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The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (1881)

by Machado de Assis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Literatura Brasileira em Quadrinhos

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,512428,478 (4.23)73
"Be aware that frankness is the prime virtue of a dead man," writes the narrator of The Posthumous Memoirs of Br�s Cubas. But while he may be dead, he is surely one of the liveliest characters in fiction, a product of one of the most remarkable imaginations in all of literature, Brazil's greatest novelist of the nineteenth century, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. By turns flippant and profound, The Posthumous Memoirs of Br�s Cubas is the story of an unheroic man with half-hearted political ambitions, a harebrained idea for curing the world of melancholy, and a thousand quixotic theories unleashed from beyond the grave. It is a novel that has influenced generations of Latin American writers but remains refreshingly and unforgettably unlike anything written before or after it. Newly translated by Gregory Rabassa and superbly edited by Enylton de S� Rego and Gilberto Pinheiro Passos, this Library of Latin America edition brings to English-speaking readers a literary delight of the highest order.… (more)
  1. 00
    Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis (hrjunior)
  2. 00
    Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo (fspyck)
    fspyck: Ik vond er eenzelfde terughoudenheid in, Machado de Assis is misschien wat grimmiger, en speelt nog meer met vorm en intertekstualiteit, Svevo is ietwat hilarischer
  3. 01
    Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant by Manuel Antônio de Almeida (Anonymous user)
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» See also 73 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I should just face up to the fact that I just don't get South American literature. Each time I try, I end up feeling like there is some hidden meaning that I am not understanding :(

Of course, my difficulty in understanding the point was increased in this instance by the poor translation I had (book downloaded from http://ebook.visitbrasil.com/detalhe.html?idbook=7); my complaint is ungracious as the book was free but I would advise anyone thinking of reading this book in English to seek out a better translator. For example, there were several instances when a woman was referred to as "he" rather than "she" - could be a typo, I suppose, but there were also some strange word choices.

Having voiced my complaints, I will say that I didn't find the book dull though I did have to read it in small doses. That seemed fitting as the (many) chapters were all quite short - a few just a single sentenc ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 30, 2020 |
É a obra que inaugura o Realismo no Brasil. Quem conduz o romance é um defunto autor que, depois de sua morte, decide narrar em um livro a história de sua vida. Como está morto, Brás Cubas pode contar o que quiser, do modo que desejar, sem se preocupar com a opinião alheia. Deste modo, Machado de Assis conseguiu em "Memórias Póstumas" combinar ironia, pessimismo e uma dose de humor em sua observação crítica do comportamento do ser humano.
  Joao_Bosco | May 27, 2020 |
Epitaph of a Small Winner is worth reading much more for its innovative style than its substance. Machado de Assis manages to make a 19th century novel feel like it could have been written yesterday, and the rapid transition between chapters (there are 160 chapters in 209 pages) keeps things fresh and fun. But man, our narrator's a real doofus.

Braz Cubas, a dead guy who's decided to write his memoirs from beyond the grave, takes a pessimistic view of the world, concluding the book by saying the only positive he can take from his life is that he failed to father a child, thereby declining to increase the suffering in the world. But all of Braz Cubas' "suffering" amounted to a series of minor grievances and failed relationships with women he never cared about beyond a superficial level. He was born financially secure and died financially secure through no hard work of his own. I get that the human condition is difficult to handle, but I'm not interested in the complaints of a wealthy narcissist who never made much of an effort to look for happiness beyond creature comforts and boobs.

I guess his thoughts could still change, though. If he can write while he's dead now, I imagine he could alter his thoughts to fit with whatever seems to make sense in the future. As his phiolosophical mentor Quincas Borba said, "The worst philosophy of all is that of the crybaby who lies down at the edge of the river and bewails the incessant flow of the water."

I don't want to rip him too hard anyway, because he can be pretty funny sometimes. Braz Cubas is constantly changing his mind about what he wants to write and will even occasionally write chapters that ask the reader to discount the previous chapter entirely. It's nice of a dead guy to have a sense of humor about things.

Woody Allen loves this book. I wouldn't go that far, but I also wouldn't go as far with my daughter as he has with his, so I feel pretty OK about just liking this one. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
Nu heb ik het beste boek van 2018 al uit zeg!
Wat een parel. Postmodern, al is het geschreven in 1881. Grappig ook, ik heb enkele keren hardop gelachen ('aan de criticus') en ontzettend mooi. Ik heb ongeveer de helft van het boek onderlijnd omdat het bomvol mooie zinnen en ideeën zit. My kind of book! ( )
  damngoodsoffie | Feb 19, 2020 |
I like the writing style. I like some of the chapters a lot. I hated the main character and all of the other characters. I couldn't bring myself to care whether bad things happened to them or not. ( )
  smallllama | Apr 30, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (102 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Machado de Assisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Sá Rego, EnyltonPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frisch, ShariDrawingssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, William L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayser, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Passos, Gilberto PinheiroAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petruccioli, DanieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabassa, GregoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willemsen, AugustTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
Alternative titles
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Epigraph
Dedication
AO VERME
QUE
PRIMEIRO ROEU AS FRIAS
CARNES
DO MEU CADÁVER
DEDICO,
COMO SAUDOSA LEMBRANÇA,
ESTAS
MEMÓRIAS PÓSTUMAS
First words
"Que Stendhal confessasse haver escrito um de seus livros para cem leitores, coisa é que admira e consterna. O que não admira, nem provavelmente consternará é se este outro livro não tiver os cem leitores de Stendhal, nem cinquenta, nem vinte e, quando muito, dez. Dez? Talvez cinco."
To the Reader: When we learn from Stendhal that he wrote one of his books for only a hundred readers, we are both astonished and disturbed.
Quotations
(Chapter 1) The Death of the Author. I hesitated some time, not knowing whether to open these memoirs at the beginning or at the end, ie whether to start with my birth or with my death.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

"Be aware that frankness is the prime virtue of a dead man," writes the narrator of The Posthumous Memoirs of Br�s Cubas. But while he may be dead, he is surely one of the liveliest characters in fiction, a product of one of the most remarkable imaginations in all of literature, Brazil's greatest novelist of the nineteenth century, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. By turns flippant and profound, The Posthumous Memoirs of Br�s Cubas is the story of an unheroic man with half-hearted political ambitions, a harebrained idea for curing the world of melancholy, and a thousand quixotic theories unleashed from beyond the grave. It is a novel that has influenced generations of Latin American writers but remains refreshingly and unforgettably unlike anything written before or after it. Newly translated by Gregory Rabassa and superbly edited by Enylton de S� Rego and Gilberto Pinheiro Passos, this Library of Latin America edition brings to English-speaking readers a literary delight of the highest order.

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