person narrative works have the characters directly talk with the reader, such as Bentinho apologizing for his bad memory in Dom Casmurro.
  • Character Title: Quincas Borba, Helena, Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas.
  • Continuity Nod: Quincas Borba started as a character in Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, wherein he starts developing his Humanitist philosophy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Prevalent in Machado de Assis' more famous works, sarcastically satirizing and parodying the state of the late 19th century Brazilian society.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Some of his works suffers from this, due to the archaic language. Most noticeable in Dom Casmurro, in which the narrator talks about the "Boceta de Pandora" (Pandora's Box). While "Boceta" originally meant box in Brazil (and it still means it in other lusophone countries), nowadays its mostly known as a slang for the vagina.
  • How We Got Here: Brás Cubas decides to start his Posthumous Memoirs from the last days of his life, and then he goes on to tell his story from when he was a child.
  • Pen Name: Machado used several pseudonyms, specially to write short stories; not including abbreviations of his name, he used Dr. Semana, Gil, Sileno, J., Job, J. J., Victor de Paula, Platão, Y., Lara, Manassés, Eleazar, Lélio, João das Regras, Malvólio, Victor de Paulo, Boas Noites, Max and Camilo da Anunciação.
  • Posthumous Narration: The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas has this as the main premise as Cubas narrates his biography to the audience, starting with his funeral and passage through the Afterlife and then continuing from the start of his life.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: As a writer in the brazilian realist tradition, his works lean much more heavily towards the cynical end of the scale, focusing on the psychological complexity and flaws of his characters, and the hipocrisy and contradictory nature of Brazilian society.

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