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The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by…

The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (1880)

by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,014248,402 (4.3)45
  1. 10
    Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo (fspyck, StevenTX)
    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
  2. 00
    Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis (hrjunior)
  3. 00
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (StevenTX)
  4. 01
    Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant by Manuel Antônio de Almeida (Anonymous user)

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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
En mycket läsvärd och trevlig bok att läsa. Författaren de Assis uppges ha inspirerat senare tiders latinamerikanska författare inom fantastiken. Han förebådar postmodernismen genom att ofta låta huvudpersonen vända sig direkt till läsaren eller ge omdömen om sin egen berättelse. Brás Cubas är en ganska misslyckad person (vilket han själv anser) och berättar om sina tillkortakommanden rörande karriär, kärleksliv och vänskap sedan han själv dött redan i första kapitlet. ( )
  Brior | Aug 28, 2014 |
Second reading. ( )
  William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
What a romp! Who new a posthumous memoir could be so wonderful? Our narrator, Bras Cubas, the dead one, finally makes his mark in the world by inventing the posthumous memoir. According to Susan Sontag, in the introduction, this occurs in counterpoint to "Tristram Shandy" speaking to his audience before birth. (I need to read that novel) Finally, Cubas can heave his eternal sigh of relief by achieving a worthy epitaph. His life was pretty typical, full of love, envy, profound delusions, a touch of intrigue, a variety of failures, petty maneuvering, and embarrassing moments. So what the heck, is it so much to ask for an eternal sigh of relief now and then? I think not! ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 23, 2014 |
What a curious book this is! It seems a melding of Victorian novels where the author feels free to address the reader at some length and of post-modern writing with all its consciousness of the artifice of writing. Written in 1880, it is all the more remarkable for the modern voice it has, modern in the style and the thoughts.

What I think Machado does particularly well is to combine his criticism of weak-willed, selfish man so well with a liking for him, all this while writing as Braz Cubas, someone who keeps justifying his poor behaviour. Then, of course, there’s further originality in the structure with the short chapters and the book not told entirely in chronological order though the disadvantage of the structure of this book for me is that there is no build-up and I found the last part comparatively uninvolving with its focus on ‘humanitism’. Still, some parts really appealed to me such as the well-known chapter consisting just of punctuation marks. After all, the sort of inanities people falling in love say to each other don’t need to be recorded and it makes the exclamation marks gradually building up carry with levity all the tone and ardour of their conversation.

I’ve actually had this book sitting on my shelves for perhaps twelve months so I can’t remember where I read about it. Initially, wrongly of course, I had been put off by the ugly cover of 24 skulls with one of them laughing, no doubt mirroring Rushie’s appraisal of the book: ‘The kind of humour that makes skulls laugh’ but while Rushdie was witty with this allusion to the dead narrator, the drabness of the cover really was uninviting.

Braz Cubas’ remorse at having given a muleteer a fraction of the amount he was going to give him for saving his life (because the muleteer was still delighted by the amount he was given) demonstrates the way Machado lays bare human meanness while at the same time creating some humour at the expense of the narrator. His warped reasoning that the muleteer was just ‘an instrument of Providence’ is amusingly condemnatory. As the narrator says, ‘I prefer jolly chapters’. The same warped reasoning is employed a number of times in order to show how self-justifying we are when catering for ourselves, Cubas’ abuse of the virtuous Dona Placida being another case in point.

Machado’s attitude towards slavery reveals a man of his time, though. The references to them are usually demeaning, not I think because Machado wants us to remain critical of his narrator but because it’s a non-issue for him (though I’ve since read that he was in favour of Abolition). So, Cubas worries a little during his affair with Virgilia about ‘the household slaves, who found in gossip about us a sort of revenge for their servile condition’. In fact, Machado has a freed slave mercilessly beating a slave he’d acquired as if to show their lack of humanity. ( )
  evening | Dec 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Sá Rego, EnyltonPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frisch, ShariDrawingssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, William L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Passos, Gilberto PinheiroAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabassa, GregoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willemsen, AugustTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0195101707, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:03 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"New translation of Machado's famous novel is for the most part faithful and readable. However, work has occasional odd errors and omissions, and fails to give sufficient attention to Machado's rhythm and syntax. Given Rabassa's vast experience as a translator, it is hard not to suspect that carelessness and haste explain the mistakes and lapses. Also poorly edited and inadequately proofread"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.… (more)

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