Machado de Assis and the Beloved Reader: Squatters in the Text



One of Machado de Assis’ critics, John Gledson, has commented that

Machado presents his readers […] with the choice between two books, the one immensely readable, interesting, amusing, the other much more unsettling, giving uncomfortable insights into Brazilian upper class society, […] its repressiveness and callousness. With immense tact and daring, with a mixture of aggression and politeness which is the hallmark of his style, Machado kept his readers, and was, in his own lifetime, a writer of considerable prestige. The only price he had to pay (and no doubt he was content to do so) was that part of his message went unperceived until long after his death.1


Female Character Subsequent Reference Female Protagonist Male Protagonist Decodable Text 
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  1. 1.
    John Gledson, ‘Brazilian Fiction: Machado de Assis to the Present’, in Modern Latin American Fiction: A Survey ed. by John King (London: Faber and Faber,1987), 21.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Obra Completa, 3 vols (Rio de Janeiro: Editora José Aguilar, 1962), III, 398.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Quoted by Astrojildo Pereira, ‘Instinto e Consciência da Nacionalidade’, in Machado de Assis, ed. by Alfredo Bosi (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria São José, 1959), 43–85.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    For a discussion of the links between Bentinho and Othello, and the identification of Bentinho as being Othello, see Helen Caldwell, The Brazilian Othello of Machado de Assis: A Study of Dom Casmurro (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1960).Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    For a discussion of Brazilian legislation on crimes of passion see Ingrid Stein, Figuras Femininas em Machado de Assis (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Paz e Terra, Coleção Literatura e Teoria Literária, 1984), 29.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    K. Marx and F. Engels, On Literature and Art, ed. by L. Baxandall and S. Morawski (New York: International General, 1973).Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Both Engels and Marx separately debate the notion of an unconscious dimension to a text. Engels does so among other writings in his letter to Margaret Harkness and Marx in the text ‘The Holy Family’ on Eugène Sue, both discussed in Terry Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism (London: Methuen, 1983), 46–8.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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