Today is the birthday of famed Brazilian novelist, poet, playwrite and short story writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. The author was an advocate of monarchism and is still regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature.
1) The author was known also as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho
2) Machado was born in Rio de Janeiro which at the time was the capital of the Empire of Brazil to a mulatto father and a Azorean Portuguese washerwoman.
3) Machado went to public school but was not a good student.
4) Father Silveira Sarmento became known to young de Assis while celebrating masses and taught him Latin (and later became a friend).
5) When his mother died, 10 year-old Joaquim and his father moved to São Cristóvão. Franscisco de Assis met and married Maria Inês da Silva.
6) Joaquim studied at a school for girls, he was there because his stepmother worked at the school making candy. At night Joaquim learned French and also met Francisco de Paula Brito, a bookstore owner who helped him get published.
7) Joaquim started working in a newspaper as a proofreader while contining to write for several other newspapers. He was so poor he ate only once a day.
8) Joaquim learned English and read Lord Byron, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare among others. Later in life Joaquim also learned German and Greek.
9) While working in the Arigculutre Department Machado menagned to publish two poetry books, novels and plays.
10) Machado opposed slavery but was criticized for never speaking about it publicly. He also became melancholy, pessimistic and fixated on death.
Zohar – Man of la Book