Machado de Assis A Literary Life K. David Jackson

Major Figures in Spanish and Latin American Literature and the Arts
Publication date:
23 Jul 2015
Yale University Press
360 pages: 235 x 156 x 25mm
2 b-w illus.
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Novelist, poet, playwright, and short story writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839–1908) is widely regarded as Brazil’s greatest writer, although his work is still too little read outside his native country. In this first comprehensive English-language examination of Machado since Helen Caldwell’s seminal 1970 study, K. David Jackson reveals Machado de Assis as an important world author, one of the inventors of literary modernism whose writings profoundly influenced some of the most celebrated authors of the twentieth century, including José Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, and Donald Barthelme. Jackson introduces a hitherto unknown Machado de Assis to readers, illuminating the remarkable life, work, and legacy of the genius whom Susan Sontag called “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America” and whom Allen Ginsberg hailed as “another Kafka.” Philip Roth has said of him that “like Beckett, he is ironic about suffering.” And Harold Bloom has remarked of Machado that “he’s funny as hell.”

K. David Jackson is professor of Portuguese and director of undergraduate studies of Portuguese at Yale University. He lives in Woodbridge, CT.

‘K. David Jackson’s rigour and energy makes this... a useful handbook for the close study of Machado.’—Miranda France, Times Literary Supplement

“I am astonished that a writer of such greatness does not yet occupy the place he deserves.” – Susan Sontag

“Machado de Assis was a literary force, transcending nationality and language, comparable certainly to Flaubert, Hardy, or James.” – Dudley Fitts, New York Times Book Review

“No satirist, not even Swift, is less merciful in his exposure of the pretentiousness and the hypocrisy that lurk in the average good man and woman.  Machado, in his deceptively amiable way, is terrifying.” – The New Republic

“K. David Jackson’s essential book, the first comprehensive study in English of Machado de Assis, maps the extraordinary range of literary and musical sources that are key to this altogether extraordinary writer.”—Darlene Sadlier, Indiana University