Fun Facts Friday: Machado de Assis

June 21, 2024

Machado de Assis (21 June, 1839 – 29 September, 1908) was a Brazilian poet, novelist, and playwright. He is considered to be one of the greatest Brazilian writers of all time.

Fun Facts Friday: Machado de Assis
Books by Machado de Assis*

Fun Facts about Machado de Assis:

  1. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis was born in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. His family were poor descendants of freed slaves. In fact, slavery was legal in Brazil for another 49 years.
  2. Francisco José de Assis, his father was a house painter, and his mother, Maria Leopoldina da Cùmara Machado, was a housewife.
  3. When Mrs. Asisi passed away, around 1849, the family moved to the Brazilian municipality of SĂŁo CristĂłvĂŁo. His father was remarried a few years later.
  4. Mr. Assis attended public schools, and never attended a university since he wasn’t a very good student. At age 15, however, his father published his first poem Her (Ela) in the local newspaper.
  5. Machado de Assis worked as a proofreader and writer for several newspaper. He didn’t make much money and managed only to eat once a day.
  6. By this time, he spoke French, which he learned from a baker he worked with, and English, taught by his friend José de Alencar, writer and politician. William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, and Jonathan Swift were his influences. Eventually he learned German and Greek.
  7. On November 12, 1869 Machado de Assis married Carolina Augusta Xavier de Novais, the sister of a Portuguese colleague. The parents and her brother disapproved of the marriage. Not only was Mr. Assis shy, short, skinny and had a stammer, he was also of African dissent.
    Ironically, he was also criticized by abolitionists for marrying a white woman.
  8. The couple was married for 35 years, until the death of Carolina. Machado de Assis described their relationship as “perfect married life”.
  9. While rising in the public sector, he managed to publish two poetry books, but the weak reception made him write novels instead.
  10. The reason he is considered a great Brazilian writer is due to his novels Quincas borba (1891) and Philosopher or Dog? (1854), his short stories and 1899’s Dom Casmurro which is considered to be his masterpiece.

Books by Machado de Assis*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

Sources:

He’s One of Brazil’s Greatest Writers. Why Isn’t Machado de Assis More Widely Read? | The New Yorker

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis: Brazilian author | Britannica

Machado de Assis | Wikipedia

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Fun Facts Friday: Machado de Assis
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Fun Facts Friday: Machado de Assis
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Machado de Assis (21 June, 1839 – 29 September, 1908) was a Brazilian poet, novelist, and playwright. He is considered to be one of the greatest Brazilian writers of all time.
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